Children Available for Adoption in Guatemala / Children Available for Adoption in Guatemala

Guatemala Adoption Children Available for Adoption

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

Both boys and girls are available for adoption from Guatemala with ages ranging from a few months old to teenagers.  The children are generally available because of abandonment or relinquishment by the birth parents

Who Are The Children Available for Adoption in Guatemala?

The children that are available for an international adoption are both males and females, ranging in age from several weeks old to teenagers. The age of the child at the time of referral will vary greatly and the child can be as young as a few weeks old. Older and special needs children are also available for adoption.

Generally, regarding the time for referral, boys are often referred more quickly, while there can be a longer wait for little girls.  Most children are adopted at approximately 5-12 months of age. A child referral usually happens about three to six months after your dossier is received, but can happen as soon as your INS approval is received.

As for their health, Guatemalan children are generally healthy. However, as with adoption from any foreign country, there are several potential health issues that adopting parents should be aware of, such as low birth weight, lack of prenatal care, malnutrition, developmental delays, bonding issues, and the possible effect of institutionalization on the child if they have time in a orphanage.

In general, the easiest way to understand the type of child/children that become available for adoption in Guatemala is to realize that the child/children become available by way of two different processes.  The first is called "abandonment" and the second is "relinquishment". 

An abandonment adoption occurs when a child has been abandoned by his/her biological family or when parental rights have been terminated by the Guatemalan government due to neglect, abuse or some other circumstances. In these situations, the Guatemalan government, usually a judge, determines whether the child truly is abandoned. Upon finding the child has truly been abandoned, the government representative or the judge issues a Certificate of Abandonment (COA).  After this certificate has been issued a child/children can be referred for adoption, but, if a biological relative expresses some interest in taking care of the child, and is deemed able to do so by the government, the abandonment process will not go forward, and the child/children will be placed with the biological relative.  ( It is also important to note, that in some cases even if the relative/relatives who have stepped forward are determined to be unable to raise the children, the government or judge may make a decision not to issue a COA.)  If a COA is issued, and the child is going to be available for adoption, the child is then placed, or returned to, an orphanage.  Usually this is the orphanage from which the adoption proceeds, but sometimes the child is transferred to an orphanage that handles adoptions.  Once a COA has been issued, an abandonment adoption proceeds through similar steps as a relinquishment adoption.  Since the abandonment process can take from 6 months to more than two years, most adopting persons who are interested in a young child, end up proceeding with a child whose has been relinquished rather than abandoned. 

Relinquishment is the most common form of adoption to the U.S. from Guatemala.   In this process, a birth mother decides that she wishes to relinquish her child for adoption, and signs the child's care over to a lawyer. Some birth mothers decide this during pregnancy; others may not decide on this until they have cared for their child for some time. Adoptions involving a relinquishment are a private legal matter between the birth mother and the adoptive family assisted by a Guatemalan attorney.  These adoptions are subjected to approval by the Guatemalan courts and governmental agencies including the Guatemalan Family Court, the PGN (the Guatemalan Attorney General's office), and by the U.S. Embassy and Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS). In this process the birth mother must remain in contact with the attorney through the entire adoption process, signing off multiple times, including at the end of the process. Her consent can be withdrawn at any of these points, and this does happen, but rarely.  A relinquishment can turn into an abandonment adoption if the birth mother dies or disappears during the process, but this is an unusual occurrence.