Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Guatemalan Adoptions

Sally asked in a comment on a previous post whether there's something that people can do to help the situation regarding adoptions to the U.S. from Guatemala ending in the near future.

There is so much news on this situation and it changes daily so I've been hesitant to say much, but it certainly won't hurt to bring it up.

There was a recent campaign of emails, letters and calls to various representatives and organizations to "grandfather" current cases of children who have been referred to families in the U.S. even if their cases don't complete by the cutoff date of January 1, 2008 (that's effectively Dec 1, 2007, as the Guatemalan government shuts down for almost a month around the Christmas holiday.) The campaign was successful in helping those with power see that they need to enact legislation to grandfather existing cases. Nothing has been made official yet, though.

In the bigger crisis of all adoptions from Guatemala to the U.S. ending, progress is being made as well. Granted, this all needs to be noted in the context of a history of rules, laws and constitutional amendments changing faster and more often than one usually expects, so nothing is set in stone until it is set in stone. Even then, there's no guarantee that 6 months from any point in time, things won't change. However, there is a positive statement issued from the Joint Council on International Children's Services which states:

We can now report that members of the Guatemalan Congress, including numerous party chiefs, have submitted a new legislative proposal which;

-includes a strong `grandfather' clause,
-designates April 30 2008 as the effective implementation date of the Convention,
-allocates $5 million Quetzales ($650,000 USD) for the creation of the Central Authority,
-allocates a percentage of the total government budget for child welfare services,
-creates a new government entity to act as the Central Authority in Guatemala,
-provides for private non-profit accredited entities to provide services to children,
-allows single potential adoptive parents to apply for adoption,and
-creates a functional process by which children can find a permanent, safe and loving family

This is very positive news. I don't know of any particular way in which people can offer assistance through emails, letters or phone calls at the moment but I will try to include such information as it arises in the future.

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