Good Comment: Mott, on child abduction and trafficking in Guatemala

Mott tells a story in the comment thread on Adoption and corruption: human trafficking busts in Guatemala.
For those of you (and I count a couple among the posters here) who appear willing to condone or turn a blind eye to human trafficking in the name of some “higher good,” allow me to share a story which, in a sense, may put the proverbial shoe on the other foot. For this could have happened to you.

It is a story that my wife and I have told practically no one. At first, in the wake of the incident, because it was too horrible and unsettling to talk about, and, much later, because the horror had thankfully receded into the distant past. But it definitely happened, and it definitely colors my views today on Guatemalan adoptions.

I am an American. Back in the 1980s I worked for several years in Guatemala as a development worker with a well-known NGO with projects all over the country, though I was based in the capital city. In 1984 my Guatemalan wife and I were blessed with a beautiful baby girl (biological offspring).

Like many people in my line of work we had a paid housekeeper. One day when our little girl was maybe seven months old our housekeeper had to walk down the street about five short blocks to get some small sundry, like milk or something, at a little store there. She asked my wife for permission to take the baby with her, and my wife said of course. (You must understand that we trusted our wonderful indigenous housekeeper implicitly, and besides, Zone 10 of the city was far more tranquil back then, notwithstanding the war in the countryside.) As for me, I was at work 15 blocks away in the office.

Scarcely a block from the little store, the housekeeper carrying our daughter swaddled in a colorful peraje was accosted by a microbus which sped up to her from behind and cut her off. Inside (I am told) was a male driver and 4-5 “well-dressed women.” (Bear in mind, this is our housekeeper’s account.) Through an open window of the microbus a woman deftly squirted the contents of what looked like a large syringe into our baby daughter’s face. Not injected, but squirted through the air. And indeed, it appeared this would have been an abduction, had not something miraculous and ironic happened in that instant. An army jeep with 3-4 soldiers came around another nearby corner and stopped in front of the tienda! They did nothing, really, except that one or two of them went into the tienda to buy something -- but the mere sight of them on this very tranquil street must have spooked the people in the microbus, for they suddenly sped off as quickly as they had approached.

Our housekeeper came back home in a panic with our baby. Police were called, and about three of them showed up very quickly in a patrol car, including one female officer who took down our report. I had just arrived home from work, and was quickly apprised of the situation. Our baby, swaddled and deeply asleep in the same peraje, smelled vaguely of rotten eggs, and both the housekeeper and the police officer said that was from the liquid they had squirted in her face – evidently some sort of chemical with a tranquilizing effect. The police had evidently seen or heard of this before; in fact, they seemed unsurprised by any of the details recounted to them.

Well, the moment passed, and we eventually all returned to normalcy. We’ve been back in the States for many years now (except for the housekeeper, of course). Our little girl is fully grown, graduated from college, and on her own now working at a wonderful job in DC. But we might well have lost her forever, and there is not a shadow of doubt that our daughter might have become one more statistic in the horrible saga of human trafficking and illegal adoptions.

Folks, there is NO PRINCIPLED MORAL DISTINCTION that can be made between kidnapping for adoption or selling a child for adoption. It is human trafficking, and it is wrong. If a child is sold, it doesn't matter if you are the seller or the buyer, and if the latter, it matters not a whit whether you paid the cash yourself or paid someone else to pay the cash.

Moreover, I agree wholeheartedly with the poster here who noted that those who adopt because they want to “save” a child should really consider how many more children they could save by devoting the same resources to vitally needed community development efforts in the country where the children live.



  1. Microbuses full of well-dressed abductors were randomly targeting infants in one of the city’s better neighborhoods? It seems like a risky, and unlikely plan, far riskier than just paying some poor desperate mother some money for her infant. Any outside verification that this is a bona fide story?

    But I shouldn’t let my skeptical nature get in the way of a good yarn.

  2. While I cannot imagine how a potential kidnapping could affect a parent, you did say that this occurred many years ago.

    Things are different now. There are multiple DNA tests and the US Embassy monitors and regulates the adoption process. In fact, if biological parents were required to go through all that adoptive parents go through, there’d be fewer unwanted kids on this earth.

