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Public Statements

Letter to The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State

Boxer Leads Bipartisan Effort to Ensure Fair, Timely Guatemalan Adoptions

Urges State Department to Take Steps to Help Children, Families

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) today led a bipartisan group of 52 Senators and Representatives in writing to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to urge the Department of State to help resolve hundreds of pending adoptions of Guatemalan children by U.S. families.
The text of the letter follows:

September 1, 2009

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton:

As members of the United States Congress, we represent hundreds of families who entered into adoptions of Guatemalan children in good faith and with the sole intent of providing a permanent, loving home to a child in need. Due to recent changes in the adoption laws in Guatemala, these adoptions have stagnated for over 18 months, forcing the children involved to remain in institutions or temporary care. Furthermore, many of these cases have been subjected to requests for new information and additional investigation.

We applaud Guatemala's decision to require that all adoptions meet Hague standards and we share Guatemala's goal to see that all children and their birth parents are protected from exploitation. We also appreciate the State Department's efforts to assist the government of Guatemala in its transition to the Hague and promote a transparent and efficient adoption process.

However, we are concerned that extended and unexplained delays in the processing of these pending adoptions and the subsequent extension of the time these children are spending outside the care of a permanent family may have long-term physical and emotional consequences. In several cases, families have been left without the information they need and deserve to protect their rights under the law.

We believe it is in the best interest of these children for the U.S. government to play an active role in ensuring that their cases are completed in a fair and timely manner. As such, we respectfully request that you take the following steps.

• Direct the Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs to meet personally with Guatemalan officials with the purpose of achieving consensus on a standard process for remaining U.S. cases.

• Direct a senior member of Consular Affairs to engage in regular conference calls and emails with families who have pending adoptions in Guatemala to update them on Embassy efforts to resolve these cases.

We sincerely hope that you will work to ensure that intercountry adoption reform in Guatemala is being carried out in a way that protects the interests of children, birth parents, and adoptive parents alike. We stand ready to assist you in achieving this goal.

Thank you for your consideration of these important requests.

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer John F. Kerry
United States Senator United States Senator

Richard G. Lugar Mary L. Landrieu
United States Senator United States Senator

George V. Voinovich Barbara A. Mikulski
United States Senator United States Senator

Carl Levin Richard Durbin
United States Senator United States Senator

Dianne Feinstein Chuck Grassley
United States Senator United States Senator

Robert P. Casey, Jr. Tim Johnson
United States Senator United States Senator

Sam Brownback John Thune
United States Senator United States Senator

Sherrod Brown Frank R. Lautenberg
United States Senator United States Senator

Benjamin L. Cardin Christopher S. Bond
United States Senator United States Senator

Robert Menendez Pat Roberts
United States Senator United States Senator

Roland W. Burris Debbie Stabenow
United States Senator United States Senator

Tom Harkin Kay Bailey Hutchison
United States Senator United States Senator

Russell D. Feingold Claire McCaskill
United States Senator United States Senator

Amy Klobuchar Kirsten E. Gillibrand
United States Senator United States Senator

Mike Thompson C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Michele Bachmann Ben Chandler
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Jerry McNerney Jerry F. Costello
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Doris O. Matsui Peter Hoekstra
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Geoff Davis Tammy Baldwin
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Daniel Lipinski Jerry Moran
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Zachary T. Space Jane Harman
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Jerrold Nadler Tom Latham
Member of Congress Member of Congress

John A. Yarmuth James P. Moran
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Christopher H. Smith Daniel E. Lungren
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Jack Kingston Dan Burton
Member of Congress Member of Congress

Bart Stupak Scott Murphy
Member of Congress Member of Congress


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