Guatemala adoptions get complicated

By February 21, 2008

Guatemala (MNN) – In becoming Hague compliant, Guatemala took aggressive steps aimed at protecting the children involved in the adoptive process. The Hague Convention reflects worldwide consensus that birth-mothers and children should be protected.

However, between the creation of new laws and agencies for that purpose in Guatemala, the process got very complicated. 

A new system, changing over from a foster-care base to an orphanage-base, came into being with the creation of the independent Central Adoption Authority. It is supposed to prevent child trafficking in the foster care system.

CAA's main job is to oversee the adoptive process, but authority representatives said the work to register all of the children could take months because they lack adequate personnel and funding.

Bethany Christian Services' Melissa Gunnink explains one reason why people got worried.  "What some of the current concerns have been as this new Central Authority has been established is whether or not families who were in process with their adoption cases but had not yet completed the process would need to start the process over again under the new system." 

She says those families who were already queued up in the system will be "grandfathered" in.  That's a relief for some families. For others, the wait will stretch out until April, when the U.S. becomes compliant with the Hague treaty. Until then, Guatemala is not accepting any new cases.

Bethany Christian Services has applied as a primary provider and would continue as a full service agency and conduct international adoptions in all countries when their application is approved.

BCS works to show the love of Christ through family services and through the families partnered with them. "Pray specifically for those families who are in process with their adoption cases right now, that those would continue as they are, and also for the children in Guatemala who are most affected by the current system now, those who have already been matched with families."

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