US Warns Not to Adopt from Guatemala
Thanks for this newsclipping from the Korean Adoptee Worldwide Listserv.
By Ken Herman
Cox News Service
Published March 16, 2007
WASHINGTON — In its strongest language yet, the State Department is
warning Americans not to adopt children from Guatemala, a Central
American nation that has become the second-largest provider of babies
for adoption into the U.S.
“We cannot recommend adoption from Guatemala at this time,” the
agency said. “There are serious problems with the adoption process in
Guatemala, which does not protect all children, birth mothers or
prospective adoptive parents.”
The department stopped short of a threatened shutdown but said it
would scrutinize adoption cases “more closely.”
The National Council for Adoption called the action a “de facto
suspension of new adoption cases from Guatemala and puts at-risk
Guatemalan children in foster care waiting to be adopted
Council President Thomas Atwood called on the department to retract
the warning. The group acknowledged serious flaws in the Guatemalan
system but noted that many legitimate adoptions occur.
This warning was sterner than a State Department statement last month
that “strongly” cautioned Americans to “carefully consider their
options” before adopting in Guatemala.
Among the U.S. government’s concerns about Guatemalan adoptions is
the for-profit system that depends on local lawyers who often
represent all sides in the cases, the lack of government oversight of
the process and an unregulated foster care system.
“There are cases in which American adoptive families who have
completed a Guatemalan adoption later learned that the foster care
provider or others in the household had physically or sexually abused the children,” the State Department said in the notice. “A child’s long-term psychological well-being may be affected if the child later learns that his birth family did not freely choose to give him up or that he, and perhaps siblings, were `produced’ for the sole purpose of adoption,” the warning said. Last year, U.S. parents adopted 4,135 Guatemalan children. Only China, with 6,493, provided more children for American adoptions. The topic came up this week when President Bush met in Guatemala City with President Oscar Berger. Bush said he and Berger, a supporter of reform measures, found “common ground” on the issue.
Last year, U.S. parents adopted 4,135 Guatemalan children. Only
China, with 6,493, provided more children for American adoptions.
The topic came up this week when President Bush met in Guatemala City
with President Oscar Berger. Bush said he and Berger, a supporter of
reform measures, found “common ground” on the issue.
The controversial issue of adoption in Guatemala continues to rage on. US officials may have begun the process of acknowledging the fatal flaws of the for-profit adoption corruption in Guatemala, but these warnings continue to be met with reticence and even anger from prospective parents in the U.S.
These are the particular cases in which prospective adoptive parents need to be aware of. Kim Park Nelson’s “Pro-natalism Movement” as she describes them in Outsiders Within, continues to inform the institutional definition of the family and the need for children. It seems that the need for families to adopt and “begin their families” outweighs the humanitarian and ethical issues surrounding fair adoption practices. These cases should be tacitly understood as reasons to be weary of adoption agencies. It seems that prospective parents and agencies who stand to either lose money or lose their “family building blocks” are upset. There should be a fair amount of scrutiny that goes into these cases as evidence that corruption and scandal are inherent qualities of the transnational, transracial adoption industry complex.