Friday, October 16, 2009


All adoption cases started before December 31, 2007 and registered at the National Council of Adoptions (CAN) before February 13, 2008, are allowed to be processed and finalized according to the notarial system. Unfortunately, the CNA does not want to step aside of the grandfathered cases, to try to justify the small number of adoptions they have finalized in almost two years of its existence. First, they set up the “verification court” with the collaboration of the PGN and of the DA, to interview all the birthmothers and legal guardians of the children being adopted under the old laws. Clearly, neither the DA nor the CNA have anything to do with those adoptions, because they are neither crimes to investigate nor adoptions under the new law, but that did not stop either of them to keep using grandfathered adoptions to justify that they are not doing what they are meant to do.

In Guatemala, prostitution is legal, but it is not legal to operate brothels and much less, to exploit underage girls in those places. The Unit Against Traffic of People, of the District Attorney, supposedly works to protect people from any kind of exploitation and especially of the sexual kind, but instead of doing so, it devotes the best part of their efforts to try to find felonies in adoption processes, even if they already were approved by the PGN. Meanwhile, brothels are still open and girls are being shipped from all over the world to cater all their clients, but especially from other countries in Central America, where many girls are lured with offers of legal employment, just to find out when they get to Guatemala that they are forced into prostitution. But as it happens with drugs, the people who have interests in this kind of illegal activity are very powerful and it is very dangerous to go against them. It is safer to accuse lawyers and especially female lawyers, knowing that we are not going to shoot at them if they come after us. The DA has many adoption files, where they are trying to build cases against the lawyers who handled them. The DA agents spend countless hours investigating how many times the lawyers have traveled abroad, digging out personal and financial information about them and a lot of irrelevant data that has no bearing with the case. The consent of the birth mother is not taken into account, pictures and videos and even DNA results of tests done at the relinquishment of the children, offered by the lawyers to help with the investigation are rejected, because that can prove that everything is legal and what would they do to build the cases then.

The CNA offices take two floors of a new building located on Avenida Reforma, across the street from the American Embassy. Their offices are crawling with employees and there are stacks of official looking papers everywhere on sight. For an entity that has been working for less than two years and who did as little as 54 adoptions last year an even less this year and who has not even issued the regulations required by the Adoptions Law, the manpower and the paperwork displayed do not match its results. The president of the CNA claims that the lack of funds is detrimental for their work. They seem to forget that they can charge for their services when they do adoptions to foreigners, but of course, that would mean to actually have to work and why bother when their survival is guaranteed by those who do not want adoptions of Guatemalan children.

The recently appointed Attorney General was welcomed to his new post by the letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sent by 52 US lawmakers, urging the US DOS to expedite Guatemalan adoptions. His response was to appoint an Adoptions Unit formed by three PGN lawyers and three CNA lawyers to review the “irregular adoptions” as they are commonly called by the Prensa Libre. To appoint CNA lawyers to review the grandfathered adoption processes is a big mistake, because not only those adoptions do not fall under the scope of their activities, but the CNA lawyers are programmed to oppose adoptions in general and notarial adoptions in particular. The Attorney General appointed other two PGN lawyers to help to review the cases. They should start by asking the DA to return those files where no felonies have been committed, to approve them right away and let those children move on with their lives. The PGN is quoted as having trouble in “recovering all the adoption files”, which only shows that they have no clue as to what are they supposed to do with the files. The PGN has three days to give an opinion and it should not send the file to the Unit of Childhood, because the first thing they do is to appoint an investigator who does not do much and the file ends up at the DA.

The CNA is urging the families whose adoptions are stalled to communicate their situation to the PGN and to the CNA. Since they have no power over notarial processes, it is useless to do so. It is better to complain directly to the Attorney General about your case and let him know the number and date of entry of your case and all the related information. His name is Guillermo Antonio Porras Ovalle and you can address him at

The voices of the adoptive parents still in process need to be heard. When somebody proposed a hunger strike in front of the PGN, many people opposed. When a praying vigil was proposed later, nobody wanted to do it. The demonstration at the Guatemalan Embassy was attended by very few families but it was noted by the Washington Post. It would be wonderful if all the families would make a collective effort to call the attention of the media to the situation of their adoptions that are being delayed simply because they are the reason of being of the jobs of many bureaucrats, who know that as soon as those adoptions are approved by the PGN, their jobs would be in jeopardy, so it is better for them to keep them in the system for as long as it is possible.

The lawmakers who signed the letter to Secretary of State Clinton need to know that their letter did not make a difference. They need to be told that the authorities in Gautemala are still opposing adoptions and that the children being adopted as well as their US adoptive families are still waiting for the release of their files.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

we will pray for you.
Thanks for your efforts.