Great news from Guatemala today!! Now, before I spill the beans let me just say this still needs to be approved by congress. But, this seems to be the most promising news we have heard in awhile!
Here is the posting from Guatadopt.com:
Guatemalan papers are reporting that committees of Congress met yesterday on the adoption law. This was NOT the vote on the ammendments. But based on these reports, Guatemala will postpone implementing the Hague until April 1, 2008 in order to better coincide with the US's likely ratification date. Interestingly, one paper quotes US Consul General John Lowell as saying this is unnecessary. (what is this all about???? shameful, just shameful)
In addition, one paper is reporting that the Ortega Law's effective date will be bumped back to April 1 as well. One story also mentions that one ammendment to be voted on is to permit singles to adopt.
Is that a sigh of relief I hear?
Here is the posting on the JCICS website:
We can now report that members of the Guatemalan Congress, including numerous party chiefs, have submitted a new legislative proposal which:
- Includes a strong ‘grandfather’ clause
- Designates April 30, 2008 as the effective implementation date of the Convention
- Allocates $5 million Quetzales ($650,000 USD) for the creation of the Central Authority
- Allocates a percentage of the total government budget for child welfare services
- Creates a new government entity to act as the Central Authority in Guatemala
- Provides for private non-profit accredited entities to provide services to children
- Allows single potential adoptive parents to apply for adoption
- Creates a functional process by which children can find a permanent, safe and loving family.
The new legislation is scheduled to be introduced to Congress early next week. In line with our mission of advocating for the right of each child to a permanent family, Joint Council will continue to work with our colleagues in Guatemala towards a positive and child centric implementation of the Convention.
So, what does this all mean??? If the implementation date is pushed back to April, then all current adoptions will continue under the current system without any fear of new requirements or a suspension of adoptions. We have been terribly worried and anxious about what will happen if PGN does not approve our case by the end of the year. We will not need to worry about this if the implementation date is postponed. What an incredible relief. Oh my gosh, what an incredible relief.
The JCICS posting sounds like congress will be reviewing and voting on a NEW adoption law proposal as outlined above and it appears to be MUCH better than the current adoption law, called the Ortega Law. Absolutely incredible. One of the newspapers actually quoted a Guatemalan congressman referencing the signed letters from the US congress. Awesome.
Something as simple and easy as writing a letter, sending an e-mail, and making a phone call is making a significant difference in the lives of thousands of children. As usual, we have to wait some more to see how congress votes, but this is VERY, VERY promising.
Now.....if we can just get back into PGN! Several families from our agency were approved by PGN this week and I am sure there are more to come. It appears as if the floodgates have cracked open a bit. We need to get back in so we can ride the wave back out for good!!