Monday, January 28, 2008

Two BIG Praises, One Huge Prayer Request

We heard from our friend Steve in Guatemala this weekend. He met with a new lawyer (a friend of our friend Suzanne, thanks, Suzanne!) who reviewed the kids' documents and let Steve know that he has all the legal custody needed to allow us to adopt them. The previous lawyer told us that the birth mother's rights were never terminated and that we would have to petition the courts to get that issue resolved (oh yeah, and pay her $10,000 in the process). Our concern was that if we did that, the birth mother would be brought back into the picture. We really did not want that to happen since the kids were removed from her because she had been abusing them. The frustrating thing is this means we could have filed the adoption papers for the kids 2 months ago and we would have been grandfathered into the new system. (oh well, can't do anything about that now.) The new lawyer will also be taking care of getting Carlos' birth certificate-free of charge! So those are two big praises!

The big prayer request is that Steve is hearing that under the new law, adoptive parents will not be allowed to preselect children for adoption. If this turns out to actually be the case, we will not be allowed to adopt the kids. I haven't found this idea published anywhere so we are praying that this is just hearsay and not really part of the new law. Please pray with us!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Statement from the State Department

The US State Department issued the following statement on January 16:

"The Department of State advises potential adoptive parents and adoption service providers not to initiate new adoptions from Guatemala because of the great uncertainties surrounding implementation of Guatemala’s new adoption law.

We do not know when the Government of Guatemala will be prepared to process cases under the new system set forth in the new Guatemalan adoption law that went into force on December 31, 2007. The Government of Guatemala is now working to put into place the infrastructure necessary to implement the provisions and obligations of the new law. The National Adoption Council, Guatemala's Hague Convention Central Authority , was installed on Jan. 11 and is expected to begin initial operations soon and to quickly ratify and publicize the registration procedure required for adoptions initiated prior to the law’s effective date. But the full process must be in place and functioning before an adoption can be completed under the new law. There is no process in place at this time.

In addition, the new Guatemalan law appears to prohibit new adoption cases with non-Hague countries. Article 39 states that "in international adoptions, the persons who wish to adopt a child must initiate the process through the Central Authority of their country of residence, which will forward the request and appropriate certifications to the Guatemalan Central Authority." Since the U.S. Central Authority will not begin processing Hague adoptions until April 1, the new Guatemalan law does not appear to contemplate U.S. adoptions until after April 1.

Finally, we cannot guarantee that adoptions will continue between the United States and Guatemala after April 1, 2008, when the Convention goes into force for the United States. The Convention prohibits all members from processing adoptions from member countries that do not have Hague compliant adoption processes. As a consequence, the United States and other Hague Convention countries will have to determine whether the new process in Guatemala meets Convention requirements. If a fully Hague compliant process is not in place in Guatemala by April 1, 2008, the United States government will not be able to process new cases with Guatemala. While we will assist the Guatemalan government as much as possible to ensure that the new processes are sufficient, we cannot at this time predict whether or when we will be able to process adoptions from Guatemala after the Convention goes into force in the United States."

The good news is that on Wednesday, January 16, 2008, new members of the Central Authority were appointed. They also released the forms necessary for in-process adoptions. Because we were not able to file the necessary forms by December 31, we are considered a new adoption. The Central Authority has not stated what the process for new adoption will be but it is encouraging that they have already named their new members and released the processed for in-process adoptions. We'll keep you posted if we hear anything but as it stands now, it looks like we can't do anything until the US installs the Hague treaty on April 1.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

We've Been Busy

Well, due to the concern of my sister Kel that something is very wrong with us because we haven't posted in 3 weeks, I've decided to post this update. We spent Christmas with Matt's grandparents in IL. (Caesar spent Christmas at home with his giant bone.) Some of Matt's extended family was there as well. In fact, it was my first time to meet Matt's cousin Nathan and his wife Anabel.

We were only back in KY 1 day when I flew to NY to be with my extended family for my Grandma Morris' 80th birthday. While I only got to see my out-of-town family for 1 day, it was still good to spend time with my Mom's family that still lives in NY. I also had my first experience with the Elmira, NY airport, which has to be the smallest airport I have ever been in (they only have 2 counters-Northwest & USAir). I flew home New Year's Day in the midst of a snow storm that stretched from Chicago to Maine. It was interesting, but I actually made it to Lexington only 30 minutes later then I was scheduled to arrive. The night before I left NY, I took Airborne at the urging of my Aunt Laurie. She insisted this would help keep me from getting whatever Matt's been fighting for 6 weeks and whatever the guy that sat behind me on the plane had. Well, it didn't and I woke up Thursday (the 3rd) morning to a fever and unable to get out of bed. Apparently I had some virus other then what Matt has been fighting because he came down with it Saturday. We both felt horrible all last weekend and are just now getting back to our normal perky selves. =) So the main reason we haven't updated is we've been feeling pretty crummy for over a week now. Plus Matt has been working a lot of hours as he balances his 3 jobs. He is enjoying his new job at the public library though.

No news on the adoption front as Guatemala celebrates Epiphany on January 6th and all the government office have been closed this week. Hopefully things will start moving again this week and we'll hear something soon. We aren't holding our breathe though. Since I didn't have any pictures related to the adoption, I thought I'd post one of my nephew Hunter playing on a tractor outside Great Grandpa Morris' house. It didn't matter to Hunter that it was only about 20 degrees outside that day. I've never seen a kid so obsessed with tractors.