Friday, August 03, 2007

Guatemalan Adoptions to Require Two DNA Tests

Guatemalan Adoptions Face More Scrutiny
GUATEMALA CITY, Guatemala (AP) - The United States will begin requiring a second DNA test next week for adoptions from Guatemala, amid growing concerns about a system that sends thousands of babies overseas each year.

Starting Aug. 6, the second test will be mandatory ``to verify that the adopted child for whom an immigrant visa is being requested is the same child matched at the beginning of the adoption process with the birth parent,'' the U.S. Embassy said Thursday in a news release.

Currently a DNA test is required only at the beginning of the adoption.

The State Department said in March it no longer recommends that Americans adopt children from Guatemala, saying birth mothers are frequently pressured to sell their babies, and adoptive parents targeted by extortionists.

Under Guatemalan law, unregulated notaries act as baby brokers who recruit birth mothers, handle all the paperwork and complete adoptions in less than half the time it can take in other countries.

U.S. parents adopted more than 4,000 babies from Guatemala last year, second only to China.

In May the Guatemalan Congress ratified the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions, which could sharply reduce that number. The treaty requires that governments regulate the practice to ensure babies have not been bought or stolen.


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