Hiding Out In

Nicaragua . . lifted from TRN:


What's noteworthy about the article is the absolute lack of any information on the Nicaraguan position regarding the "abbduction". . .It also shows the public nature of emails . . .the long reach of US law; and it's application for "social justice" purposes. All we can hope for is change in November (hope and change, get it :) ?

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Latest Update

Did you know that people are talking about kidnapping children

...with gay parents and "rescuing them" without any parental standing at all.


Suing these people now might stop them from expanding their criminal activities.

Rebecca Brown

An Update

Interesting little video.

I hate it when children become pawns or trophies.

"She and her new wife then sat watching the trial, holding hands, amid Amish-Mennonites who regard homosexual behavior as a sin. . . ."

None of these crazy people have Nicaraguan names.

The kidnapping mom sounded completely nuts from the get go -- religion is just another addiction for her. Pity about the daughter. Sorry about the poor judgment of the woman who entered into a partnership with her.

Much more heartening video here of a Nicaraguan father who accepted his son: http://youtu.be/tQlM3_scnC8

Crazy woman didn't even get along well with other fundamentalists. Folks in the US asked me if I knew any of these people since Jinotega featured prominently. I said I didn't but someone I knew had seen a woman in Mennonite dress who looked American and who wouldn't speak to anyone.

From every reliable study, kids whose adoptive parents are gay don't become gay themselves. Kids whose parents are gay have a higher than average chance of being gay themselves (genetics and womb environment appear to be the determining factors). If the daughter is gay, this is going to be really difficult for her. If she's not, it's also going to be really difficult for her because she's not going to be able to make easy going contacts with other children her age with a nut-bar mother like that.

I respect the Catholics around me and have gone to Purisima because I was invited and they are my neighbors. These kinds of hysterical sectarian religions are really attractive to desperate people who want drastic changes in their lives: the poor, people who find being scorned minorities to be overwhelming.

Me, if I find religious people on my doorstep, "Yo soy agnostica" and if they're Nicaraguan, i.e., fundamentally sensible people who respect divergent viewpoints, they said "Buenos Dias," and are on their way. The crazies from the US will try to argue with me or lie about why they've shown up on my stoop.

Rebecca Brown


Nicaragua acceded to the Hague Convention per Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (October 25, 1980) in late 2000; and, Nicaragua is also a party to the Inter-American Convention on the International Return of Children (July 15, 1989). Conventions such as these are intended to preserve the legal setting/decision that was in place just prior to changing borders; parental custody is never the focus, the proper legal venue, where the case should be heard, is the sole concern. It is unclear the country would/could have a position other than that defined by the U.S. Court, especially since none of the parents, grandparents, or the child, is tied to Nicaragua. The case might not show email is public; in many cases there is more than one recipient of the email, and so unless something binds each recipient to secrecy, revealing it isn't necessarily the same as it being public. It also might not demonstrate the long reach of the U.S. law, per se, given that every signatory country has, in theory, the same "reach". Most countries with funding have an office tied to such work. In the U.S., The State Department's Office of Children's Issues.

While Researching This

I found that US Marshals are regularly retrieving fugitives from Costa Rica and Panama. Panama seems to be a particular magnet, perhaps because of the large community of US ex-pats to blend into.

I'm not trying to minimize the problem of parental abduction, and its devastating effect on the children involved. I just noticed that no Nicaraguan source was interviewed for the NYT article, especially noteworthy since the child had been in Nicaragua for so long. While the non-biological yet custodial parent clearly has the weight of the law on her side, the case does raise some interesting issues.

The child has become a football in a larger struggle between the traditional view of what constitutes a family, the definition of "mother", and the potent LGTG lobby. They have a big dog in this fight, as it speaks to their legitimacy as parents. Arguments can be made for either side; and practical considerations probably trump the issue. Terminating a gay partner's right would bring down a firestorm of political correctness (even without any biological connection to the child); terminating the biological mother's parental connection is politically much easier despite the recognized mother-child bond.

I just hope the child is enjoying her childhood and getting a good education. I suspect that she is . . .

I think my deeper inference was that it would be difficult for the child to remain hidden in Nicaragua without the sympathy of the Nicaraguan authorities. At some point (perhaps at 12 years of age) the child will have sufficient standing to speak to the court as to her own preference, and this would be a huge blow to her "other mother" and her supporters.

