Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Letter to Secretary of State Kerry

The Honorable John F. Kerry 
Secretary of State 
US Department of State 
2201 C Street NW 
Washington, DC 20520                                                                        

February 14, 2013

Dear Secretary Kerry,                                                                                               
This letter comes to you from families throughout the United States. We want to first express our gratitude for your efforts to advocate for our children languishing for years in Guatemala. Unfortunately, our adoptions - all of them 5+ years in process - remained stalled. We desperately need your help to put an end to this humanitarian crisis.

Each of these waiting families initiated the adoptions of their children before the 2008 law was put into effect. The US and Guatemalan governments partnered in the creation of a grandfather clause which allowed in-process cases to be completed under the Ortega Law. Adoptions which should have been completed in months have now turned into years. Instead of raising our children in loving and nurturing homes, they have been forced to suffer in institutions while we have endured endless investigations, abusive birth mother interviews, and countless other human rights violations. Our children have been dragged into court, transferred to new orphanages without thought, ignored, or even worse. There is no due process, no transparency, and no consistency in how the existing laws are applied.

Senator Mary Landrieu has risen through the darkness to shine light on this travesty. She has been a wonderful advocate for the voiceless victims; however, little has changed on the ground in Guatemala. Many Senators, yourself included, have signed Congressional letters about this issue, and even sent personal letters to the President of Guatemala. (Senators Reid, Leahy, McConnell, Cardin, Blunt, Mikulski, Lugar, Durbin, Gillibrand) Courts refuse to rule and most adoptions remain in limbo. (Although a new process has been identified, just 20 families so far have been "identified" and those cases are moving at a glacier pace.) Only 5 children came home in 2012 and not one so far this year.

We have established bonds with these children, spent our life savings on lawyers, foster care, and airfare. We've marched on Washington, lobbied in Guatemalan courts, met with Ministers and Ambassadors, written a million letters to anyone who will listen. We need your help. Your esteemed position as Secretary of State carries a tremendous amount of influence. If it takes a village to raise a child, and it does, then it takes a leader to advocate for them. 
Please be that person.

                             Letters from Members of Congress

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