    From my experience, it would be virtually impossible to get a child a visa to exit the country without a legitimate adoption. There are way too many checks in place…with both the Guatemala and US gov’t.

    You speak of adoption as if is not a good thing. Yet you claim to have lived there for quite a while…were you blind to the children who live in the garbage dumps or are put out on the streets to fend for themselves? Is your wife not Guatemalan? She must still have contact with others there and know of the way that women are repressed, left without jobs and unable to afford for the care of their children.

    Do you think it an easy decision for a woman to place her child into adopttion? These birthmothers do so because they know that they have so little to offer their child. In many cases, they simply lack the means to feed yet another child. Just becasue these birthmothers lack proper legal identification does not make them criminals for placing their children up for adoption. Nor does it make the folks whose job it is to process the paperwork for adoptions, or even the Director of a orphanage, a criminal or guilty of child traffiking.

  3. I would much rather see people adopt foster children in the states than spend anything adopting anyone from anywhere. In my home state of Oregon, there are typically 4000 children available for adoption at any given time… The state not only pays the adoption fees and the home study, they will also pay monthly support and health care if needed. I don’t understand why people think they need to go to a third world country to adopt in order to feel like they are doing something good for a child.

  4. Let’s deconstruct ME’s comment.

    Microbuses full of well-dressed abductors were randomly targeting infants in one of the city’s better neighborhoods

    The people who run these businesses make money. They’re well-dressed. Well-fed, healthy infants make for better sales. They appear in better neighborhoods.

    It seems like a risky, and unlikely plan

    Human trafficking is common all over the world. Guatemala is rife with corruption. Do you think that the police and higher-ups aren’t getting their cut?

    Any outside verification that this is a bona fide story

    Casa Quivera and backers have a financial motive for paying trolls to comment in these threads. Using the ‘follow the money’ argument, what’s the motive for this commenter to tell this lie?

  5. @4
    people who are disallowed to adopt in the USA (for good or bad reasons) would provide a market for less careful entities.

    From what I have been told, adoption in the USA is in most cases subject to a filtering of qualifications few could pass.

  6. Speaking of paid trolls, first-time commenter Tisch1017, you certainly have a lot of knowledge on this subject, yet you haven’t mentioned your personal experiences. You also have one of those five-letter-four-digit monikers that has started cropping up so frequently in the last few weeks. Would you care to tell us how you know so much about DNA tests and government policies on this subject. If you’re legitimate, you should have no problem citing some sources, and I will humbly apologize for my accusations.

  7. I’m a skeptic, but I believe this story. I just feel horribly guilty that I didn’t care too much about the original post, but when it happened to an American parent I was shocked and outraged.

  8. Don’t you wish they had a “Joined On” blurb in our profiles? It would be much easier to tell if someone was a regular reader – if they had only one comment but had been a member for a few months – or one of these paid-per-word marketing trolls.

    As for this general topic, I’m more worried about people buying children for slaves, not for spoiling. There are more slaves bought and sold now, than ever in our history.

    As for this specific post, How horrible! I’m sure it has made your time with her 10 times as sweet.

  9. Why would anyone attempt to pacify a baby during a kidnapping? If anything (I would think) they would use a much stronger sedative on the unsuspecting woman who was carrying the infant. Ths pst rds s f t hd bn hmrrhgd t f bvns ns.

    @Antinous: WTF are you talking about? Tische1017 seems to feel that this story is anti adoption from foreign countries, and what does anecdotal (personal experience) experiences have to do with comments? are all comments supposed to deal with past experiences (rd: ttr mscnstrd tsh)

  10. Spoon does bring up a good point; why would they try and sedate the child and not the woman? Once they had the baby they could do whatever they want (which is pretty terrible thing to have to think about really). So why this baby narcotizing mist spray?

    Can we just focus on the actual horror of what is going on instead of anecdotal evidence from whomever? The facts say enough without a story fictious or not propping them up.

  11. Spoon,

    Perhaps you are unaware, but BB has seen a rash of organized comment campaigns in the last few weeks, particularly in the Tibet threads and the WalMart thread. The original post about this issue has a number of comments from adoptive parents who just happened to come across this within a few hours of it being posted. It’s too fishy to be believable. I call em as I see em. Tisch1017’s comment reads like a prepared propaganda piece.

