Friday, May 20, 2011

An Open Letter from Norma Cruz to Senator Mary Landrieu

The following letter was provided to PEAR for publication at large. It follows up CICIG's request for clarification from Senator Landrieu on her comments questioning the legitimacy of the CICIG report Players Involved in the Illegal Adoption Process in Guatemala since the Entry into Force of the Adoption Law referenced in our blog on May 4, 2011 - Senator Landrieu has not yet made a statement clarifying her position on the CICIG report.

Dear Senator Landrieu,

During your short visit at the end of April to Guatemala, your agenda did not include Fundacion Sobrevivientes. As a result, I am writing this letter on behalf of the organization as well as the women of Guatemala who suffer living in the most violent country in the Western Hemisphere. We have the shameful statistic of two deaths of every day as a result of femicide, in addition to countless rapes and alarming rates of domestic violence. All of these social problems fuel human trafficking. On the issue of human sales, I am writing on behalf of the mothers who have lost their children to human trafficking, including illegal intercountry adoptions. I am currently very concerned about three specific cases—three young girls we know as Karen Abigail, Heidi, and Arlen Scarlett.

Since we share the same opinion that criminals must be prosecuted, especially those who were involved with illegal adoptions from Guatemala, I know that you will be sympathetic to these cases. In regards to progress on that mission, I am happy to report that a notorious adoption attorney, Susana Luarca was just arrested last week for her involvement with the case of Karen Abigail. While this is a good step forward, Luarca’s arrest is just one of many that are necessary to prosecute the criminals involved in the hidden structures of organized crime and adoptions in Guatemala. Given your commitment to justice, I am asking for your assistance in our quest for further criminal hearings. As I am sure that you know, the Government of Guatemala made a formal request to the US Department of Justice (DOJ) for the DNA tests of Karen Abigail, Heidi, and Arlen Scarlett. Their mothers Loyda, Raquel, and Olga ask that you use your influence and passion for ethical adoptions to help move this cause forward. This DNA request, dating back five years now, has yet to receive a satisfactory response from DOJ. We still await test results to legally and officially verify the child abductions and confirm the whereabouts of the girls in the USA.

Further, in the USA, we need a collaborative law enforcement response above and beyond the DNA tests. We have reason to believe that Celebrate Children International (CCI) adoption agency of Florida was involved in the aforementioned illegal adoptions. I assume that you know there are well over a thousand documents related to complaints and other documentation on file with the state of Florida licensing board in regards to this agency (CCI). As we say in Guatemala, there is a “mountain” of evidence indicating this agency’s poor practices and illegal activities taking place in my country. Another agency is Felicity Children in Miami and we suspect, like CCI, that this agency was also involved in illegal adoptions. Finally, others who must be investigated include social worker Elizabeth Thomas-Colwell who was formerly a licensed social worker (LCSW) in the state of Illinois. Again we have reason to believe that she was involved poor practices and potentially illegal adoptions.

Finally, as you know, the UN Commission on Impunity has been an incredibly important organization in Guatemala as we struggle for justice and fight against organized crime. Their December 2010 report on adoptions from Guatemala, including an extensive review of records and sampling of cases, was an important landmark in moving forward in the prosecutions of those involved in illegal adoptions. I understand that you are not in agreement with their findings. I am sure that you know that the Commission has asked for a response from you in regards to your recent comments. As I stand by the integrity of the research and the report itself, I too am requesting a formal response from you so that you may clarify your position. Please see the English version of the report at and the follow-up request for a response at

In closing, we anticipate another hunger protest on behalf of the three mothers and their daughters. We hope that you will join us in solidarity, at least in spirit. If you want to know more about our 2009 hunger protest, please see:

I appreciate your response to this open letter.


Norma Cruz
2008 “Woman of Courage” Recipient awarded by the US Department of State

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

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