The Current State of Adoption in Guatemala

The Current State of Adoption in Guatemala

The world of adoptions presents many challenges, especially in a country like Guatemala where child protection and respect for human rights are still progressing. When discussing Guatemalan adoptions, it is essential to understand the context affecting the country and its children.

Adoption by the Numbers

After international adoptions closed in Guatemala, the number of children adopted dropped dramatically. Between 2006 and 2008, nearly 5,000 children were adopted each year. Today, the number of Guatemalan domestic adoptions is approximately 100 annually.

This decline is due to various factors. Previously, countries like the United States, Canada, Belgium, France, and Italy were the most common destinations for Guatemalan children. However, many legal irregularities were exposed within some adoptions, leading to the eventual adoption of the Hague Convention which requires additional safeguards for international adoption. Currently, only Guatemalan nationals can adopt Guatemalan children.

The Difficulties Connecting Children with Families

According to the National Adoption Council (CNA), as of November 2023, only 325 out of 3,600 children in care were eligible for adoption. The lengthy process for parental rights to be terminated and children to be declared adoptable is reflected by the low percentage.

A significant number of children declared adoptable are part of the “priority” group, which includes children with disabilities and those aged 13 to 17. Unfortunately, statistics show that 96% of prospective adoptive parents request healthy children between the ages of 1 and 6. Most children in the desired age group have not completed their legal processes to be declared adoptable.

These statistics reflect the difficulties of this process.

In 2022, there were 103 adoptions, of which 46 were priority cases. By November 2023, 87 adoptions were completed, with 45 being priority cases. These numbers are low, considering the large population of children in care homes. Other factors complicate the children’s experience in this process. For instance, many children’s homes are not validated by the CNA. Additionally, Guatemala is a diverse country with over 20 indigenous Mayan languages, but many adoption processes are conducted in Spanish.

Meeting the Needs of Children

These children’s challenges extend beyond the adoption process. Many children remain in care homes for extended periods, awaiting the completion of their legal processes. The emotional and psychological toll on these children can be significant. They need stable, loving environments where they can thrive and develop.

At Dorie’s Promise, our commitment is to meet this need. We aim to provide not only a safe place for our children but also a place where they feel welcomed and loved. Some of our children stay with us for a short period, while others stay for many years. Every day, we strive to make a positive impact on their lives. Our approach is holistic, addressing their physical, emotional, and educational needs.

We begin by ensuring each child’s health and well-being. When a new child arrives, they undergo a thorough medical examination to identify any immediate health concerns. If necessary, they are placed in quarantine to prevent the spread of contagious diseases. We then develop a personalized therapeutic plan to address their specific needs, including nutrition, dental care, and any required medical treatments.

Our goal is to help each child reach their full potential, not just in health and education, but also in happiness and emotional well-being. Seeing the children’s health improve, their laughter, and their enthusiasm for play are the most rewarding aspects of our work. Each child has immense potential and we are dedicated to helping them achieve it, fostering their growth in a safe, nurturing, and loving environment.

The challenges of Guatemalan adoptions are significant, but with dedicated efforts, we can make a profound difference in the lives of these children. At Dorie’s Promise, we are committed to providing the love and care every child deserves, helping them build a brighter future. Significant changes start with small actions, and we are here to take those steps every day.


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