Breaking News
Behind the New CNA Resolution on Transition Adoption Cases
The Consejo Nacional de Adopciones (Guatemala’s National Council on Adoptions) has issued a new decree that will impact the processing of transition adoption cases. The Associated Press writes that the new rule could “speed up dozens of adoptions by U.S. couples that have been stuck in limbo.” The article doesn’t specifically say why these cases have been “stuck,” which, to my understanding based on interviews with Guatemalan officials, is largely due to ongoing criminal investigations, a serious attempt to review all documents for signs of fraud and forgery, and an interdisciplinary effort by a working group of different government institutions...
12-year Human Trafficking Sentence in the Heidy Par / “Kimberli Azucena” Kidnapping for Adoption Case
This week, the morning of August 16, 2011, the Second Tribunal Court of Criminal Sentencing in Guatemala City, Guatemala held a hearing related to the abduction of Heidy Saraí Batz Par, a baby believed to have been sold into an adoption network. Heidy, the daughter of Raquel Par Socop and Marco Batz Tucubal, has been missing since April 4, 2006. According to a case briefing prepared by their lawyer in 2009, Par and Batz have been married for 24 years and have a total of eight children together. The Ministerio Público (Guatemalan Ministry of Justice) has offered financial compensation for tips and information related...
Guatemalan Judge Mario Fernanda Peralta Castañeda “Captured,” Found with 15 Illegal Weapons, Charged with Trafficking
At 6:00 a.m. this morning in Escuintla, Guatemala, a coordinated team consisting of  agents from the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), the Ministerio Público, and the Guatemalan National Police (PNC) went to Judge Mario Fernando Peralta’s home and “captured” him, charging him with the following: “asociación ilícita, trata de personas, prevaricato, conspiración y denegación de justicia, por conformar una estructura de personas que actuaban con el ánimo de lucrarse con la adopción irregular de la niña Dafne Nayeli Camey Pérez  (Yajaira Noemí Muyus, nombre dado con fines de adopción irregular).” That’s unlawful association (racketeering), human trafficking, malfeasance/breach of...
8/8/11: Loyda Rodríguez Addresses the Media in Guatemala
Loyda Rodríguez, mother of the abducted child Anyelí Liseth Hernández Rodríguez, answers questions from the press today inside the offices of Fundación Sobrevivientes in Guatemala City, Guatemala. A little over a week ago, a Guatemalan judge ruled that the American couple who adopted Anyelí believing her to be an orphan must return her. [read more] During the press conference, Loyda sat just outside of the office of Sobrevivientes director Norma Cruz, in front of a perpetual shrine to the Virgin of Guadalupe. Every time I’ve ever visited the foundation, there’s been a scattering of offerings at the Virgin’s feet: roses, candles,...
8/7/11: Father of “Karen Abigail”/Anyelí Speaks (Español)
Audio of  Dayner Orlando Hernández, father of the missing child Anyelí Liseth Hernández Rodríguez, assembled into a slideshow with various photos by Fundacion Sobrevivientes....
8/5/11 Update from the DOS on Ethiopian Orphanage Closures
From the Department the State today: Adoption Notice: Confirmation of Orphanage Closures in Ethiopia   August 5, 2011   Ethiopian government officials have confirmed that several orphanages in the Southern Nations state are closed due to revocation of their licenses to operate by Ethiopian authorities.    These orphanages are: SOS Infants Ethiopia (Arbaminch, Dilla, and Awassa branches) Gelgella Integrated Orphans (Tercha and Durame branches) Bethzatha Children’s Home Association (Sodo, Hosaena, Dilla, and Awassa branches) Ethio Vision Development and Charities (Dilla branch) Special Mission for Community Based Development (Hosaena branch) Enat Alem Orphanage (Awassa branch) Initiative Ethiopia Child and Family Support (Awassa...
Full Court Order on Return of Adopted Guatemalan Child “Karen Abigail”
DOCUMENTS: Full 7/29/2011 court orders from Judge Angelica Noemi Tellez Hernández in Guatemala, ordering “Karen Abigail” returned to her birthmother (19 page .pdf). Provided courtesy Fundación Sobrevivientes. Click to download (español)....
