The Department of State has received inquiries about the status of anticipated adoption reforms in Guatemala, and the outlook for adoption cases which are currently pending. Whether the Guatemalan government elects to implement the Hague Convention on December 31st or later in the spring of 2008, pending cases would not be affected if, as expected, the final legislation includes a transition provision that allows pending cases to be processed to conclusion under current law. We continue to advise American Citizens not to initiate new adoptions until the Government of Guatemala has completed its implementation of the Hague Convention.

Adoption reform legislation remains under discussion in Guatemala’s Congress. We continue to advocate for a law that complies with the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and that includes transition provisions for cases already filed under the current system of law.

Passage of a new adoption law is only the first step. The next, urgent priority will be for Guatemalan officials to establish a Hague compliant system. Designing and implementing the necessary structural reforms will take time.

The Guatemalan Government has said it will assume its obligations as a Hague Convention member on December 31, 2007, a decision we support, because Guatemala’s children — indeed all parties to an international adoption — deserve the protections afforded by the Convention as soon as possible. When the Hague Convention goes into force for the U.S. in the spring of 2008, both the U.S. and Guatemala must have Hague-compliant adoption procedures in order for new adoption cases to be filed. Thus in the interest of long-term adoptions from Guatemala, responsible, prompt reform of the current law and procedures is critically important. The U.S. is committed to provide assistance and support to the Guatemalan authorities for this task.

SOURCE: U.S. State Department