SPECIAL REGIONAL CONSIDERATIONS - GUATEMALA
SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR CHILDREN ADOPTED FROM GUATEMALA
Before the Adoption
Most Guatemalan children placed with American families reside in foster care prior to adoption. Adoptive parents usually travel to receive their child, but occasionally children may be escorted to the United States. Adoptive parents often meet their child's foster parents. This meeting can be extremely valuable, as it can ease the transition for the child and prepare the adoptive parents for future questions from their child ("who took care of me before I came home?"). Adoptive parents should be forewarned that foster care is not uniformly loving and attentive. As in the United States, foster parents vary in their motivation and ability to care for children. A few private orphanages place children for international adoption as well.
Information on birth families is limited. However, photographs are sometimes available. Birth mothers are commonly described as "domestico" (or maid) in legal documents; many are illiterate. Frequently, the relinquished child is the third or fourth in the family; the older children remain with the parent(s). Although referrals are usually offered within a few days or weeks of birth, legalities usually delay placement of the child for 7-9 months.
From THE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION MEDICINE by Laurie C. Miller. © 2004 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Used by Permission.