  12. Sad story, but sure seems like a straw man to me. Tell a grim tale of abduction for profit and thereby cast aspersions on all compensated adoptions. Either that or it’s a badly written summary.

  13. @Antinous
    As a long time reader of boingboing (years), but seldom commenter (you guys usually cover everything!) I can vouch for the DNA process Tische1017 speaks about. Relinquished children are matched twice by DNA with their birthmother. Once when the process begins and again just weeks before it is finalized. The second test was only begun in August 2007. The blood samples are drawn i with the child sitting in the biological mother’s lap, Polaroid photos are taken during this process, and the samples are sent to a U.S. lab via FedEx for testing. The U.S. Embassy will only accept results from certain certified U.S. labs. The U.S. Embassy really scrutinizes these cases, they don’t want to promote baby theft anymore than you. What do they have to gain?

    Now, this is not to say that all adoptions are legit. Just like anywhere where money is involved and laws can be circumvented with bribes, there are inconsistencies. Also, almost everyone involved is making money. This is what needs to change. The problem is that there is just no government money available. There are little to no social services available to these unwanted or orphaned kids. From what I understand, about half of the adoption fees go to pay for the care and boarding of the children during the adoption process. The attorneys and facilitators do this on about US$10/day for everything. I have been to some of these homes, and they are better run and stocked than some of those I have worked in here in the U.S. and and way better than those I have been in around the globe.

    Back to the money (the root of the problems). If it were possible for the Guatemalan government to completely take over child care and the adoption process, it would be a great. They could try to make a slight profit to help provide care for the unwanted and abandoned children that do not get adopted (either in Guat. or internationally). The problem here is that the government has enough trouble functioning in a normal capacity, that it just does not have the resources to take on such a huge organization creation and restructuring. Moreover, many of the adoption attorneys have a lot of power and money to fight changes. Some are altruistic, but many are rooted in money. However, this is no different than any other trade group like the American Medical Association or national teacher unions.

    Additionally, many domestic adoptions in the U.S. contain provisions to provide money for healthcare for the biological mother, often including food. It it just a horse of a different color. Money is money.

    I understand the tendency of getting caught up in the boingboing mindset. Over the years, I often find myself getting trapped in it. Most times it is for the better. But I have family and friends that work in child services both in the U.S. and other countries (not Guatemala), as well as several friends that were adopted and others that are adopting. It is such an emotional issue. The blanket condemnation here does nothing to fix the problems we deal with in worldwide childcare. It only serves to divide and create hurt feelings on both sides. Change needs to happen, attempts to place children should first start in their home country, but I really doubt anyone can be intellectually honest about saying that a child would be better in a institutional setting than in another country with a family. And regardless of what one might say about taking the money spent on adoptions and using it to change the local situation, this is never going to happen. This argument is used every time something like this comes up.

    Back to the point of child abduction, the best way to combat this it through international pressure. The Hague Convention on Inter-country adoption does a lot to address this by providing for standardized rules for all singed nations to abide by. Guatemala and the U.S. are both signatories, and things are expected to change for the better. Additionally, the U.S. Dept. of State really works to investigate each adoption.

    In sum, all of this attention is good. Sunshine will only make the evil participants scramble to their next money making scheme, leaving those that really care to fix the problems. But what is not needed is kneejerk reaction and groupthink, this is not constructive and does nothing to help the children.

    If you are interested (I have no affiliations):

    4 page flowchart of the convoluted Guatemalan adoption process:

    Pro-adoption site, but very critical of the process and pro-reform (from what I can tell)

    U.S. Dept. of State info on the process, including DNA requirements.

  14. @Antinous

    I’m not aware of the detail of Tibet, but Walmart seems to get far more derision then it should (see pen & tellers Bullshit season 5 episode 2 for the only anti anti walmart material I’ve ever seen)

    While I’m sure people can organize and rally for/against subject matter as it appears on a popular website I’m reluctant to believe it’s happening lest some evidence be presented (read: link to a website that is organizing people to post, which should be easy enough with google no?) otherwise people seem like they’re worried about nothing:

    In re-reading your post, my post, and the post of Tisch1017 (without bothering with the original thread) I can kinda see where you’re coming from, but at the same time my initial thought is still there, Tisch1017 is saying adoption from foreign countries isn’t all bad (perhaps 99.99% not bad) and you seem to think they’re a stooge because they wrote something that seems too well thought out? that would be good and dandy with proof, but alas you have no supportive material, you’re just sounding like you need to be medicated… which is ok! you’re probably just new to the interwebs…

  15. Oh, I’m not disagreeing with the info about the DNA. I mentioned it myself in the other thread. That particular comment just didn’t smell right to me.