Honestly, the Nicaraguans are swamped

...with having to deal with kids whose mothers left them at the hospital, of trying to find places for these children in Nicaraguan society. What is or isn't happening with a Gringa with her biological child probably just isn't high on their agenda of things to deal with. She's not a Nicaraguan, not in the country legally, I'd imagine, but they do have more serious problems to deal with: abandoned Nicaraguan babies (two in one day here at least once), child abuse, sexual tourists preying on underaged Nicaraguans. The US Courts have terminated her parental rights -- what happens in Nicaragua is a technicality, frankly.

Crazy mothers can be very bad for children, or they can actually, despite their craziness, be fairly decent mothers. They are rarely very good mothers.

This woman left her pets to die of starvation rather than either kill them or dump them in a pet store hamster display (I can see not giving them to the neighbors because she didn't want to telegraph her moves, but I suspect that she could have figured out something that was better than letting them starve to death if she'd been rational and a reasonably compassionate human being).

The birth mom is still gay or has a very serious mental disorder. The Catholics and Muslims don't try to convert gays to heterosexuality; they simply ask them to be celibate. That doesn't always work, either, but it's a more sophisticated and compassionate view of humans than the "God will make you straight" which leads to rather amazing heartbreak for all parties concerned. One of the guys who died in 9/11 was an out Catholic priest who was celibate, honored his vows.

(I do accept that religion isn't always simply irrational escapism from our mortality and attempts to make other people the bad to their good).

A lot of people's suggestions and theories about Nicaragua seem to miss that it is a very poor country and some uses of its resources are more important than others. As it becomes more prosperous, it will enforce more of the laws on the books.

Even richer countries have budgets. A friend of mine in Canada had some guy in Boston try to frame him for something my Canadian friend didn't do -- and the cops in Canada told my friend that they had had a complicated murder case recently and they didn't have the financial resources to pursue his case (and I knew the other guy, too, who was mentally ill and often highly suggestible -- apparently other people put him up to it). So, if lack of funds was why something wasn't pursued internationally by Canadian police, I'm not surprised that Nicaraguans have more desperate needs for their resources than getting involved in this drama.

As for the court's decision, it's gone from being pro-birth mother to being pro-non-absconding parent. There's another recent ruling that gave a brain-injured woman's partner custody of her over the family's wish to keep the partner away. The woman has the intelligence now of a six year old but made it obvious that she wants to be with her partner. She is now with her partner.

This case was decided in favor of the non-absconding parent. It doesn't really matter whether the kidnapper is ever brought to justice or raises the child, or kills herself and the child (anyone who lets her pets die of starvation is capable of anything).

The LGBT populaton is at the most, probably 5-7% of the population. It has any clout at all because other people don't like seeing their aunts and uncles or even distant cousins treated so badly.

The Cuban kid who spoke out recently about being glad to be returned to his father in Cuba when his mom and then her family kidnapped him to Miami, who got the best education Cuba could offer, and who is joining the Cuban military when he finishes school is about as much a blow to US's embargo of Cuba as this will be to gay rights if the kid comes forward and asks for religious asylum in Nicaragua. I think everyone understands that the Cuban kid has received a sub-set of all possible information and the girl, if she comes forward, will have been equally given only the information her mom wants her to have.

Courts ruled. Actually possession of the child is not all *that* important except to the woman who misses her daughter (but should have never gotten involved with someone that crazy -- not that I don't know straight people who avoided the same mistake).

Rebecca Brown

Way to Go....Key West

Can you consider the keyboard equivalent of "Measure Twice and Cut Once" next time...

Um, I'm probably better at that than he is

...and I'm not that good.

Rebecca Brown


Although the Marshals Service handles international enforcement, the number of warrants/cases per year is pretty small compared to the press coverage these cases tend to generate. An average year sees maybe 2 cases per day, worldwide, so this is total extraditions/deportations spread across 75 or more countries (going out of, and coming into, the U.S.). In many cases, Interpol & Crime Stoppers International are supported by the Embassy (U.S. Diplomatic Security Service) and the U.S. Marshals – both of whom have provided training to in-country authorities in Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala. Many warrants are tied to financial crimes where the person sought heads for a country with lax immigration standards but with decent banking setups, and their new banking and financial dealings are what eventually lead authorities to them.

I Didn't Know

that there was such a large number of unwanted Nicaraguan babies . It's sad, considering how many adoptive parents are going much greater distances for a child. National pride probably stops these children from finding a loving home in Europe or the US.

