Associated Links

Our work
Reader responses to
    our work

Research sources
In related news
Country by country:
    reports from around
    the world

Site map: adoption

Our work:

Corruption in international adoptions

NEW "Finding Fernanda"

Adoption Illegalities in Guatemala

"The Makeni Children,"August 9, 2011,

Guatemalan Court Revokes Passport, Asks for Return of Adopted Child "Karen Abigail"

Orphaned or Stolen?
The U.S. State Dept.
  investigates adoption
  from Nepal, 2006-2008

 "Anatomy of an Adoption Crisis,", September 12, 2010

"The Baby Business," Democracy Journal, Summer 2010

"The Lie We Love," Foreign Policy magazine, Nov./Dec. 2008




Reader responses
to our work:

Research sources:

In related news

Country by country: adoption corruption reports from around the world:

Student Research Assistants' Contributions

Photo of Guatemala
© Raymond Gregory

Anyelí Liseth Hernández Rodríguez, kidnapped November 3, 2006

Anyelí Liseth Hernández Rodríguez, kidnapped
November 3, 2006

Guatemalan Court Revokes
  Passport, Asks for Return
  of Adopted Child
  "Karen Abigail"

 By Erin Siegal, Fellow, Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University 

Unprecedented news from Guatemala: A Guatemalan court has ordered La Procuraduría General de la Nación (PGN, or Attorney General's Office) and the Ministry of External Relations to work with the U.S. Embassy to "locate and retrieve" a child adopted to Timothy and Jennifer Monahan of Missouri in 2007 under the fraudulent name "Karen Abigail López García." The court, Juzgado Constituido en Tribunal de Amparo, also ruled for the girl's passport to be annulled and for her birth certificate to be cancelled, based on the fact that the identity of "Karen Abigail" seems to have been created for the sole purpose of facilitating an illegal adoption. The judge, Angelica Noemi Tellez Hernández, also issued the following orders for the adoptive parents:

"... los señores Timothy James Monahan y Jennifer Lyn Vanhorn Monahan, para cual se les fija el plaze de dos meses, contados a partir de que se encuentre firme la presente sentencia y debiendo tomar en cuenta el interes superior de la niña, bajo apercibimiento de que en case de incumplimiento, se les impondra una multa de tres mil Q, sin perjucio de las demas responsabilidades en que pudieron incurrir; y se ordenara la localizacion de la nina por medio de la Policia Internacional- INTERPOL."

Basically, she's given the Monahans a deadline of two months to respond, counting down from the date of the ruling, July 29, 2011. If they don't cooperate, a fine of 3,000 Quetzales (about $389) will be imposed, and the Guatemalan authorities will "order the location of the girl through the International Police, INTERPOL."

Read the rest of this article and Siegal's exclusive documentation at

Erin Siegal is an investigative journalist and author of the forthcoming book (Cathexis Press, October 2011) Finding Fernanda, a dramatic cross-border tale of two mothers—one in Guatemala, the other in the United States—that shines a light on pervasive corruption in international adoption.

NOTE: This page from the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism website offers documentation of and background about serious irregularities in international adoption. For the systemic analysis of corruption in international adoption, please read “The Lie We Love,” Foreign Policy magazine, Nov./Dec. 2008, and visit our webpages dedicated to international adoption. For ideas about fairer policy solutions, please read “The Baby Business,” Democracy Journal, Summer 2010.

© 2008-2012 Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, 02454. All rights reserved.

Last page update: March 8, 2012