    Also, the words ‘kneejerk’, groupthink’ and ‘boingboing mindset’ are short roads to hell here. I disagree with almost everybody about almost everything and I’ve never been censored. When requested, I’ll provide citations if I’ve made factual allegations. Philosophy is just opinion and you can take it or leave it.

  16. Antinous

    I disagree with YOU! You usually seem to think along Tak-kun’s opinions, and I usually seem to think along the pair of yours.

  17. @Antinous

    Sorry, I responded prior to reading roye’s post, or even re-reading the original quote from a post. I’m still not sure it’s an organized response, but damn! roye sounds like he/she has an opinion that’s worth something.

    At any rate, I’m sorry to have commented, I should have known this was a contentious issue and not to be publicly commented upon from someone with no real opinion (me). I no longer think you sound like you need to be medicated… well maybe a little bit, but so does roye (this is the internet after all)

  18. A sad & compelling story, until the 2nd to last paragraph. There is a very big distinction between kidnapping someone for adoption, and a parent giving up a child for adoption voluntarily. One is a crime and should be punished harshly. The other is legal, and generally ends with the child in a better situation than with the original parents.

  19. I see what Antinous sees. Of course, I am renown for paranoia. But that of course is how one gets old.
    This is an incredibly loaded, complex, emotional and dangerous issue. Only a fool would take things on first sight.

    (whenever anyone says “cleaners”, for some reason I always first think of Viktor from La Femme Nikita)

  20. Takuan and I may have similar moral outlooks, but when it comes to the particulars, we don’t agree on everything. We might agree that China should get out of Tibet, but I suspect that our views of how to deal with it are almost opposite. There are many issues that come up here on which I don’t have any position at all. If I can’t even come to agreement with myself, how can I groupthink?

  21. @Antinous: This reads like a piece of internet garbage of the “it could happen to you” variety. All it is missing is the “forward this to 20 people in the next 5 minutes or you or someone you love will be abducted (and have lots of bad luck).”

    I don’t think by questioning the validity of this flowery anecdote anyone is taking away anything from terrible nature of human trafficking. If anything, this story minimizes the reality.

    “what’s the motive for this commenter to tell this lie?” Sometimes the benefit is simply a psychological payoff. I mean c’mon, they say “For this could have happened to you.” right in the first paragraph…who talks like that?

    Not saying it’s not real but if it smells like a duck…it’s most likely a duck.

  22. Oh heck, let’s not deconstruct Antinous’ post #5, because it isn’t a proper deconstruction, just a rather shoddy line-by-line reading.

    But I will comment on the last part, since it comes painfully close to libel, insinuating that I am being paid to attack the original post. This is innuendo with no basis in fact. It is, in fact, wholly untrue. Like many things you read on the Internet, there is little one can do to easily verify it one way or another. Caveat lector.

    What is particularly troubling in Antinous’ analyses is that while he uses a singular posting history to question the bona fides of those he disagrees with, that the original story is made by such a lone poster does not arouse his scrutiny. Caveat lector, whether you are sympathetic to the writer or not.

    I don’t believe the story, it sounds like bullshit. I am biased, having several friends who are adoptive parents, some from outside the US. But my skepticism, to repeat myself, is based on Occam’s Razor: why would child brokers go through the risky procedure of a daytime kidnapping in a good neighborhood when there were plenty of defenseless young mothers in poor neighborhoods, with healthy children, who would be much easier to prey upon. Criminals, like the rest of us, like to do things the easy way. It’s easier to victimize the poor and helpless than the rich and powerful.

    It is a hair-raising and well-written story. Perhaps there are elements of truth to it, or the whole thing is true, but just because it is posted on this website, with no profession of critical verification, does not render as factual. There is no way to judge its truthfulness, other than through supposition, based on the presentation.

