In 2007, Guatemala suspended adoptions amid allegations of fraud and deceit, and left dozens of U.S. families who had already been matched with children in limbo. While the decree is not expected to solve all adoptions that were halted, there are 44 children who will immediately fall under the decree. Another almost 400 families though are still left hanging.
When Guatemalan adoptions were suspended, there were approximately 900 families whose cases were left unresolved. During the lengthy wait since 2007, approximately 500 of the original families opted to end the process, so the numbers have dwindled greatly during the suspension.
Guatemala was once a very popular country for international adoptions by U.S. families. But the original program had little government oversight and was primarily handled in the private sector by lawyers. Guatemala has been working on a new program, that would have oversight by the government, but it has yet to really gain any momentum.
The current decree will remain in effect for one year. The U.S. State department is sending representatives to Guatemala to consult on the decree and try to bring resolution to all pending cases.