San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Guatemala Ratifies International Adoption Treaty

GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemala’s Congress has ratified the Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption, a move that serves to lift prohibitions on adopting Guatemalan children imposed by several countries.

The chairman of the legislative commission on children and families, Roland Morales, told reporters this week that the treaty “obligates the state to standardize adoption procedures” and guarantees minors “cease to be a marketplace commodity.”

The adoption of Guatemalan children, whose principal destination has been the United States, has become a lucrative business for notaries who specialize in that area, with a typical adoption in that country costing as much as $25,000 per child.

Prior to ratification of the convention, notaries had not been forced to comply with international standards, which have been established to ensure that babies are not bought or stolen.

According to figures from the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala, the second-leading source country for U.S. adoptions after China, 4,275 visas were granted in 2006 to Guatemalan children to emigrate with their adoptive families.

The next step for Guatemalan lawmakers, Morales said, is to pass a bill to create a federal agency responsible for centralizing the process of international adoptions.

In January, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs, Marta Harty, announced in Guatemala that her country would no longer give U.S. visas for children adopted in Guatemala if that nation did not ratify the Hague convention


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