Friday, May 15, 2009
Article 2. Adoption is only allowed for people of both sexes who are older than 35. However, it can also be requested by a married couple who are not separated, as long as at least one of them is over age 35, if they have been married more than ten years, and do not have any [biological] children from this marriage.
It was written in 1974 by Jean Claude Duvalier. Historically, the Haitian social welfare and legal systems disregarded the specific clauses of the law, and the Director of Haitian Social Services would specify the requirements for prospective adoptive families. These were typically as follows:
Couples with both parties over age thirty, married for five years, and with no more than three biological children. At present, only couples with both parents over 35 who can prove ten years of marriage or co-habitation are being accepted by IBESR.
Singles over age thirty or thirty-five, depending upon the individual Director’s guidelines. A few single men have adopted, but most orphanage directors will only work with single women.
Since the election of President Rene Garcia Preval in 2006, the country has been steadily moving towards a more lawful and transparent government. Parquet district court in Port-au-Prince began refusing to legalize adoptions authorized by IBESR to parents who did not conform to the law of 1974. Families who do not conform to the law must be granted a Presidential Dispensation in order to legally adopt a child.
Families which do not meet the law of 1974 and yet are pre-approved by IBESR will have their dossiers submitted for Presidential Dispensation. At this time there is no consistent estimate for the waiting time for a Dispensation.
ARTICLE 2. – Adoption may be requested jointly by a married heterosexual couple not living separately, after five years of marriage if one of the couple is more than thirty years old.
ARTICLE 3.- Two people of opposite sexes, living together for at least ten years, may request to adopt a child. Their living together must be established by a certificate delivered by the competent authorities of the host country and the consent of both is necessary.
ARTICLE 4.- Candidatures of women, widowers or divorced, who are at least thirty-five years old, with no biological child, are accepted. A man must be a widower or divorced, with no biological children and at least 35 years old.
ARTICLE 5.- Priority is given to couples who are married or living together who do not have biological children at the time of the adoption. When the aforementioned heterosexual couple has a maximum of two biological or adopted children, they may only adopt children with special circumstances (handicapped, with health problems or older than 5 years of age).
ARTICLE 6.- The age of the adopters may not be over 50 for the oldest of the married couple or those living together in a common-law relationship.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Almost two years ago to the day, our organization was granted an amazing gift from Feed My Starving Children. We were given an entire forty foot cargo container filled with donated food.
Inside each box are several plastic packets of what looks at first glance very much like rice with a few simple spices. FMSC food is very easy to cook - all we have to do is add water and boil, and the flavor appeals very much to children. But it is not just a simple rice casserole. FMSC's food is specifically engineered to meet the nutritional needs of malnourished children. In addition to providing macro nutrients (vitamins and minerals), it has a very high ratio of highly digestible crude protein.The majority of our children arrive at the orphanage suffering from protein deprivation malnutrition - either kwashiorkor ('dry' malnutrition) or marasmus ('wet' malnutrition). Once the body has become weakened by protein deprivation, it becomes even more difficult for the digestive tract to extract protein from less expensive food sources such as rice and beans and wheat. FMSC's soy additives are highly digestible even for the most fragile, at risk child.
Other organizations benefiting from the generosity of Feed My Starving Children have reported not only dramatic weight and growth increases for their children, but have noted a drastic reduction in illnesses and other conditions which can easily attach a child with a weakened immune system. Scabies, worms, and other parasites will suffer as our children gain strength.
We are deeply grateful for the many individuals who donated the money which enabled us to ship the container, all that time ago, and those who helped pay the 'ransom' to get it out of customs. We are particularly grateful to Lime Studios of Santa Monica, CA and Carousel Dinner Theater of Fort Collins, CO for their corporate level support.
The food will provide all the children of BRESMA who are on solid food with one meal a day for several months. As they are eating, I will be chasing down sponsorship and help for our next container. There are so many organizations who need our help - FMSC food is for sharing. We'd like to share it with the women participating in our Women's Literacy, Education, and Self-Sufficiency / Haitian Family Preservation project. We'd like to serve it every day at the two free schools BRESMA sponsors for children of Haiti's poor. We'd like to pass along a pallet or two to Angel Missions Haiti to use in their trainings for the parents of children with special needs. We'd like to share it with other orphanages, with hospitals, with anyone who needs it. And next time, we'll have some IGO and NGO help to be sure the container arrives in a more timely and less stressful manner!
It will cost us approximately $10,000 to ship another forty foot container, carrying 43,000 pounds of 'superfood' custom tailored to meet the needs of starving children. You can help feed some of the most desperate people in Haiti exactly the food they need to address not only their empty bellies, but the malnutrition that makes them such an easy target for parasites and disease. Go to The Alliance for Children Foundation to make a tax deductible donation, and specify that you'd like your donation to be used for our Food for Haiti program. It's a very concrete way to make a difference in the world.