If this were your child – Haiti orphans
Posted on January 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm
Imagine that you’re at work when whatever natural disaster is most probable in your state strikes. For me it would be an earthquake, for you it might be a flood, volcanic eruption, or hurricane. The natural disaster has toppled telephone poles and cell phone towers, damaged roads, and collapsed bridges. You try desperately to contact family members but no phones are working.
What was a simple 45 minute commute this morning has become an almost impossible journey. The freeway is impassible and roads are covered in debris. It takes you almost a week to reach home. When you finally arrive you receive word that your sister and her husband were seriously injured and did not survive. As you absorb this loss you worry about your three year old niece and five year old nephew.
After several frantic days you make it to your sister’s destroyed house only to find out from her neighbors that your niece and nephew have been taken by foreigners to be cared for in an orphanage. You are thankful to hear that they survived and are determined to find and care for them. Unfortunately, the neighbors don’t know which organization took the children. All they know is that they spoke only a little English and wore matching green shirts with words in either Spanish or Portuguese written on them.
You are frantically searching for the orphanage when word reaches you that foreigners have begun flying plane loads of children out of orphanages to be adopted in other countries. You start to panic for fear that by the time you find this orphanage it’ll be too late. If your niece and nephew have been taken to another country you may never be able to find them and bring them back. It’s now a race against time.
Don’t do this to someone else’s child. Children in orphanages often have parents or extended family trying desperately to care for them.
One of my readers, who works with a group for ethics in adoption, sent me two useful links discussing the efforts on both the part of the US and Haitian governments to ensure that only the children that were already in the process of being adopted before the disaster are allowed to leave the country.
Secretary Napolitano Announces Humanitarian Parole Policy for Certain Haitian Orphans Fact Sheet – Provides information on the documentation needed for both the adoptive child and parent to ensure that they were in the process of adoption before the earthquake.
“The State Department, which is liaising with prospective US parents, said it would try to speed up adoptions that were already in progress but called it crucial to avoid mistakes in identifying children.
‘I know there’s a perception out there, ‘Cut through the red tape,’ but there are very good reasons why we want to make sure that this process works well,’ State Department spokesman Philip Crowley told reporters.
‘Sometimes if you push too hard, too fast, there can be unintended consequences,’ he said.”
Statement by UNICEF Director on the Situation of Children in Haiti – Released January 22
United Nations Guidelines for the alternative care of children
Children are best left with their families – The Age – discusses how children fair better left with their families than if they are removed to a safer location