Guatemalan Adoptions

Guatemalan Adoptions

I was lucky to capture this couple and their new baby just taking a rest and enjoying the beautiful light and atmosphere around Parque Central. This young family seemed to be at peace and taking pleasure of each other; judging, of course, by the additional photos (click to view the supporting image 2, image 3, image 4 and image 5 or a slideshow of the images).

My best wishes for the New Year to all my dear visitors!

Adopting Guatemalan Babies:
Now, regarding the adoptions of Guatemalan babies, I am mostly against because this is run like a business, thus the people involve in putting babies for adoptions have little regard for what is best for the babies. The baby-selling industry has taken advantage of the poor legislation and regulation regarding adoptions in Guatemala. A whole industry has spawn from this vacuum and babies are given in adoption to foreigners, mostly unaware, for very large sums of money. If you are considering adopting a baby from Guatemala, please inform yourself and visit some of the resources that I list below.

Customs and Cultural Expectations:
Guatemalan babies that are raised abroad, away from Guatemala and its culture, traditions, language peculiarities and diet, will not be Guatemalans by any means. The birth place does not make you a Guatemalan or Mexican or Costa Rican (regardless of what your identification card or passport says); what defines you is the place where you grow up and values and culture you receive at home.

To People Adopting Guatemalan Babies:
Thanks for stopping by and for leaving your valuable comments; I am glad you like the photos and information, although I must warn you, I do not maintain this site for any particular group; rather I do it for myself and for those who might enjoy a daily snapshot from a colonial town in Central America. I do it for friends and family. I do it for Guatemalans abroad who are masochist and need a daily dose of their homeland.

If you feel that the photos and information on the Antigua Guatemala Daily Photo are helpful or even useful to you and your family, please, take a moment to leave your feedback and to donate towards the hosting bills of this site (through the blue button underneath the search form). I take all the photos and research all the information to the best of my abilities and without any funding, except my own pocket and the donations of people like you.

I wish you good luck with your Guatemala-born baby, raise her with lots love and make her an important part of your family and community. If s/he ever has the need to know about his birth-place, then and only then, tell him about this very complex and troubling tiny country in Central America.

Resources for People Planing to Adopt Guatemalan Babies:
A quick search through Google throws many resources, but judging by the traffic coming towards Antigua Guatemala Daily Photo, the following links are run by people who know the processes and pitfalls. If you know of other reputable resources, please, let other know through your comments in this entry.

  1. Guatemalan Adoptions Forum
  2. Guatemalan Adoptions Group at Yahoo
  3. Guatemala Adoption Information & News

¡Buena Suerte!

© 2006 – 2016, Rudy Giron. All rights reserved.

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  • Bonne année, bonne santé
    “Le temps passe, les années filent. Quand une nouvelle année commence, on se demande toujours si elle apportera la paix et le bonheur à chacun… Fermez les yeux et faites un voeu !”

    Good year, good health
    time passes, the years slip by. When a new year starts, one always wonders if it will bring peace and happiness to each one… Close the eyes and make a wish!

  • happy new year rudy. i am going to do research on the gun issue and germany. but it is my belief that the guns that the citizen had to be smuggled in or stolen. the armies had guns, the law had guns but not the average citizen.

  • Adoption is a really profitable business. My mother’s friend is a renamed Laywer who have an adoption business. For each baby, the couple has to pay between $40,000 to $55,000. Caucasian society likes abroad kids like Angeline Jolie for example. In Guatemala are more than 20 clandestine baby houses were people steal babys and hide them in those places. My mother’s friend has a big company, worldwide recognized giving babies around the globe most of them to United States, France and Germany. She looks for teenagers indigenous who were raped or an unwanted baby and they have the abortion as the first choice. After they sign a contract and they are willing to give their baby away a process with the “procuraduria” of Guatemala study the case and it is the one who decide if the adoption can be done or not. The process of adoption takes about a year. The “waiting” parents have to come to Guatemala to meet the mother, and fix all the requirements and so on. They have to show their background, if they are economical stable, and other things in order to qualify. The company provides trips where the mother is living (rural areas), a bilingual guide and so on. Everything, of course is paid by the couple. But thats only if is a “licensed” adoption company; now the clandestine ones, they even smuggle babies across the borders like animals or falsify the birth certificate to make the country believe that they are the original parents all this to provide the baby to the anxious couple. This is a vicious cycle cuz couples in other countries are willing to pay everything to get a baby and they dont care about the methods to get it.. so the cycle will continue until this couples can do it in the legal way…. I’m with you about the adoption thingy, however if is a good cause if they help the baby to live in a better place rather than having a messy childhood or even death. My professor told us a story about 2 guatemalan kids and a peruvian one. they lived happy as nobody else… their parents adopted them… a gay couple… I think is fair enough. or not?

    happy new year..
    And thank you to letting me post my thougts here… I will add you in my blog.. please go and visit mine

  • ale

    Thanks for sharing your images from Guate, you know how I appreciate that.
    abrazos and I’ll see you next years for reals.