I stumbled onto Panama-Guide.com looking for information about canal shipping, revenue, transit time, in response to my curiosity about the economic viability of a Nicaraguan canal, and found several posts in a small time frame about fugitive apprehensions. Most of the excitement seems to be in Panama. The site has a 'National Enquirer" look, which I'm ashamed to admit I enjoy.

Crazy might be a little strong for our mother. She admits to depression. I agree that some religious "persuasions" attract a more passionate person than others, but I know a lot of religious people who are pretty normal. If you're raised that way, if it's part of your culture, you probably just go with the flow.

My thread had more to do (I thought) with the Nicaraguan attitude towards the mother and child, than any advocacy of the right or wrong of either side. On the one hand you have the rule of law which is an important component of any civilized society; on the other, the termination of the biological mother's parental rights because she didn't follow the orders of the court.. That seems like an extreme remedy, absent any indication of unfitness on the part of the mother. If the other partner was not a gay woman the whole business would not be particularly newsworthy. If the partner was a non-biological male would he be favored with any such attention? Would he even be granted visitation rights to a child that was not his?

An older British expat woman

...had two women try to give her babies.

The trouble with the foreign adoption business is that the parents in many cases haven't been vetted, and some of the children were out and out stolen. A friend here knew a woman in Guatemala who dealt in Indian babies. She made enough money for a Mercedes from the trade. The US stopped approving Guatemalan adoptions because of the abuses. My Nicaraguan friend has a sister who works with La Familia. He really doesn't want there to be a trade in Nicaraguan babies.

Nicaragua will allow US citizens to adopt if they have gone through the home investigation in the US required for adoptions in their states, filled out a form and have permission from the US government to adopt an unspecified Nicaraguan child. They then take this to Nicaragua, show it to La Familia and see if there's a child who as been surrendered who is up for adoption.

The law says the child must be surrendered to the Nicaraguan government, not to individual people, and the prospective adoptive parent must come to Nicaragua and meet the child, live in Nicaragua caring for the child for a while and pass home visits by La Familia, then go back to the US and apply for the adoption of that particular child.

Exceptions to this appear to be compassionate in cases where the child has been in a family for a while that has an obvious attachment to the child and the child to them. Those children can live indefinitely with the family IN NICARAGUA, but to get the child to the US, the adopting parents have to have the approval from the US government.

The folks on Carretera Masaya don't like being lied to or having a family try to do an end run around the requirements. In an age where international departure and arrivals often are videotaped, a woman trying that one better look pregnant when she lands in Managua if she thinks she can claim she had a very indigenous looking baby while being blonde and not in Nicaragua nine months earlier.

The other way is to agree to live in Nicaragua until the child is 18. Child then does not leave Nicaragua, does not get a US passport. Apparently, Mom gets a cedula as a parent of a Nicaraguan citizen, but I'm not clear on that detail. The US Government says the child can apply for US citizenship and wait in line with all the other Nicaraguans trying to get out of the country, will not have any special standing in applying as the child's relationship with the mother is not official in US eyes.

Until the child gets the exit visa, the child is a Nicaraguan citizen and La Familia seems concerned with the child's interests, not the desire of some couple to have a cute baby from the Third World. People who are committed to a Nicaraguan adoption can adopt a Nicaraguan child if no relatives are willing to raise the child or no Nicaraguan family wants to adopt the child. That proves their dedication and their love, and keeps Nicaraguan children out of the hands of people who think a child would help their unsteady marriage.

So, people have to jump through hoops both with the US government and the Nicaraguan government, but they can adopt.

The reason for the crackdown is so many people were paying fees to the brokers in Guatemala who were in turn passing some of that money to the birth mothers that babies were being stolen from their birth mothers by other women wanting to cash in. Surrender, as witnessed by a friend who was in Guatemala at the time, was indigenous girl shows up with baby and goes upstairs in the hotel. An hour or so later, the European or American couple comes down with a baby dressed in European infant clothes. He's absolutely adamant that such a thing will not happen in Nicaraguan.

I wondered at one point why Americans looking for adoptive children occasionally got beaten to death in Guatemala. Supposedly, it was because the indigenous people thought Americans were buying babies for organ transplants. Perhaps not.

What my Nicaraguan friend told me was that the girls were frequently from very Catholic villages. They got jobs in the cities and the employer or his son knocked them up. Their villages would beat them and reject them if they came home with babies; their employers insisted that they get rid of the babies.

