Publication - Factsheet

Adoption - special restrictions: list of countries

Last updated: 12 Mar 2021 - see all updates
Published: 12 Mar 2021

Countries in which special restrictions are in place, published under section 62 of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007.

Adoption - special restrictions: list of countries


Title of order: Special Restrictions on Adoptions from Abroad (Guatemala) Order 2008
Date order in force: 7 October 2008

The Order places on a statutory footing the suspension of adoptions from Guatemala currently in place. On 6 December 2007, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Children, Schools and Families, within the UK Government, announced an immediate suspension of adoptions of Guatemalan children by UK residents in response to concerns about adoption practice in Guatemala.

The suspension was introduced in response to evidence demonstrating that there are insufficient safeguards in the Guatemalan adoption system to prevent children being adopted without proper consents being given and improper financial gain being made by individuals in the adoption process. In particular:

  • there is a trade in babies being sold for overseas adoption
  • mothers are being paid, or otherwise encouraged, to give up children for adoption

Such practices are contrary to the principles of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Although Guatemala has recently passed legislation implementing the Hague Convention, there is no evidence to demonstrate this has resulted in substantive changes in practices in connection with the adoption of children or the eradication of the improper practices which occasioned the statement of 6 December 2007. The Scottish Ministers are of the view that, because of practices taking place in Guatemala, it would be contrary to public policy to further the bringing of children into the United Kingdom from Guatemala as specified in section 62(1) of the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007.


Email: – Central Enquiry Unit

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road

First published: 12 Mar 2021 Last updated: 12 Mar 2021 -