Guatemalan Adoptions & DOS Acountability sign now

On September 25, 2007, the US Department of State (DOS) announced several reasons why prospective adoptive families should not commence an adoption from Guatemala. Not least among them was the purported intention by unnamed Guatemalan officials that the Guatemalan government intends to ignore the clear requirements of the Hague Convention and intends to disallow in-process adoption cases from proceeding under existing law.

Any first year law student can read the Convention and immediately grasp why this "information" is, at best, misguided and, more likely, part of the consistent pattern of the existing (and soon-to-depart) Guatemalan administration's open hostility to constitutionally protected notarial adoptions in Guatemala. DOS is keenly aware of the provisions of article 46 of the Convention and is therefore likewise fully aware that this so-called "plan" is fundamentally at odds with the processes required by the Convention for its applicability. Yet, rather than identify and challenge the patent inconsistency and illegality of the "plan," and in lieu of consulting with the agencies that are left to manage the panic the warning will inevitably produce, DOS instead chose to publish this "plan" as part of a "warning." Why?

In issuing this warning, DOS, the "Central Authority" of the United States, has acted wholly contrary to the interests of U.S. adopting families. DOS should not be "warning" of this plan; DOS should be resisting this plan. American families who are already in process have the right to expect their government to do everything within its power to protect and preserve their rights as reflected in the Convention that the U.S. has been working toward implementing for over 15 years now. DOS's assertion that it is "working closely" with others "to support Guatemala's transition to meeting its obligations under the Hague Convention" is belied by the utter failure of its "warning" to announce U.S. resistance to a "plan" the implementation of which would be in clear violation of the Convention and would directly affect thousands of American families. Why?

Indeed there are changes happening in Guatemalan adoption. Currently, there are two bills pending in the Guatemalan Congress that would bring Hague compliance to Guatemalan adoptions. One, Bill 3635, would retain much of the current architecture, including many salutary features, of the Guatemalan adoption process, while bringing needed reform to parts of the process that all agree should be reformed. Another, the so-called "Ortega law," would render intercountry adoption theoretically possible but practically impossible. The mysterious "plan" that DOS warns of is fundamentally inconsistent with the Guatemalan Constitution, as it is only the Congress who can pass legislation and determine when and how this legislation will take effect. So far the Guatemalan Congress has NOT passed either proposal into law. However, it is a matter of interest to child advocates that DOS and the Hague are strongly promoting the Ortega Law, # 3217 and the Guatemalan congress is reporting on great international pressure to pass a law which includes no funding plan or possibility of practical implementation. Yet, DOS fails to so state. Why?

By signing this petition we are joining with FOA in asking for clear and direct answers to the following questions: Why is DOS ignoring the clear requirements of the Convention? Why is DOS failing to protect the interests of Americans who have undertaken a process in good faith? Why is DOS failing its mandate under the Convention to ensure that adoptions proceed expeditiously and according to the terms of existing law? Why is DOS supporting passage of a law which will hinder adoptions and place children in jeopardy? By signing we are requesting that the US Department of State be held accountable for their actions.

Questions or concerns regarding this petition will be answered mos quickly if referred to [email protected]

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Jerome ConnerBy:
Petition target:
The Honorable President of the United States, Members of Congress and Department of State Officials


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