Thursday, January 17, 2008

Must read, watch and pray...

By Victoria Corderi, Dateline NBC Correspondent

I witnessed the joy of a successful foreign adoption when my sister came home with a baby boy from Guatemala more than five years ago. Today, my nephew is thriving and my sister is as thrilled as she was when she first held her son in her arms. There are many people who've had similar life-changing experiences. But there is also a dark side to Guatemalan adoption: corruption, lies, forgery, kidnapping, broken hearts. The market is driven by the demand for adoptions from prospective parents in the U.S. And, as so often happens when there is high demand and the potential for a profit, swindlers appear to exploit the system.

Guatemala has been an adoption magnet because the wait for a child is months rather than years. When we traveled to Guatemala City, we saw hotel lobbies brimming with Americans meeting with lawyers and foster mothers and cradling the babies they were in the process of adopting. The sheer numbers of babies and strollers and anxious adoptive parents milling about the hotels and streets made for a surreal sight. At first blush, it seems like a win-win situation: unwanted children escape the dire poverty that plagues much of this country while Americans longing for children are able to fulfill their dreams.

But what if the children up for adoption were taken under false pretenses? Or, if poor, pregnant women are pressured by brokers offering money? And what if the children have been kidnapped outright? These are not rhetorical questions. We learned what happens during our investigation. While we were in Guatemala, we found out about three young girls who'd been kidnapped by a ring that gave them new identities and tried to sell them for adoption. We also tried to go inside the system by posing as a new adoption agency from the United States looking for contacts. We set up meetings with a controversial adoption facilitator whose name kept coming up when we were looking into complaints about unethical operators in Guatemala. What happened in both situations was eye-opening and dramatic.

Dateline's special on adoption in Guatemala airs on NBC Sunday, Jan. 20 at 7pm ET.


Steve & Amy said...

We will be watching the special too!

Bobbi said...

I hate the dark side of the adoption world. What I hate more is having to defend my family to those who question if it was "legit?". I can only hope and pray that this his BM made the choice she did from her heart. That is something I probably will never know.

What I do know is that my son is loved.

I will be watching as well.

Donna said...

Ugh! How can so much happiness and joy stem from so much sadness. We will always strive to honor A&L's birthmother and for us, we hope to meet her one day and find out her "true" story.

We'll be watching!

Marlene said...

Thanks for sharing! I will watch it!

Becca said...

Greta Jo,

I will be watching. I understand that there is a dark side, but I sure do wish the media would say something postive, too! I agree with Bobbi when she says that she is tired of having to defend her family. I am proud of my how my family came to be - I know that's how you feel, too. I want to carry a sign that states, "PROUD Momma to my Beautiful Guatemalan Princesa!" I pray the media would grab hold of a story that also shows the wonderful, powerful side of Guatemalan adoption!

I also pray that one day we can find Ella's birth mother, who is from El Salvador. I would love to hug the woman who I share something so special with! Even if we never do, Ella will know what a wonderful woman Gloria is and how unselfish she is - as well as how much I am sure Gloria thinks of her and loves her.

Thanks for bringing this upcoming special to our attention.