GUATEMALA CITY – A Guatemalan mother who says her child was stolen and later turned over to a U.S. couple for adoption said Tuesday that she will go to a Missouri court seeking to get her daughter back now that the U.S. State Department has said it doesn’t have jurisdiction to help return the girl.
The State Department confirmed Tuesday that it has informed Guatemala’s government that it can’t help return Anyeli Hernandez Rodriguez because the U.S. and Guatemala had not signed the Hague Abduction Convention at the time of the alleged kidnapping in 2006.
“We’re obviously deeply concerned about allegations regarding stolen children and intercountry adoptions wherever these cases come up,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement. “We consider the appropriate venue in the United States for pursuing this case is in the state courts. They’re the competent organ for holding a full hearing on the merits and the best interests of the child.”
A human-rights group that has pursued the case in Guatemala’s courts on behalf of the child’s biological mother, Loyda Rodriguez, said the next step will be to find a U.S. law firm to file a civil suit charging immigration fraud.
The group, the Survivor Foundation, doesn’t allege that the adoptive couple knew anything about the girl being kidnapped. It argues only that the adoption in 2008 wasn’t valid because of the abduction and the girl should be returned to her biological mother.