  • Meg

    Complex issue, adoption. Here in NZ, adoption is done within the same ethnic group if at all possible, I think, and there are a lot of these open adoptions where the birth mother can have regular contact with the child and the adoptive family. The indigenous Maori folks try to adopt within the extended family where possible. Still, there are many Russian babies around, also. It’s really a complex issue, and I can’t form an opinion on it. I have friends who were adopted and are perfectly happy adults, too.

    Rudy, Happy New Year to you. I look forward to more great photos and interesting articles from ADP in the new year. (We’re already 12 hours into 2007!)

  • look the stars, give thanks for this year and make a wish for a great new year… HAPPY NEW YEAR 2007

  • wishing you and all you love a fabulous new year!

  • Throughout history tyrants and potential tyrants have feared private ownership of guns. Gun control was one of Adolf Hitler’s first programs after being elected in Germany, but before establishing a dictatorship. In 1935, on the day he signed gun control legislation into law in Germany, Adolf Hitler said, “This year will go down in history. For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration. Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead into the future.” Of course, Hitler did not admit what his real motive was for gun control.

  • What an awesome capture! That is so great. Happy New Year from Houston Daily Photo!

  • Just a personal ancedote…
    I was in Guatemala many years ago during Semana Santa. Don’t recall precisely which town. It was perhaps Antigua. (I found Guatemala to be a beautiful, wonderful country with warm and kind people.) As I walked back toward my hotel, I approached a cute little boy and smiled at him and his mother. As we passed, I overheard the mother tell the little boy, “Behave or (I dont’ remember the word she used for me) she will take you home with her.” My Spanish isn’t good, but I feel pretty sure I understood her. I was really shocked and hurt. And it made me realize how multi-layered the adoption issue is. Everyone wants all babies to have loving homes. But we also want to care for our children ourselves. It’s painful when we see our babies leaving us and our countries to go to other homes — even when it is to loving homes.
    Thanks for the photo and words of wisdom you shared with it.

  • Marco

    It is one of those sad ironies of life, this adoption issue. It is a sad place where mothers are so poor that they are faced with issues of “Sofie’s Choice” with alarming frequency irregradless of whether it was lack of a voice, lack of protection from rape and abuse, lack of food or water or simply wanting for their children something far from what they themselves have been privileged with and are able to provide for their young ones. Although I was never adopted, I was taken from my mother as a toddler to come to the U.S. to reside with my father. I am thankful because here I was afforded with an “American” education, and although we were by many measures lower middle class, I lived in far better conditions than those in the majority of Guatemalan children. As an adult though, I feel drawn to my roots and to want to know more about my people, the country of my birth and the conditions that may be responsible for the outcomes that led to the current conditions there. I am thankful for those who legally and ethically rescue children and bring them into their families to raise as very much their own. I am however, against any kind of inhumane, violations of anyone’s human rights, and the human trafficking that sadly exists. As responsible privileged human beings we must all be united in protecting these inalienable rights that all humans all over the world should posess. Although in many cases, where kids are obtained illegally they turn out in better places, the practice violates the rights of mothers and families and the same children. We should do everything within our circles of influence and our means to legislate, advocate, and protest against any such acts around the world. Thank you for your pictures.

  • I appreciate all your wonderful comments and intelligent feedback on this entry. I believe this entry has upset many more people than I expected and need further clarification. I will take on each of the confusing aspect of this entry one by one.

    The photograph: A picture is worth a thousand words; so, since I published 5 photos I have the equivalent of 5,000 words that show a happy adopting family, relax, at peace and enjoying each other. These images should be plenty to upset the balance of my opinion.

    Guatemalan Adoptions: I did not mean to imply that all the people involve in procuring and resolving the legal hustles of the Guatemalan bureaucracy regarding adoption, international or otherwise, are corrupt or mean-spirited. What I said was that there are many people who only see the adoptions as a business without any regards to the human rights of the birth family and the baby. I suggested to use some of the resources that I found and to inform yourself.

