GUATEMALA CITY — International adoptions will resume in Guatemala this June after a nearly two-year suspension prompted by the discovery that some babies were being sold, officials announced Wednesday.
Four foreign adoption organizations will be selected to be part of the pilot program, said the president of the National Adoptions Council, Elizabeth Hernandez.
Until the door to adoptions slammed shut in 2007, Guatemala was the world's second-largest source of babies to the United States after China due to its routinely quick adoption process.
Authorities suspended adoptions after discovering evidence some babies had been stolen, others had fake birth certificates, and women were being coerced to give up their children.
At least 25 cases resulted in criminal charges against doctors, lawyers, mothers and civil registrars.
As a result, thousands of adoptive parents, most from the U.S., were forced to put their adoptions of Guatemalan children on hold — many after paying thousands of dollars.
Last year, the National Adoptions Council began requiring birth mothers to personally verify they still wanted to give up their children.
Nearly 1,000 of 3,032 cases investigated were dismissed, however, because no birth mother showed up. Prosecutors suspect many of the babies in those cases never existed — that Guatemalan baby brokers registered false identities with the council in hopes of matching them later to babies obtained through fraud.
There will be a significant difference between the old and new systems.
Previously, potential adoptive parents requested children with certain characteristics. Now, the National Adoptions Council will simply present a list of children who are eligible for adoption and ask that its foreign counterparts find families who would be best suited for them.http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jTqbMxI6dXX6mBQdiP7karrj066QD9EGKH501
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