Guatemala 5000, a call to action – Oct. 9, 10, 11

guatemala_boysRecently the Guatemalan Congress approved sweeping changes to the international adoption system in their country. The bill – as passed – had no provision for grandfathering current cases, and (without such a grandfather clause) would certainly interfere with many adoptions that have already begun. The bill is now in committee, and amendments are being proposed, with another vote expected in November. A grandfather amendment has reportedly Continue reading

Al Jazeera, JCICS, and adoption (part 2)

Two days ago I posted about an adoption interview/debate on Al Jazeera’s English network. This post is about the second half of that interview with Tom DiFilipo, President and CEO of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS), and Louise Melville, a Care and Protection Adviser for Save The Children.

You can watch the clip of the 2nd half of the interview below, and (if you’re interested) you can read my commentary below the interview. If you cannot see the interview below, you can go to the interview on YouTube.

Part 2:
(Click on the play button in the center of the box or at the bottom of the box to watch the video right here. If you click anywhere else in the box, you will be taken to YouTube’s website.)

Now for my own summary of the inteview’s key points, along with some additional comments of my own:

Anti-Adoption Language

This topic — the language used to discuss international adoption — greatly interests me, especially because Continue reading

Al Jazeera, JCICS, and adoption (part 1)

The English wing of the Arab news network Al Jazeera produced a piece last month about international adoption on their “Inside Story” program: “Guatemala Adoption Scandal” aired on 13 August 2007. The program featured two interviewees who went head-to-head on inter-country adoption: Tom DiFilipo, President and CEO of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS), and Louise Melville, a Care and Protection Adviser for Save The Children.

This piece came to my attention not because I’m a regular Al Jazeera watcher, but because Carolina Hope is a member of JCICS, which advocates for international children’s welfare and supports international adoption as a legitimate option for providing permanency to children in need of homes.

I’m dividing this topic into two posts because the television program is available on the internet in 2 segments (and I only have time to blog about one of those today!) You can watch the first clip below, and (if you’re interested) you can read my commentary below the interview. If you cannot see the interview below, you can go to the interview on YouTube.

Part 1:
(If you click on the main box, you will be taken to the YouTube website. If you simply click on the play button at the bottom of the box, you can watch the video right here.)

[09/07/07 update: You can now view and read about part 2 of this interview here.]

Now for my own summary of the inteview’s key points, along with some additional comments of my own:

The Role of Inter-Country Adoptions

In part 1, the interviewer asks Tom and Louise about the role of inter-country adoption in the broader spectrum of solutions available for Continue reading

Meet David Esaú: Waiting Child from Guatemala

One of the ways that Carolina Hope seeks homes for orphans from Guatemala is through photolisting – that is, placing an orphan’s photo and name (along with a few other pieces of information) on our website and at another photolisting website, RainbowKids.com. I’ll post more about photolisting at some other time (it’s a controversial practice), but I’ll say this now: We photolist a child when none of our clients can accept that child as a referral (because the family is not approved for the gender/age of the particular child, or the family takes another referral, or no families have their approval yet from USCIS).

Today I want to introduce you to David Esaú. David was born in Guatemala on March 25, 2007. His single birthmother lives in a bad situation, and she has decided that she cannot adequately care for David – so she’s voluntarily placing him for adoption. Right now he lives in a private foster home. You can read more about David at our photolisting page for waiting children. He’s the first on the page.

I’m highlighting David because we’ve had him photolisted for over 4 months, and as he gets older Continue reading

DOS Notice on 2nd DNA Test

The Joint Council on International Children’s Services has issued the following notice about the second DNA test now being required for children adopted from Guatemala. As the notice states, the new requirement will be implemented for cases submitted to the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala on or after August 6, 2007.

This notice answers some of the first questions that my original post may have raised. However, there are still questions about how this requirement will be implemented, and we hope to have more answers soon – perhaps after the JCICS conference call tomorrow. The text of the notice appears below:

NOTICE
Department of State
August 2, 2007

U.S. Embassy Uses DNA Testing to Protect Children Adopted in Guatemala

Effective August 6, 2007, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala will require a second DNA test, to verify that the adopted child for whom an immigrant visa is being requested is the same child matched at the beginning of the adoption process with the birth parent. The Embassy is taking this step in response to concerns about the unregulated adoption process in that country. The Embassy already requires one DNA match between a relinquishing parent and prospective adoptive child as part of the immigrant visa process for Guatemalan children adopted by American citizens. This new procedure will apply to adoption cases finalized by Guatemalan authorities and submitted to the Embassy on or after August 6th.

The United States supports the highest standards of practice in international adoption. Continue reading

2nd DNA Test for Guatemala Adoptions

[This post was updated August 2, 2007. The update appears at the end of the original text.]

The U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City is introducing a second DNA test, this one to be done before a visa will be issued to the adopted child. This child’s DNA sample will be sent to the U.S. lab that conducted the first DNA test (LabCorp for Carolina Hope clients), and the new sample will be matched against the DNA sample gathered from the child when the case first went to the U.S. Embassy for pre-visa approval. This extra matching will ensure that the child being issued the visa is the child whose case was originally pre-approved. According to what we’ve read, Continue reading