    Customs and Cultural Expectations: From my personal experience of Guatemalans, Mexicans, Salvadorians, et-cetera, that had offspring in the United States and their children were exposed to the customs and cultural background of the parents; this however did not made the children Guatemalan or Mexican (depends in the country of origin). Rather a new breed of human beings with their own cultural values and identity was formed. That is the reason why we have chicanos and pochos (or whatever they choose to call themselves). Now, imagine what is like to have parents from a different ethnic background and culture; I surely can not imagine a Salvadorian baby becoming a Salvadorian baby when her parents are Asians and living in Little Rock, AK (even if the parents try to teach her about her native country).

    I hope to clarify a little further my entry and not to confuse people even more. My best wishes to all adopting parents and their babies. Like I told Jerry, I rather see families with babies like the ones in the photos above than to see kids at age six working in the streets, as I pointed out on my entries about Child Labor and Tourists and shoe-shining boy.

    Please, do read Juan’s and Marco’s comments. They showed us a different angle at this multilayer issue which is adoptions.

  • Scott

    First, thanks Rudy for this website. I enjoy it immensely. The photos are great, and the commentary is wonderful.

    The issues regarding the adoption of Guatemalan children are very complex indeed. I am the father of two adopted children from Guatemala, so I feel that I know something about this issue. Adoptions are a big business in Guatemala. Agency fees alone are around $27,000 with the largest portion of the money going directly to the Guatemalan attorney handling the case. Until the Guatemalan government fixes the some of the problems in the Guatemala adoption system, attorneys there will continue to get richer and richer. Contrary to what Juan says, Americans do not have to travel to Guatemala to meet the birth mother. If a meeting takes place at all, it is at the discretion of the birth mother.

    There are also several steps in the current adoption process which help encourage authenticity and legitimacy: 1) DNA testing is performed to assure that the child is indeed the birth mothers (fraudulent adoptions in Guatemala used to be a huge problem – perhaps what Juan was referring to), 2)a Guatemalan social worker interviews the birth mother to assure that it is her wishes to give the child and to assure that the adoptive family is well suited for the adoption, 3) Procuraduría General de la Nación (PGN) reviews the entire case for any sign of fraudulency, 4) a thorough review of each case is performed by the U.S. Embassy, and 5) the birth mother has up until the very end to change her mind about the adoption.

    The biggest problem I have with Guatemalan adoptions is that the attorneys there are getting rich. We spent most of our life’s savings on the adoptions. I wished that the money would have been directed back to the Guatemalan people (to help build schools, etc…).

    Yes, our children are Americans that happened to be born in Guatemala. We intend on visiting Guatemala as often as possible to keep their and our connection to this beautiful country and the beautiful people there as vibrant and alive as possible.

  • Marco

    Scott: I wish every couple or person adopting children from Guatemala and any other underdeveloped country was like you. I appreciate your approach to adoption and your regard for maintaining some kind of connection to Guatemala for the sake of your children and their background. They are very fortunate to have you. I agree that there should be more done to promote some of the money from the adoption process be channeled to the communities and the people in much need of it. I am however somewhat cynical when it comes to money and distribution of wealth in Guatemala, that may take Che Guevara and Jacobo Arbenz to return from the dead. Thanks for your comment and Rudy, thanks for your site and your photos.

  • GDS

    First – Rudy – thanks so much for your wonderful blog. I just came accross it recently and expect it to end up in my regular rotation.

    I’m so glad Scott left the comments that he did because some things about Guatemalan adpotions really need to be clarified for most. There is a perception that babies are bought and sold, and of course corruption still exists.

    But the interview and DNA process, along with a reputable agency can abate many of the concerns. The costs mentioned on one other post are way high, the figures in cases that I’m familiar with are closer to Scott’s number, if not a little lower. Other costs add to the total though.

    The other perception I want people to consider is what adoption is all about. For most of use who have gone or are going through this, it is not about rescuing a child. It is not about doing whatever it takes to get a baby. It’s not JUST about giving some poor kid a better life.
    It IS about forming a family. Bringing a child without a family into a family. I know it sounds like a tiny distinction, but it’s real. If American adpoting were really just concerned about the humanitarian situation, we’d be doing a lot of other things as suggested above. Paying for insfrastructure, health care, education, etc. In reality, we should be doing all of these things, in addition to finding homes for orphans.

    I agree though that the most painful part of the ineternation process is the fact that the child experences a sense of loss. Loss of a birthfamily, loss of homeland, language (usually), food, culture, etc. It’s critical for adopting families to understand this. Rudy aludes to the fact that there’s no way a Guatemalan born child living in America with European descent parents will get to experience being Guatemala no matter what we parents do. It’s still very important for adpotive parents to provide oportunites for their kids to explore their heritage though.

  • Scott, Marco and GDS: I thank you so much for sharing your personal experience and for being open-minded about my opinions. Also, I thank you for setting the record straight.

