International Adoption Guatemala / International Adoption Guatemala

International Child Adoption from Guatemala

Special Note: Currently the U.S. is Not Processing Guatemalan Adoptions

As of September 12, 2008 the Department of State advises potential adoptive parents and adoption service providers not to initiate new adoptions from Guatemala because the Department cannot process such adoptions from Guatemala to completion at this time.

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention) entered into force with respect to the United States on April 1, 2008.  Effective April 1, 2008, newly initiated intercountry adoptions between the United States and other Convention countries must comply with the Convention’s standards.

Guatemala acceded to the Hague Adoption Convention in March 2003.  While Guatemala passed legislation designed to implement the Convention in Guatemala, it has not yet established the regulations and infrastructure necessary to meet its obligations under the Convention.  As a result, the Department of State cannot issue the documentation required by the Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA) for issuance of an immigrant visa for Convention adoption cases.

Based on the above, our Agency and every adoption agency has temporarily suspended programs in Guatemala.

International Child Adoption from Guatemala

Please note that this material was prepared to help educate you regarding an international adoption of a Guatemalan child.  It is based on many years of experience in the adoption field.   This document represents our best understanding based on information available at the time of its construction, and thus may contain errors or omissions. 

Additionally, there are many issues that may come up in a specific adoption case, and no single explanation can cover all cases.  Please make sure to continue to educate yourself about the Guatemalan adoption process frequently as you proceed.  Also, make sure to always seek legal advice from an attorney and other advice from your adoption agency.

Guatemala has been a source of healthy boys and girls for many years with children coming from either foster care homes or from orphanages run by, or approved by, the Guatemalan government.  In 2002 there were approximately 2,200 adoptions of Guatemalan children by U.S. families and in 2003 there were approximately 2,300.  INS statistics indicate that of the approximately 2,300 children adopted in 2003, the percentage of boys versus girls was about the same, with approximately 75% of them being under the age of 1 year, 20% between ages 1-4 years, and the remainder being over the age of 4 years.

All international adoptions in Guatemala are handled by private attorneys since there is no state-run central adoption authority.  The children in Guatemala are of Hispanic, Mestizo or Spanish/Mayan decent. Both boys and girls are available ranging in age from infant to 14 years of age. The number of children being adopted from Guatemala has steadily increased.  As a result of increased adoptions, there was also an increase in claims of babies being kidnapped from their birth mothers and sold to private attorneys and/or adoption agencies.  Accordingly, many countries (including the U.S.) began mandating that DNA tests be performed to ensure that the woman relinquishing her baby for adoption is in fact the child's birth mother. DNA testing is required in all Guatemalan adoptions.