Guatemala has authorized the first adoption of a Guatemalan child by a U.S. family after a five-year moratorium to investigate alleged corruption and irregularities in the process, officials said Monday.
"The first case in a total of 180 that have been suspended since late 2007 was successfully resolved, and this past weekend a 6-year-old Guatemalan boy went to the United States with the family that adopted him," Rudy Zepeda, spokesman for the National Adoption Council, or CNA, told Efe.
The adoption of little Daniel by Ryan and Jessica Hooker began when the couple found the then-18-month-old at a public orphanage in Guatemala City.
But the process was suspended in December 2007 when Guatemala's new adoption law went into effect.
The legislation was designed to put an end to a multimillion-dollar business promoted by crime rings that took advantage of multiple gaps and omissions in the law and often resorted to the theft of babies for sale to adoptive parents.
On the average, according to official figures, each adoptive family paid corrupt officials and child brokers between $25,000 and $50,000.
"The way has not yet been cleared for international adoptions. What has been done is to reactivate the cases that began before the new law took effect and were suspended as a result of it," Zepada said.
When the new statute was enacted, some 3,032 adoptions were underway, 2,852 of which were resolved according to the previous law once the conditions imposed by the Guatemalan Attorney General's Office were complied with.
At the same time, 180 cases were suspended because "many questions existed" about the origins of the children.
"Ninety-five percent of those cases involved American families. For now, 30 of those cases are moving forward in a positive way and in the coming weeks it's possible they will resolved successfully," Zepeda said.
The reactivation of these cases began last December when the CNA signed an accord with the U.S. State Department to expedite investigations into the children's origins. EFE