Florida DCF: “There is no clear policy on… allegations of human trafficking or harvesting.”
Last week, the Florida Department of Children and Families sent their multiple investigations into the adoption agency Celebrate Children International to the Florida Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for review. After filing a public records request with the OIG, they sent me seven pages of information the same day. Florida’s public records laws are the best in the country– the sunshine state is no joke! Last year, on November 30, 2010, DCF spokesperson Carrie Hoeppner filed a request with the OIG. Here’s what it said (red highlights are my own): “Management review is being requested by DCF Central Region...
Is Celebrate Children International’s License Suspended in Ethiopia?
UPDATE 7/27/2011, 8:53 am: The Embassy is now saying  that CCI’s is in fact still licensed.  Breaking news this morning: according to the US Embassy, the Ethiopian government has suspended Celebrate Children International’s operating license.   According to Celebrate Children International, this is untrue. Subject: FW: adoption/ orphanage closure Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2011 15:24:29 +0300 From: ConsAdoptionAddis@state.gov To: [redacted] Dear [redacted] It is our understanding that at this time Celebrate Children is suspended by the government of Ethiopia. We do not have current information on which orphanages adoption agencies are working with. This information is not ours to give out nor do we...
20+ Ethiopian Orphanages Reportedly Shut Down
Four days ago, the US Department of State issued an adoption alert about the alleged closing of the Mussie Child Care Center (also known as the Mussie Orphanage) in Hosana, Ethiopia. The State Department said they were simply relating info from adoption agencies, expressing that there hadn’t been any kind of confirmation yet. US adoption agencies like Holt International have been telling their Ethiopia clients that Mussie’s operating license was revoked by the Ethiopian government, forcing them to close their doors and send children to other care facilities. The State Department alert seems a bit late. Rumors regarding shuttered Ethiopian...
Breaking: New Charges in Yajaira Noemí Muyus kidnapping for adoption case
Today, International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) released a statement today about progress in the “Yajaira Noemí Muyus” case. Juzgado Duodécimo de Primera Instancia Penal charged Guatemalan lawyer Juan Carlos Pinillos García and Procuraduría General de la Nación (PGN) official César Augusto Galicia Prera with conspiracy and trafficking in relation to the abduction and attempted illegal adoption of the little girl “Yajaira Noemí Muyus” (a created identity). Galicia Prera was also charged with dereliction of duty. CICIG is acting as a complimentary prosecutor on the case. Judge Mario Fernando Peralta Castañeda, who has presided over the Minor’s Court of Ecuintla, is also linked to the...
Department of State Update on Haitian Adoptions
From the Department of State’s Intercountry Adoption Page today: “The Department of State has seen a recent increase in U.S. citizens seeking to pursue adoptions in Haiti through independent agents instead of licensed adoption providers. While these “private” adoptions are currently permissible in Haiti, prospective adoptive parents should be aware of the risks associated with not utilizing experienced, licensed agencies. Non-licensed facilitators may lack experience in navigating the complex Haitian adoption process, and this could lead to delays and critical mistakes in processing the case. Haitian facilitators may also not be familiar with U.S. immigration law governing intercountry adoption processing. Prospective...
Breaking: Sentencing in the Keneth Alexis López Agustín case
Keneth Alexis López Agustín was kidnapped on December 16, 2009 from the neighborhood Colonia Linda Vista in Jalapa, Guatemala. He was four years old. His mother and father, Maribel Agustín and José Guillermo López Rojas, went to the capital to seek out help from the national police and the Ministerio Público. They also sought out the help of Norma Cruz at Fundación Sobrevivientes. Before Christmas, Keneth’s father told the press that he would return to Jalapa to pass the holiday with his daughter and wife, praying for his son’s return. The family suspected a neighbor had taken the boy– one of the children Keneth Alexis...
