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Guatemala Adoption by a Gay Couple

Summary: The story of a committed gay couple and their adoption from Guatemala. Including a great time line that will help any prospective parent - single, gay or married - through the international adoption process.

Our adoption journey first began in April 2001. We evaluated many adoption resources and alternatives, including US adoption, but ultimately decided to pursue international adoption. Continuous research eventually led us to Guatemala as our country of choice. We used a facilitator that has been facilitating international adoptions for nearly 20 years, and has considerable experience in Guatemalan adoptions. Our adoption facilitator also has a coordinator who lives and works with the program in Guatemala City.

We received the referral of our son in June, 2001, and we instantly fell in-love. Immediately we began to assemble our dossier. We were consumed with mountains of paperwork almost overnight. We hired Anne McInnis of the Adoption Resource Center in Memphis, TN to prepare our homestudy. She was wonderful to work with. Anne made us feel very much at ease with the whole process. In addition to the homestudy, we had to obtain numerous reference letters, police clearances, FBI criminal reports, fingerprints, doctors exams, etc. After assembling the necessary documents, each had to be notarized, certified, apostiled, and authenticated at the Guatemalan consulate in Washington DC. We finally submitted our complete dossier to Guatemala near the end of October, 2001.

john-and-billOnce in Guatemala, the entire dossier had to be translated into Spanish before legal proceedings could begin. Unfortunately for us, our dossier arrived just before the 2001 Christmas shutdown in Guatemala, so the entire month of December was lost. Finally, in January we began the process. In Guatemala, the first stage is called Family Court. During Family Court, a Guatemalan social worker is assigned the case and has to conduct interviews of the birthmother and foster mother. Our case completed Family Court around the middle of February 2002, and then proceeded to DNA testing of the birthmother and child. The results of the DNA test were sent to us and the US Embassy in Guatemala City. Included with the DNA paperwork was a poor quality photo of the birthmother. It's a copy of a copy, but it is the only photo of Danny's birthmother we will ever have, so it's very precious to us.

After the embassy released the DNA, the adoption case moved into Procuraduria (PGN). The office of PGN examines each and every document in the file. Frequently, documents are kicked-out of PGN and have to be redone, either by the adoptive family or the Guatemalan attorney. On average, it takes from 3 to 12 weeks to get through this stage. (more...)

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