  23. Me,

    I wasn’t accusing you of being a paid troll. I was just referring to their appearance in another thread. I’m sorry if it read like that.

  24. I find the initial story not incredible.

    I find the tisch1017 post somewhat suspect.

    I have nothing more to base this on than my lie-smelling instincts.

    I do not see anyone else here demonstrating better qualifications.

  25. Is it more noble to save a child from Malawi or China than it is to save a child from the Bronx or starving Appalachia? If you cannot rear, or choose not to rear, your own biological children, improve your own culture’s quality of life for a few desperate children, without disrupting another culture’s children.

    Once all children in the US have happy, non-abusive families and homes (and the foster/adoption system in this country doesn’t suck royally), then I will be right beside you advocating the adoption of foreign children–until then, I find it cruel to split up extended families, no matter how destitute, when you could be championing the improvement of those people’s lives through aid that DOESN’T cripple the local economy, and human rights campaigns.

  26. Well Michel Evanchik, I believe you when you say you are not a paid troll. After reading your blog is clear that you are the more ordinary kind.

    Environmentally Correct Nutjobs

    The Daily Mail has a fine article on women who won’t have children, for fear of the negative environmental impact of a newborn babe.

    Why don’t these people just kill themselves?

    Oh and this one is a real winner:

    The Guilt of Resenting the Handicapped

    I cannot imagine that I am the only person uncomfortable around handicapped people, but I’ve don’t recall ever reading someone else’s reasoning, so here goes my own.

    Handicapped people make me uncomfortable. It’s not so much that their handicap itself makes me uncomfortable, but I am unpleasantly perplexed as to my own uncertain social obligations in regard to their handicaps.

    Yeah, you’re just oozing human kindness aren’t you? Ya know, if it’s all the same to you. I would rather you just didn’t comment on issues requiring empathy or compassion. It doesn’t appear to be one of your strong points.

  27. Whoa, Noen. You’re Kick-Ass Research Chick 2008. Now I’m almost sorry that I apologized to him.

  28. Folks, there is NO PRINCIPLED MORAL DISTINCTION that can be made between kidnapping for adoption or selling a child for adoption. It is human trafficking, and it is wrong.

    Perhaps, it is only that I don’t care to have my moral subjectivism dictated to that makes me want to throw a wrench in some of this. Of course, human trafficking is indefensible, but adoption is a second-level concern that often includes desperate couples and practices that aren’t well attended by the State, like the foster system in most US localities. I’m wary of easy condemnation. Ignorance may not provide exemption, but there ARE people out there who adopt from places like China, who would be profiting on a cultural predisposition, who do not fit neatly into this description.

    Potential parents taking their kids from “disputed areas,” however, has always struck me as odd and selfish (I might even throw Madonna and Malawi under this bus). I guess I’m just free-associating a bit. Kidnapping = wrong; slavery = wrong; human trafficking = wrong, but without saying anything is right, how are certain adoptees to know their own origins, or parents to inquire, even if they’re being responsible? We intentionally obfuscate records in this country, so how is the individual citizen to know or understand how other countries might do the same? In short, what system is proposed to prevent these egregious errors?

  29. noen,

    Too bad it’s not up to you where and when I comment, ha ha. I’m sorry that you didn’t mention my Michael Vick story. That one would have had you apoplectic.

    and thanks, for the links. I’m told by people on this comment thread that some people pay for the service. My server logs tell me that it would be money poorly spent.

    Though really, I think Mott’s defenders are thin on material if you have to go this off-topic to defend him.

    It’d be nice of Mott to comment on this whole matter. Not likely to happen if the incident is fictional.

    Only commenting because I’m being personally attacked, otherwise I agree with everyone that this is getting boring.

  30. Good post. And that’s why if I lived in a town with cameras everywhere I would feel better, especially if I had young children.

  31. I must say I feel a little self-conscious now that my personal story which I wrote in response to a related thread on Casa Quivira seems to have become a feature topic in its own right. Be that as it may, all I can say is the story is indeed true. I don’t mind the detractors and skeptics, as I suppose that simply comes with the territory in this medium. In other venues I am often a skeptic, too. To the skeptics, I truly wish I could offer you something in the way of verification or independent corroboration, but I cannot. All you have is my word.

