Adoptions still in question in Guatemala

By October 15, 2007

Guatemala (MNN) — Concerns about the corruption in Guatemala's
adoption system led to a suspension of adoptions to the United States, effective
January 1.  

Officials there have grown increasingly worried
about the country's largely privatized adoption system. Last year, more than 4,000
Guatemalan children were adopted by U.S. citizens.

Guatemala is popular because adoptions are
relatively quick. Couples often can adopt children younger than 1 year old.

Additionally, the proximity, the cost and the availability
were all attractive factors contributing to the country's popularity in adoption circles. Critics say between the extreme poverty and
the demand for young Guatemalan children, unscrupulous and desperate families
have created an illicit market.

The suspension will
allow Guatemala the time to come into compliance with the Hague Convention (which
sets international adoption standards and allows international adoptions only
with other Hague nations).  

The United States intends to become Hague-compliant
in April. According to Bethany Christian Services, that means no adoptions in
progress will be allowed to continue. However, that decision also set up a storm of
controversy because of the thousands of children who would be left in limbo while the
government straightens out the system.

There is an effort to get the legislative body in Guatemala
to approve a bill that would grandfather in adoptions that are underway.

Pray for Bethany Christian Services' team as
they navigate any possible solutions. Bethany works to exemplify the hope and love of Christ through their family
services.

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