I've been meaning to write about the Guatemala 900 political campaign for months. (Information about Guatemala has been missing from this blog for too long!) According to Guatadopt, the most comprehensive source of information about international adoption from Guatemala on the web:
On January 1, 2008 adoptions in Guatemala abruptly changed from a privately run system to government run entity. The 5000 adoptions that were “in process” at the time were “grandfathered” to finish under the laws in which they began. Although the Guatemalan government promised to expeditiously process all of these grandfathered, pre-Hague adoption cases in a timely and reasonable manner, now almost...[three years] later approximately 900 children are still waiting to join their families.
The Guatemala 900 campaign...[was] launched as a voice for these 900 children and asks the governments of the United States and Guatemala to work together to ensure speedy due process for the remaining grandfathered cases.
The refusal of the Guatemala 900 families to give up on the children they'd planned to adopt garnered a 2010 Angels in Adoption Award for Ann and David Roth, a couple active in the organization.
The Guatemala 900's latest action takes aim at UNICEF, believed by many international adoption stakeholders to be actively anti-adoption, despite position statements to the contrary. From the Guatemala 900 press release:
DO NOT contribute to Trick-or-Treat for UNICEF supported by Toys”R”Us this year!
At this point in time, the Guatemala 900 and its vast community of supporters cannot endorse UNICEF’s Halloween drive due to the following:
- While UNICEF is known to be the largest advocate and provider of child welfare worldwide, in reality, its policies and influence in Guatemala and other developing countries have left hundreds of thousands of children without the love and stability of a permanent family.
- UNICEF currently provides financial and technical support to organizations in Guatemala that are actively terminating legal, legitimate adoptions leaving children to languish for years in institutions while loving adoptive families await them.
- UNICEF endorses legislation worldwide that severely restricts a woman’s right to choose an adoption plan for her child as well as her right to privacy.
- UNICEF offers no reasonable interim plan for children who are currently living outside parental permanency and little support for countries like Guatemala to care for the children who would otherwise live secure lives with a loving family.
We need you to do 3 things in the next week leading up to Halloween!
Your actions can help change the futures of thousands of orphaned and abandoned children in Guatemala and millions worldwide, and it won’t cost you a dime (well…maybe a stamp)!
- Notify your social networks, schools and churches immediately. DO NOT accept the status quo and DO NOT donate to UNICEF this Halloween. Give candy instead, kids like it better anyway! Use the attached flyer to help educate your friends, family, and social networks on how UNICEF’s policies deny children around the world the right to a permanent and loving family.
- Email Gerald L. Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys”R”Us, Inc., letting him know you DO NOT accept the status quo. See attached letter for reference. Feel free to personalize. Please also mail a hard copy.
- If you are a waiting Guatemala 900 Family notify your MOCs and press contacts about this campaign and ask them for their support!
Someday I will write the complete story of my own failed adoption of a little girl from India. There, too, UNICEF played a role in sparking and exacerbating the crisis. During the 18 months I spent in Hyderabad trying to pull the adoption through, I met extensively with UNICEF workers. They were good people -- who exhibited a range of opionions about inter-country adoption. I came away from the experience with respect for these individuals, but also with the conviction that UNICEF as an organization is indeed anti-adoption at its core. UNICEF's size and diffusiveness also make it a highly inefficient dispenser of aid. I stopped giving to UNICEF a long time ago.