  • Lauri

    Hola, this is the first time I visited your site. I was doing a search on international adoptions. I have several close friends who are from Guatemala. I rarely travel but I wanted to see the country and experience the culture I have heard so much about. In 2005 I traveled to Guatemala. It was amazing and without a doubt the best thing I have ever done. The people were so welcoming. I gained new repect for the men and women of this country. I also then started considering adotion. If I were going to adopt internationally I would only do it through Guatemala. I want the child to be able to still know their homeland, culture, language etc. I knew my friends would be able to help me with this- especially when the child wanted to learn more about Guatemalan history and the Mayan ancestory. I also know I will be returning to this country every few years. I was amazed at the costs involved with international adoptions. Most of the sites I looked at started at appoximately $30-35,000. For me this is allot of money. Yes, I could do it with a loan, however I also feel by doing that I would be taking resources away from the child that I want to give a better life to. As much as I would love to give a child from Guatemala a home in the US with a good education and a loving home, I have started to have second thoughts. I am not sure what to do. I know I would not regret the adoption but it does appear to be a business. Scott’s insight is helpful. I have spoken with other friends in other areas of the US who have adopted from Guatemala and they had similiar experiences. I have been struggling with this decision for several months and have yet to decide what to do. I will continue to monitor this site for input. Thanks

  • Diana

    It’s so interesting to me that photos of ME, MY HUSBAND and MY LITTLE BOY have caused such a ruckus on this site. 🙂 Thank you Rudy for posting these lovely photos of my family. We were indeed enjoying a sunny day and some ice cream near the park, watching everyone get ready for New Year’s Eve. I have been living here in Guatemala since July (and it is now March) awaiting the adoption of our young son, which gratefully was just approved last week. It has been a very long and stressful year for us, but in the end it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to my family. My husband and I were married in Guatemala nearly 3 years ago, and we come back to visit as often as possible – and this will certainly not change after we return home with baby Mateo. The adoption process is indeed fraught with issues and unknowns, but there is no one blanket statement that can cover every single case. So, we must all do our best to maintain a level head, avoid stereotypes and cliches, try to get all the facts, think with a global world view, and above all, put the needs of the children first.

    Thanks for posting the photos and for engaging in an important discussion. Change only happens when people are aware, passionate and empowered.

  • Marco

    Congratulations to you and your husband Diana in the adoption of your beautiful child. It is already obvious that Mateo is very very fortunate to have a family that will love him and nurture him in such a special way. Thanks for your post.

  • Diana: I thank you for coming forward and leaving your feedback and feelings about the adoption process in Guatemala. I congratulate you on your approved adoption and I would like to meet with you for lunch or coffee one of these days before you leave. I would also like to give you these photos, 4×6 prints, for your memories, if you care for them, as my gift to you. Say hello to your husband and little Mateo.

  • Debra

    I am an adoptive mother. I adopted my child here in the States. I brought my daughter home when she was 2 days old from the hospital. My child is a different race and her adoption was a fifth of what has been stated in some of these posts. I don’t understand why so many people are adopting babies from other countries at such a high price when there are so many children here in the United States that need homes. I don’t mean to be negative and believe me I know what it is to want a child, I just don’t understand. Could it be a “black” thing? Do people think it is “better” to have a Hispanic or Asian child rather than a African-American child? Maybe someone can enlighten me?

  • GDS

    Congratulations on your adoption! I’m sure your daughter is a wonderful addition to your family.
    It’s so great that you are asking about this subject. As someone who entered the adoption process with no partular method/age/race in mind at first, I will try to give you my perspective.
    I think it goes without saying that there’s rarely just one reason to adopt in the first place. And among adopting parents I know, saving a child in need is rarely one of the main reasons. It’s not that we don’t recognize that as part of what’s going on, it’s not usually the motivation to adopt in general. If having children is simply a method to find homes for children in need, then we could could pose your question to any parent.

    Once you decide to adopt, you cannot get very far into the process without making certain choices. Which agency to use, age range, level of special needs, domestic or international, open/semi-open/closed, foster care, etc. Each of these types have very different processes. Some folks are comfortable with the domestic process, others prefer the international process. For us, we found an agency we liked, but did not feel like their infant domestic program was a good fit for us right now. There’s nothing unethical or wrong with it, but we just were not comfortable with it. So we chose the Guatemala program. We may use a different program or adopt special needs some time in the future.

    There’s so much more to this that I can’t fit in a blog comment, and I doubt Rudy want’s this to become a major adoption forum so please let me know if you want additional thoughts on this topic.