Documentary Film and Photography

Goodbye Baby: Adoptions from Guatemala

Explores the controversy around adoptions from Guatemala.


“GOODBYE BABY provides layer upon layer of valuable information and insights. It offers a rare, penetrating glimpse into controversial adoption issues (in this case within  Guatemala). It examines a process that touches millions of lives and thoughtfully explores its complexities. This is an intimate and compelling film, and an important one. People within the community will need to see it; everyone interested in the complex, changing world of modern families will simply want to.”
Adam Pertman, Executive Director, Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute; Author of Adoption Nation
“A superb film documenting the many faces of international adoption in Guatemala. GOODBYE BABY paints a richly complex picture, managing to be simultaneously fair, illuminating and powerfully emotional.”
Elizabeth Bartholet, Professor of Law, Harvard Law School;
Author of Family Bonds: Adoption & the Politics of Parenting


The number of adoptions from Guatemala to the U.S. has risen dramatically in recent years and so has the controversy. What is seen as an act of love by adoptive parents is viewed with suspicion inside Guatemala. By examining the ramifications of money, private lawyers, media coverage and women’s rights on the adoption process, GOODBYE BABY illuminates the complexity of international adoption from the vantage point of those in a country sending the children. Informed by the filmmaker’s own adoptions and her long history of living and working in Guatemala, the video provides an insightful look into the dramatic and difficult world of intercountry adoption

Director's Statement

Deciding to adopt a child from Guatemala felt like a very natural decision given my long term connection with that country. (I first went there in 1977 and adopted my first child in 1998.) I knew there were many thousands of women unable to care adequately for their children due to extreme poverty, lack of government social services, gender inequalities and “machismo,” but I also knew there was tremendous controversy swirling around Guatemalan adoptions, with organizations like UNICEF leveling serious charges of child trafficking and baby buying. As I started to research in order to decide myself whether to move forward with adopting, I became more aware of the huge amount of disinformation, rumors, unfounded charges and outright lies surrounding the adoption debate.

Goodbye Baby is my attempt to place the adoption phenomenon within a socio-political, economic and cultural context. While I could not hope to make a documentary that remained up to date with changes in the adoption process and laws, I did want to offer viewers a chance to go deeper into some of the issues and appreciate the overwhelming complexity of locating children needing families from one country and placing them with people wanting to parent from another country.