Karen Abigail was a two year old girl who was brought on January 2, 2007, by her mother, a woman named Felicita Antonia, to Marvin Josue Bran Galindo, an adoption facilitator in Mixco, a town very close to
The adoption process was initiated, submitted to Family Court and the social worker appointed by the Family Court interviewed the foster mother, the birthmother and the girl being adopted. The file did not go to the PGN because of the lack of the US Embassy pre approval.
After many delays and excuses, and seven months after Karen Abigail was referred to the
After the DNA test failed, the adoptive parents were told that the real mother of Karen Abigail was the sister of the woman who went with her at the DNA test, and that she was going to be persuaded to come forward and to do her daughter’s adoption. This never happened and the offer of another referral was never an option for the devastated adoptive parents, who sought a
The adoptive mother also told us that they had been trying to adopt Karen Abigail since the end of November, 2006, when they approached the US adoption agency that was helping them to adopt a boy from Guatemala, after looking at the picture of Karen Abigail on their website and she was told that she and her husband could adopt her, on December 2006. They met Karen Abigail in January 2007, when they came to
According to the former adoption procedure, when the DNA done to the birth mother and child got negative results, the adoption could not proceed any further and the child was either a) returned to the woman who appeared as birthmother or b) the child was presented to the Court of Minors, to be sent to an orphanage, where his chances of being adopted were very slim, or c) it could be, if he child was really lucky, that such child was entrusted to an orphanage that would undertake the uphill battle of getting him a declaration of abandonment. Of course, this only happens after the possibility of finding the real mother of the child is exhausted and only if no relatives claim the child, in which case, the judge would not hesitate to give the child to the birth family.
The Abandonment Process
The Law of Integral Protection of the Childhood and Adolescence states that when the rights of a child are at risk or are being violated, the case must be brought before a judge who has to preside over an oral process to decide the way to restore those rights if the investigation done by the PGN shows that they have been violated or are threatened. The Civil Code states that the director of the orphanages have legal custody of the children under its care since the moment they are admitted at the orphanage and there is no need for a judge to appoint them as legal guardians. Based on those legal provisions, the orphanages have the right to represent the children in matters before the courts. I help Association Primavera with the cases that have to be processed before the Courts of Childhood and adolescence to seek protective measures for the children whose rights have been violated, to help those children to solve their legal situation.
Under the advice of their
The abandonment process started on September 18, 2007, with a petition filed by the director of Primavera under my legal direction, to the Judge of Minors of Escuintla, requesting him to investigate the situation of the girl named Karen Abigail, because her DNA test had negative results and her birthmother could not be located. The petition to the court was to locate her birth mother or her birth family and if that could not be possible, to restore her rights by ordering her adoption and it included all the pertinent documents: a copy of the DNA negative results, the birth certificate of Karen Abigail, copies of the ID documents (cedulas) of Felicita and Veronica and copies of the notarial acts where Karen Abigail was placed first with Veronica as foster mother while her adoption was processed and then, by Veronica to Primavera.
The court ordered Primavera to publish ads in two newspapers with the picture of Karen Abigail, which were published in Siglo Veintiuno and Al Día on October 5th., 2007 stating that the two year old girl was abandoned and summoning her mother to come forward at the Court of Escuintla. The court also ordered the PGN to conduct an investigation to search for the birthmother of Karen Abigail or for a relative who could and would raise her. A hearing that I could not attend, was held on November 6th, 2007. It was attended by Enriqueta, who is the Primavera director, Karen Abigail and a PGN Lawyer acting as deputy delegate of the PGN in Escuintla At that hearing, the PGN lawyer asked the judge to postpone the final ruling, due to the lack of a report from the Missing Persons Division of the National Civil Police, and therefore, another hearing was set for December 5th., 2007, when the PGN delegate submitted a written request to the court stating that since all the investigation was done and the report of the Missing Persons Unit was already in the file, to rule on the matter, declaring the violation of rights of Karen Abigail and to order to restore them through adoption. Accordingly, the court ruled the violation of rights of Karen Abigail to respect, dignity, personal integrity, adequate level of life and to a family, revoking the order of temporary shelter and granting the order to shelter permanently the child at Association Primavera until this entity could include Karen Abigail in an adoption program, ordering it to record its legal custody of Karen Abigail in the birth record of Karen Abigail in the Civil Registry of the Port of Iztapa, Escuintla, where her birth was already recorded.
The notarial adoption of Karen Abigail was started on December 13, 2007 and it was registered at the National Council of Adoptions on February 10, 2008, as a requirement to continue processing the adoption according to the old laws. On April 3rd. 2008, the
The director of Primavera ratified her consent for the adoption of Karen Abigail by the MO couple on May 8th. 2008, and on May 29th, 2008, the file was submitted at the PGN. The director of Primavera took Karen Abigail to the verification interview with representatives of the PGN and the CNA on July 29th, 2008, where the mothers who were looking for their missing children kept a close watch of all the children being brought to the interviews, in case their missing child was among them. Nobody claimed Karen Abigail.
The PGN gave a favorable opinion on July 28th., 2008, but was released until September 2008. The final deed was signed by the attorney who represented the adoptive prent and by the director of Association Primavera and authorized by the notary who presided over the process, on September 2nd., 2008.
The recording of the adoption was slow because the National Registry of Persons (RENAP) was not fully organized yet and it took two months to record Karen Abigail's adoption and obtain a birth certificate with the names of the adoptive parents on it (needed in order to obtain her passport). After the final deed was signed, the adoptive mother fostered Karen Abigail in Antigua, took her to get the passport and waited with Karen until she and her husband could travel to Missouri on December 9th., 2008.
(To be continued...)