Guatemala Update from the US Department of State
                The US Department of State sent out an email notice today on Guatemalan adoptions. It mentioned an April 14, 2011 meeting that happened in Washington, DC pertaining to transition adoption cases. Staff from the Office of Children’s Issues met with Elizabeth de Larios, president of Guatemala’s Consejo Nacional de Adopciones (CNA), and  two staff from the Guatemalan Embassy, Marilys Barrientos de Estrada and Fernando de la Cerda. U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) Deputy Director of International Operations Division, Wally Bird, attended, as did Ambassador Susan Jacobs. The Guatemalans again told the Americans that...
Senator Landrieu Responds
After contacting Senator Mary Landrieu’s office last week, her Deputy Press Secretary, Ellie Atkins, emailed me on Friday May 20, 2011 with a response from the Senator: “I am in direct communication with CICIG and have submitted for their review a list of my questions and concerns about some of the findings in their report.  Many people in good faith are working to resolve the several hundred adoption cases “in transition” as well as establish for Guatemala a model child welfare system which includes domestic and international adoption for children in need of a family. I want to restate that...
On GuatAdopt’s “On Susana, CICIG, and the Senator”
Last Wednesday, a post entitled ”On Susana, CICIG, and the Senator” by site moderator Kevin Kreutner, Susana Loarca’s arrest and the Karen Abigail case went up on GuatAdopt, the popular “Guatemala Adoption Information and News” site. It caused lots of buzz– as of this morning, a grand total of 41 comments. At the very top of the post rests a blunt statement. “Upfront, I’m not expert on either of these stories,” Kevin wrote. “So if I get something factually incorrect, post it to the comments.”He went on to talk a bit about Susana Loarca (also known as Luarca), saying that he felt she...
Happy Mother’s Day!
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! Today, besides thinking of my own wonderful mama Laura McIntyre, I’m taking a few minutes to think about the women in Guatemala who continue to search for their missing children. On that note, I’m posting a clip from the broadcast news show “People & Power.” It originally aired two years ago, on June 24, 2009. Although I question certain pieces of information in it–namely, police officer Sandoval’s assertion that all babies from the Antigua nursery Casa Quivira were adopted for a “minimum” of $50,000 each (seems a bit high..?)– this clip...
Breaking: Susana Luarca in Custody
Susana María de la Asunción Loarca Saracho, known to many Americans by her pen name “Susana Luarca,” has been taken into custody (“captured”) at her residence in Zone 10 of Guatemala City a little over an hour ago, at approximately 4:45 p.m. Police officers, CICIG investigators, and agents from the Ministerio Público were present for the arrest. Loarca’s arrest follows an April 19, 2011 decision by the First Penal Court of Guatemala City to overturn a prior arrangement made by the Third Court of Appeals, which allowed Loarca to remain free on bail and house arrest.  She is being charged with conspiracy, trafficking in persons...
Searching Mothers Demonstrate in Front of Guatemala’s National Palace
A set of photos from the demonstration on April 26, 2011 in front of Guatemala’s National Palace is on the public Facebook page for Fundación Sobrevivientes. After five years, these three women– Olga López, Loyda Rodríguez, and Raquel Par– are still trying to find out what happened to their stolen children. They have been demonstrating in Guatemala to draw attention to the cases since 2008. “No es justo que nosotras [las madres de las niñas sustraídas para dar en adopción irregular] estemos sufriendo y sus ciudadanos en Estados Unidos estén contentos con nuestras hijas,” Olga López told the press, which roughly translates...
A Sassy Response to the “Orphan Doctor”
David Kruchkow, a board member of PEAR (Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform), offers a sassy blow-by-blow retort to Dr. Jane Aronson’s open letter to Bill Clinton, “Ethiopian Adoption Tragedy,” on the PEAR website. Kruchkow also runs the site Adoption Agency Checklist. Here’s an excerpt: Aronson’s text: “The destruction of international adoption has become the cure for a misdiagnosed disease. Uninspired, bureaucratic, desperate decision-makers in governments, including our own, and in large child welfare organizations, raise the cry of “trafficking” and the rest is inevitable: to protect the children and stop the trafficking – stop adoption.” Kruchkow’s response: Has the adoption industry...
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