Guatemala is one of the most popular and least regulated countries in the world of International Adoption. Last year there were estimated to have been 1,500 Guatemalan Children and Babies who have been adopted to live abroad, but the spectre of Illegal Adoptions have been followed the image of Guatemala for years. Stories like mothers being forced to give up their new born children and of a booming private adoption business that has now grown as a multi million pound industry can be seen if you just take one of the cheap flights to Guatemala. One of facts to look into is, that illegal adoptions are taking place and the practice is done by many people. So, "With Overseas adoption, what is in the best interests of the children of Guatemala?" For instance, UNICEF, an important organization is not claiming that all of the overseas adoptions coming out of Guatemala are illegal or abusive, but a new report issued from the organization does highlight the increasing problem of child trafficking. As a background to understand why this problem exist we have to tell that the 36 year civil war ? which ended officially only four years ago ? left a quarter of a million dead or disappeared and one million homeless, half of them children.
Elizabeth Gibbons is the director of UNICEF, and a leading critic of adoption as practised in Guatemala: 'Many, many orphaned children were taken into adoption by military officers ? sent into international adoption. Originally a humanitarian activity, but it became obvious that it had the potential for being a lucrative business. And the higher demand in the West ? the more birth control, more access to abortion ? so you have the problem of a huge demand, therefore a supply must be created.' In the last years there has been a tightening up of controls in many of the major embassies and the Canadian, UK and US embassies now area practising the DNA tests of both the birth mother and the baby to check out that the woman giving the baby up for adoption is the real birth mother. 'But the existence of DNA doesn't in any way tell you whether the mother is agreed in giving up the child or whether she is being forced.
The second concern is that the children who pass the DNA test could be switched and they are not the same ones who go with the adopting parents on the plane and this procedure is not going to be expensive because you just have to take one of the cheap flights to Guatemala and realize that it is easy to do. Finally, the child who is rejected for having a negative DNA result by one of three embassies that offer this test, can then be offered to another embassy with parents of a another nationality.' If the goverment knows about this abuse why it hasn't done anything to stop it. The general believe is that Guatemala is in middle of the chaos, fledgling democracy and emerging from under the shadows of years of Military rule. Guatemala is a difficult place from which to operate from and there doesn't appear to be a Minister in charge of Social Affairs and Adoption so this topic is getting very hard to control.
The Chair of the Commission on the Child and the Family in the Guatemalan Parliament is is a vigorous critic and its system pass the "The Children's Code" to protect the rights of the Child in Guatemala, this institution explains: "We've been working on it for three years now and parliament still hasn't passed it. They say, if we try to regulate adoption in this way we will deny children better opportunities in wealthier countries. There has been terrible resistance to the new law. You know Guatemala is a democracy only in name, not a real democracy". Finally we can say that no one respects the law or the state; everybody just does their own thing. And it's the same with adoptions, the simple way to confirm this is to go there so if you want to do it buy one of the cheap flights to Guatemala and see the problem in real.
Guatemala is a wonderful country, and finding cheap flights to Guatemala is extremely easy. However, situation of childhood there is alarming. Some people prefer to get a Galapagos travel rather than visiting countries like Guatemala, but believe me, it's worth the effort.