Friday, June 24, 2011

Government Meetings in Haiti

The governments of various nations who have or are allowing their citizens to adopt from Haiti are meeting this week with IBESR and UNICEF to discuss the future of Haitian adoptions.  Unfortunately no stakeholders - adoption agencies, adoptive parents, adopted children, birth families, or creche directors - are permitted to attend.  However, the Dutch Consulate has shared the following release:

Representatives from ten countries adopters, including France, the first host country of Haitian children in 2010, were gathered Thursday morning, in a reunion at the Plaza Hotel in Port-au-Prince, in presence of the President Michel Martelly, to provide an update on the adoption in Haiti.

At this reunion, organized by a group of Montreal on international adoption, whose purpose is to consider the resumption of the "frozen" adoptions, the President Martelly has committed before the participants to ratify, during his mandate, the Hague Convention on the adoption, that prevents the so-called adoptions "private or individual".

"While awaiting the vote of this law, within time limits that I wish as close as possible, I intend to make a presidential order requiring the passage of the applications for adoption with the approved bodies, as provided for in the Convention of the Hague" declared the Head of State.

This will prevent de facto, all the individual adoption procedures of Haitian children.

HL/ HaitiLibre

Des représentants de dix pays adoptants, dont la France, premier pays d'accueil d'enfants haïtiens en 2010, étaient réunis ce jeudi matin, en colloque, à l’hôtel le Plaza de Port-au-Prince, en présence du Président Michel Martelly, pour faire le point sur l'adoption en Haïti.

Lors de ce colloque, organisé par un groupe de Montréal sur l’adoption internationale, dont le but est d'envisager la reprise des adoptions «gelées», le Président Michel Martelly s'est engagé devant les participants à ratifier, au cours de son mandat, la Convention de la Haye sur les adoptions, qui empêche les adoptions dites « privées ou individuelles ».

« Dans l’attente du vote de cette loi, dans des délais que je souhaite aussi rapprochés que possible, j’entends prendre un arrêté présidentiel, rendant obligatoire le passage des demandes d’adoption devant des organismes agréés, comme le prévoit la Convention de La Haye » a déclaré le Chef de l’État.

Cette mesure empêchera de facto, toutes les procédures d'adoption individuelle d’enfants haïtiens.

HL/ HaïtiLibre

We believe that what the President is describing as an 'independent adoption' is one in which the adoptive family is not represented by a licensed adoption agency in their home country, which will oversee the placement of a Haitian child in their home, and/or is represented by an attorney in Haiti rather than an actual, licensed creche.  If so, the new policy would save a great many families and children great heartbreak.  'Independent' adoptions - particularly those we've heard about recently - generally are not successful.  The family sends a great deal of money to a person who may or may not be an attorney in Haiti, but rarely comes home with a child.
There is also an A.F.P. article regarding the meetings:
Haiti leader vows to tighten adoption rules

PORT-AU-PRINCE, June 23 (AFP) Jun 23, 2011

Haitian leader Michel Martelly said Thursday he would issue a presidential decree to tighten up Haiti's adoption procedures and ensure all applications go through authorized entities.

Legislation to that effect has already gone through the National Assembly and is expected to pass the Senate soon, but Martelly, who was sworn in as president in May, is struggling to form a government to sign off on the law.

Martelly's first pick as prime minister, businessman Daniel-Gerard Rouzier, was roundly rejected by a parliament dominated by his predecessor's ruling party earlier this week.

"While waiting for a vote on this law, a delay I hope will be as short as possible, I intend to issue a presidential decree making it obligatory for adoption applications to go through authorized organisms, as the Hague Convention outlines," Martelly said.

The president vowed to ratify the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, which sets forth guidelines and procedures and outlaws private or individual adoptions, during his five-year term.

He was speaking at a Port-au-Prince gathering of 10 adopter nations, including France, the former colonial power which took in more Haitian children than any other country in 2010.

This "eagerly awaited" measure will effectively ban individual adoption procedures, Martelly said.

Haiti was already the poorest country in the Americas even before a January 2010 earthquake destroyed much of the capital and killed an estimated 225,000 people, created countless more orphans.

A high-profile adoption abuse case shortly after the quake saw 10 Americans charged with kidnapping after they sought to take a busload of 33 children over the border into the Dominican Republic without the proper paperwork. The Baptist missionaries at first presented the children as quake orphans, but it quickly emerged that many of the children still had living parents, infuriating many Haitians.

A total of 318 adopted Haitian children were included in a special program and flown to France last Christmas Eve.

The children were all in the process of being adopted when the quake struck on January 12, 2010, causing adoptions to be delayed with some records lost in the rubble.

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