    I myself cannot fully explain certain details in my story, like the strange liquid squirted in my daughter’s direction. There is just so much in life we cannot fully explain.

    Then again, let’s suppose, just for the sake of argument, that I AM a fabricator, a liar, a charlatan. You may conclude, then, that this incident never happened to this American. But alas, there is still an overwhelming body of evidence to show that this incident, or something like it, has happened to hundreds of Guatemalan families. If you can read Spanish, then take a look at this article from Guatemala’s most prestigious newspaper:

    I am sorry I cannot quickly produce a comparable article in English, but the point is nonetheless clear: What almost happened to us in 1985 (whether you believe it or not) is still happening today to others. Indeed, would it have to happen to an American family in order to command your empathy??

    Let’s face the facts and deal with them. Adoption is good; human trafficking is evil. Sometimes (not always, mind you, but SOMETIMES) human trafficking can be the source of adoptable babies. When that happens, then the adoption process itself is tainted.

    About those highly touted “controls” in modern adoption processes: in the final analysis, I fear there are no “controls” so “strict” — in Guatemala, in our Embassy there, or anywhere else in the world — that cannot be circumvented by clever entrepreneurs.

    Incidentally, I completely stand by my comment earlier that NO PRINCIPLED MORAL DISTINCTION can be made between kidnapping for adoption or selling a child for adoption. If that comment is to be disparaged as mere “moral subjectivism,” then God help us all!

  32. P.S.: Unless I get totally torn apart here (or my ego somehow gets the better of me), I will not add any more comments to this thread. This is an enormously important discussion, I think, but it has also been very time-consuming. I wish everyone well with the decisions they make in life!

  33. …OK, just ONE more thing: If any of you would like some insight into the complex mystery that is Guatemala — child trafficking, politics, and all — check out “The Long Night of White Chickens” by Francisco Goldman. It is fiction, but it is also autobiographical. An incredible read. Goldman is a Guatemalan-American who is (or was) an editor at Harpers.

    Somebody take this keyboard away from me….

  34. Babelfish translation of the page mentioned by Mott above. I believe Mott, I see no reason not to. Certain of his detractors here (one can disagree respectfully of course, I’m not talking about those) are just typical rightwing jerks who seem to get pleasure from what they do. So sad and pathetic.

    Robbery of children, without control in the country

    Network uses false haladoras and documents for adoptions
    By: Leonardo Cereser

    Victory Elizabeth Pedroza Roche and Melvia Siomara Pacheco Go’mez responds questions of journalists, when they hoped to document the origin of the babies. Pedroza was stopped.

    The tentacles of the networks of robbery and sale of children arrive at all the country. According to investigations of the Police, they use “haladoras”, that sometimes remove the infants of poor communities, because the parents not very often denounce the fact.

    Nidia Aguilar of the Cid, defender of the Childhood, the Office of the judge advocate general of the Human rights (PDH), expressed: “the sustracción worries to Us about minors, because they are criminal organizations those that the children of their parents take”.

    It added that the cases are repeated in several places of the country.

    The PDH informed that in the 2006 every month was known 50 cases of sustracción of minors, but this year increased about to one hundred.

    According to investigations, most of the children they would be being used for adoption, and they do not discard that others are used for sexual aims or satanic rites.

    The facts have caused the wrath of the settlers. The last week, a woman died lynched in Camotán, Chiquimula; another one was burned and captured other, accused of robbery of children.

    The neighbors of Chiquimula responded of that form to the murder of Dawn Michelle Spain, that today would turn 8 years, and appeared dead Friday 15 of June.

    Thursday just past, a boy was snatched violently of the arms of its mother, in zone 2, and another baby, of 40 days, suffered an equal fate in Zacapa.

    Alexander Takings, head of the Direction of Criminológicas Investigations (Dinc), said: “cells of the network in all the country Exist. There are haladoras that children look for, but commit illicit to obtain his objective “.

    The Police stopped yesterday two suspicious women, in the commercial center Géminis. The prisoners gave contradictory versions, and one could not demonstrate the origin of the baby who took in arms.

    The Police briefed to Victory Elizabeth Pedroza Roche, of 32 years, not to carry documents of her nor of the boy whom it loaded.