So, they did. And at least one woman who came to an indigenous village looking for a baby to adopt got her head caved in.

The US has put Guatemalan adoptions on hold for now -- and Nicaragua is working with the US to make sure that any Nicaraguan children go to homes that pass US adoption agency inspection as well as La Familia inspection of how they care for the baby here before the US embassy will give the child an entry visa.

People who are sane don't leave their pets to starve to death or join cults.

Rebecca Brown


Nicaraguans aren't the only ones in the loop

The US State Department has a set of requirements to follow before they'll grant an exit visa to the child for the purposes of being adopted and given US citizenship. Must be approved by an adoption agency in their area and apply for a permit to adopt; must then apply for a permit to adopt a named child in Nicaragua.

I'm glad that Nicaragua is making adoption easier --- children do better in families (even single parents) than they do in institutions -- but the US State Department does have its own requirements for naturalization. Last time I looked at the information, Nicaragua followed US law on this or would allow the child to be raised in Nicaragua. The US State Department's position was that children raised by US citizens in Nicaragua weren't any more eligible for US citizenship than anyone else in Nicaragua (possibly isn't that rigid in practice).

Rebecca Brown

Don't be getting mixed up between

Unwanted and Unplanned. As unplanned as some might be, they often get the love of an extended family living very close by.

I am surprised at your surprise given what has been discussed on here here about the draconian abortion law.

I DO Know

about the abortion law in Nicaragua and how it came about. Another betrayal of the revolution, and of the women who fought side by side with the men. At least the Nica women have easy access to contraception.

Is there an opportunity to travel to CR or Honduras for the procedure? I had a conversation with a Nicaraguan about Nica travel to CR last trip, and she indicated that there is no restriction, only the $36 visa was expensive for most Nicas. I've also been told that finding talented Nica craftsman, especially stone, tile and wood, is very difficult because "all the good ones are working in Costa Rica". I saw some excellent work in SJdS, so that can't be completely true.

It's good to know that the extended family is there to care for these children. It's a shame when the children get caught up in the politics. I watched a movie last night "Welcome To Sarajevo" about an attempt to save some babies and younger children from the horrors of the conflict:


14 year old kid delivered in the public toilet at the market

...on July 31st and drowned the newborn in the toilet tank. Her mother apparently was assisting, so family was taking care of things.

I don't think it was so much a betrayal of the Revolution as utter pragmatic politics. Nicaraguan pharmacies can still sell the morning after pill OTC, plus regular birth control pills, and the health services give away condoms, none of these things being approved by the Catholic Church. I've also read that if the mother's life is really in danger, most hospitals will deal with the situation appropriately and keep their mouths shut. The Catholic Church is still powerful here and Ortega apparently decided a Mass was worth a Presidency (see French history). Kids will still get pregnant and panic over having a baby.

In the two years that I've known them, the next door neighbors have had one child. They're doing a good job with her sharing child care. One of the vendors who stops by the house has two children, and doesn't seem to be coming up with more in the same two years. But these are adults.

Rebecca Brown

Don't know if they could persue you legally or not. (CR)

If they wanted to make an example of you, they probably could.

Most leave it too long and the procedure becomes too risky/impossible on health grounds and/or illegal in another country.

We have some personal experience of this situation and after weighing up all options (bearing in mind they are all supposed to be Catholics!)...bottom line is that Maria and I will be grandparents in November.


Maria and I will be grandparents in November.

Now THAT will make you feel viejito!


Congrats to both of you!

"Maybe, just once, someone will call me 'sir' without adding, 'you're making a scene." -Homer J. Simpson

Kinda looking forward to it...

I have lots of time to help take care of her and she will get used to Gato Negro (coffeeshop) noises real quick!!

I do have two up north as well.

Another Reason

to visit El Gato Negro!

That's Fantastic . . .Congratulations

I'm not an abortion fan either, but feel that this question simply has to be decided by the potential mother -and her alone.

If she feels strongly that she cannot care for the child, then a safe alternative should be available, whether abortion or placement with another family. I resent the intrusion of petty politics into these decisions.

To Rebecca: It's widely believed that DO's pacto with the Church that led to their reconciliation included his willingness to ban abortion in Nicaragua. If he were a woman he'd probably be an easy lay.

I've heard some interesting things about that pacto

Again, it was a political move and it got Ortega what he wanted. The Church didn't ask for a ban on contraceptives because it wasn't in a really good position to make further demands.

Rebecca Brown