Friday, July 2, 2010

Terrible News for Haitian Adoptions

We who work in adoptions in Haiti have the opposite frustration of many of our colleagues. In other countries, prospective adoptive families must often wait months or even years for the referral of a child. The waiting is hard on those anxious to become parents. But in Haiti it is very often the children who wait months or even years for somebody to love and trust. The worst part of my job is trying to answer a child's heartbroken questions: "Why haven't you found me a family yet? Will I ever have a family?"

I fear I may have to answer that one more frequently in the months to come.

Historically, the French people have adopted over half of the children placed in intercountry adoptions from Haiti. France has now suspended new Haitian adoptions for her citizens. Those in process may finish and bring their children home, but no new adoptions may be begun. A friend of Haitian children at the State Department shared the following link:

Terrible news indeed. The need for adoptive families is greater than ever. Even more families are homeless. Relatives are lost. Mothers have died. Haitian culture is often not comfortable with the disabled - children missing limbs or even just a hand or a foot may be rejected by society.

Thankfully the US has no intentions of closing Haitian adoptions (see the Department of State's Office of Children's Issues website) at this time, nor does the Haitian government seem to have any wish to close them on their end. However, now that the French cannot serve Haitian children in need of permanent families, the need for adoptive families from other countries is more urgent than ever. We cannot abandon them to grow up warehoused in institutions. Even the best orphanage on earth... is still just an orphanage. Every child deserves a family. Love is perhaps the most fundamental human right.

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