Outside of the adoption community you probably haven’t heard of a treaty called the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions. It sets up standards between countries governing the entire process of the placement of the child. Guatemala has been a favored country for many Americans because of the relatively quick approval process. There are some unintended consequences of this status. According to an AP article:
“Every 100th baby born in Guatemala grows up as an adopted American, making the Central American country the richest source of adoptees in the Western Hemisphere.”
The 2 countries have been arguing for some time over whether Guatemala falls under the treaty or not. A few years ago adoptions stopped during a treaty review but they resumed as the 2 sides declared a sort of truce. Now though the US has decided that yes Guatemala does fall under the Hague. What does this mean?
“For now, willing parents can get Guatemalan babies by paying thousands of dollars to notaries who act as baby brokers, recruiting birth mothers, handling all the paperwork and completing the job in less than half the time it takes elsewhere. The process is so streamlined that Guatemala outpaces all other countries in the percentage of its children put up for U.S. adoption.
All this will likely end once the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions takes effect in the United States. The U.S. will then require all foreign adoptions to meet tougher international standards, which Guatemala ratified in 2003 but has yet to implement.”
International adoption is a wildly confusing process. Imagine if you will an international DMV that changes its rules while you stand in line. Of course you don’t know about the rule change until you get up to the window and the clerk tells you oh you should be standing in that line in the building next door and I’ll need you to notarize this conversation.
My fear is that this new layer of bureaucracy is going to make things even more complicated and the excruciating wait even longer. Parents will suffer, children will be delayed in getting to their families and somehow the lawyer fees will rise.