    Melvia Siomara Pacheco Go’mez was left in freedom, because it showed documents of the boy.

    At the place Diaz arrived Marine Dawn Olive, that claimed to be mother of a baby, and that the women before mentioned had given two falsified certificates him, one of San Juan Sacatepéquez and another one of Atescatempa, to give in adoption the boy, and they would pay to him for that reason.

    Last facts

    In recent days, the cases of robberies of children have been observed in diverse sectors of the country.

    Wednesday just past, Telma Sun lost its Jonathan son, of 1 month of born, when two women snatched it, in the colony New City, zone 2.

    Gyronn Gustavo Guevara, of 40 days, was robbed of violent form of the arms of its Octavila mother Guevara Hernandez, by two women, to total light of the day, in the market of Zacapa.

    Two women were rescued Sunday 16 of June last by the Police in Jocotán, Chiquimula, after which a crowd will try to lynch them, by suspicions that they took a robbed girl.

    Thursday 14 of June, Dawn Michelle Spain, of 8 years, that with apparent sexual aims were robbed in Chiquimula, was found dead. According to the Public Ministry, they assassinated it and they ultrajaron. Also denunciations of sales of children are investigated.

    PalePhoenix – Any system where the wealthy purchase the adoption rights to children of the poor is going to get abused. That there are examples one can point to where the system is not abused misses the point entirely. I don’t think it is moral relativism to point out that huge disparities in income levels are going to lead to exploitation.

  35. I agree that MOTT NY’s comment was an extremely valuable contribution to the original Guatemalan adoption thread, and I think that people who are trying to nitpick it for accuracy are ignoring his own acknowledged uncertainties about the situation (for example, pointing out that he only had the housekeeper’s word and no corroboration for certain parts of the story).

    I also think that highlighting selected comments on the front page of BB is a good idea, especially when they make significant contributions to the general knowledge of the readers by offering expert testimony that contradicts the conventional wisdom, correcting common errors, or including informative links. This comment, as good as it is, doesn’t really do any of those things, and I completely understand why some people are raising an eyebrow at its promotion.

    When there is an active and even somewhat heated conversation going on in a particular thread, and the comment singled out for notice is the one that seems to most strongly support the original post rather than one of the equally articulate “dissenting voices,” people are inevitably going to wonder if the intent is to stifle and/or ridicule those voices.

    The original thread included several other powerful, personal and positive stories related to Guatemalan adoption, which are no more or less documented than MOTT NY’s, and offer a divergent perspective from the one already highlighted in Xeni’s original post. Perhaps it would have been more even-handed to include one of those stories as well in this “bump up.”

  36. What about the Tisch1017 post is suspect? Most of it is questions. As for the phrase “Director of an orphanage”, I would imagine that anyone who has adopted a child from a orphanage would use such a term.
    I don’t doubt that child trafficking occurs in the world, but it depends on the country and the adoption agency. The Hague Convention provides a measure of protection for the children involved in intercountry adoption and the State Department *does* have a warning on its site about Guatemala. That does not mean that all countries are in the same boat.

    Guatemala Status of Intercountry Adoptions and the Hague Convention

    June 13, 2007

    The U.S. Department of State continues to caution American prospective adoptive parents contemplating adopting children from Guatemala that the U.S. Government cannot recommend adoption from Guatemala at this time because of the ongoing problems in Guatemala’s intercountry adoption process. Although U.S. consular officers currently continue to process adoption immigrant visa cases, each case is now subject to greater scrutiny than in the past and the process may be slower as a result.

    The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) office in Guatemala is taking up to 60 days to review initial documents and up to four business days to review final adoption documents. Please see their notice to the public. The consular section of the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala will generally issue appointment letters the day after USCIS completes its review of the final adoption documents.


    If it looks like I am a propagandist, it is only because I am currently adopting from overseas and so am somewhat familiar with the process.

  37. Please note that the US only recently ratified the Hague Convention and it is not yet in effect although adoption agencies have been working to meet its requirements in advance.

    Only those adoption service providers who have been accredited, temporarily accredited, or approved by either COA or CO will be able to provide adoption services for Hague adoption cases after the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption enters into force for the United States on April 1, 2008

    If you plan to adopt from overseas, make sure the country and agency you choose comply with the treaty.

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