Lawmakers warn Guatemala over adoptions

A bipartisan group of House and Senate members is warning Guatemala it risks a cut in military aid if it doesn't quickly allow dozens of children to be adopted by American families.

In a letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Luis Fernando Carrera Castro released Wednesday, 34 U.S. lawmakers put the country on notice that delays in the adoption process have become a “growing irritant” between the two countries. They point out that a pending spending bill conditions military aid to a “swift resolution” of adoption cases.

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“The Guatemalan children and American adoptive parents involved in these transition cases have waited far too long and have suffered far too much,” the lawmakers wrote. “We know that you share our concern over the fate of these vulnerable children and look forward to your direct engagement in resolving this issue expeditiously.”

According to the letter, 68 adoption cases remain unresolved, with many of them lingering in the courts for almost six years. The lawmakers say they're not convinced by Guatemalan government's promise to resolve them by year's end.

“We are reminded that similar promises made on six prior occasions were not kept,” they wrote, pointing out that many court hearings have yet to be scheduled.

“These delays are very troubling,” they wrote, “and we urge the Government of Guatemala, and the Guatemalan judiciary in particular, to prioritize the completion of these cases for the benefit of the children.”

The letter was spearheaded by Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the co-chairmen of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption. They are both parents of adopted children themselves.

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