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Can I Adopt a Child from Guatemala?

At the present time the international adoption program in Guatemala is closed to American families. It is expected that the country will re-open to American families wishing to adopt, but no one can predict when this will occur. Additionally, at this time we are unable to explain in detail what the new international adoption program will involve. The information outlined below relates to the old international adoption program and may change when the international adoption program in Guatemala reopens.

Who can Adopt a Child from Guatemala?

It is possible for both single individuals and couples over the age of 25 to adopt from Guatemala. While single men has been allowed to adopt from Guatemala in the past, it is usually much for difficult for single men to complete an adoption in Guatemala. Couple who have been divorced or who have other children in their home are permitted to adopt a child in Guatemala, and while there are no upper age restrictions for couples or singles who wish to adopt a child from Guatemala, those couples or individuals who have reached the age of 50 or older must be willing to accept a child who is older. Gay and lesbian couples and individuals are prohibited from adopting a Guatemala child, and all single persons who adopt from Guatemala are required to sign a Statement regarding their heterosexuality.

How Long does the Child Adoption Process Take in Guatemala?

It is impossible to tell families exactly how long it will take you to complete an international adoption in Guatemala. The timeframe depends on many factors. Those factors include your level of motivation to complete the paperwork, the sex and age of the child you are requesting to adopt, and Guatemalan and U.S. government backlogs. Typically it takes families and individuals between 7-12 months to complete the international adoption process in Guatemala, but the timeline varies from adoption to adoption. Referrals of Guatemalan children to adoptive families are made after the family or individual has been approved to adopt internationally by the U.S. Government and can happen immediately after approval if a family is willing to accept a boy or several months after referral if the family or individual wants to adopt a girl.

What is the Process Involved in a Guatemala Child Adoption?

There are several major steps for completing an international child adoption in most foreign countries, including Guatemala. The first step in the international adoption process is to apply and be approved by the U.S. government to do an international adoption. In order to do this you will have to decide upon and select the country from you wish to adopt your child. The second step is to select a U.S. adoption agency to assist you with completion of an international child adoption Home Study. The third step is to select an agency to complete the international placement of your child. This agency may also be able to assist you with completion of your home study. The fourth step is to work with your international adoption agency to assemble the critical documents needed to complete an international adoption in Guatemala (this group of documents is referred to as the "dossier"). The final step is to travel to Guatemala to adopt the child.

Please note that there is one step that we have left out of the process outline above. The process we have left out is that of the referral process. The referral process in Guatemala is different from every other country where international adoptions are done. In most countries you must be approved by the U.S. government to complete an international adoption and your dossier must be submitted to the country where you are adopting from before a referral will be made to you. In Guatemala referrals are typically made as soon as you are approved by the U.S. Government to complete an international adoption. This referral typical occurs before your dossier documents are completed and submitted to Guatemala.

Who are the Guatemalan Children Available for Adoption?

Both boys and girls are available for international adoption from Guatemala. The children typically range in age from newborns to teenagers. Families can adopt more than one child at a time from Guatemala. But, unless the children are siblings it can be a very difficult process to coordinate. Sibling groups are sometimes available. Guatemalan children are generally healthy but, as with any child adopted internationally, there are several possible health problems that adopting parents should be aware of. These conditions include such things as low birth weight, problems that come from mothers not receiving proper prenatal care, malnutrition, developmental delays, and bonding issues. Additionally, if children have spent any time in orphanages, there is always the possibility that they will also be affected by institutionalization.

Can We Adopt More than One Child from Guatemala?

Families and individuals are allowed to adopt more than one child at a time from Guatemala. However, unless the children are siblings it can be a very difficult process to coordinate so that the adoptions are completed at the same time.

What Travel is Involved in a Child Adoption from Guatemala?

Legally it is not necessary to travel to Guatemala to complete an international adoption. But our agency believes strongly that no family or individual should adopt a child without first seeing the child. So, to protect the adopting family, we require that our adopting families make at least one trip to Guatemala prior to the completion of the adoption process.

Once a family has accepted a referral, and before their adoption of the child is finalized by the PGN, the adopting family may, if permission of their attorney and the placing agency, travel to Guatemala to see the child whose referral they have accepted. While a trip prior to finalization of the adoption is not required by the Guatemalan or the U.S. government, it is strongly recommended so that you can meet the child before the adoption takes place. Additionally, by making the trip prior to finalization the U.S. government will not require re-adoption of the child in the U.S. courts. Please note that if only one parent travels, and the child is not seen by the other parent, re-adoption in the U.S. court will be required by the U.S. government.

How Much does a Guatemala Child Adoption Cost?

It will cost approximately $25,000 to $36,000, including travel, to adopt a child internationally from Guatemala. Your total expenses will include your registration, application, and Home Study fees. Additionally, there are program fees, agency service fee, dossier fees for notarization, authentication, and certification of documents, INS fees, state criminal, child abuse, and FBI clearances, Guatemala governmental fees, post placement fees, DNA fees and travel fees. Travel fees will vary based on where you live, how often you choose to visit your child in Guatemala, and the time of year when you travel to Guatemala. Every agency is different. So, make sure when you are comparing international adoption agency costs that the services provided are comparable. Additionally, make sure to verify with the Agency's state licensing authority that they are a non-profit agency and are in good standing

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