Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sometimes I Wonder...

Why one million orphans wasn't a big enough number for people to notice before the earthquake. Even before this horrifying catastrophe, it was estimated that around one million children in Haiti were either orphaned or abandoned. It's encouraging to see the support and generosity pouring into Haiti but it breaks my heart that it took the tragic deaths of hundreds of thousands to bring attention to a country that was already poverty-stricken and desperate.

The adoption process in Haiti was averaging around two years, with some people waiting over three years to bring their children home. Many of the orphanages were always short on food. There was no rhyme or reason to the arbitrary laws that would come and go throughout the process. Adoptive families were waiting for the children (with whom they had visited and bonded) for an unnecessary amount of time and there were instances when children, who were legally adopted by Americans, were denied visas by the US to come home to their families. People in the Haitian adoption community have been signing petitions and calling their representatives for years about these issues. Fortunately, it sounds like the children in process have been granted emergency visas so they can come home to their already waiting families and, finally, there is an awareness about Haiti's orphan problem. How I wish this could have happened apart from tragedy.

I've gotten a lot of e-mails asking how to start the process of adopting from Haiti (and I've heard that many other adoptive families have, as well). I'm so happy people are considering adoption but, again, heartbroken that it took a tragedy to open people's eyes to the need. I really don't know what will become of Haitian adoptions and when/how they will resume. The newly orphaned children certainly won't be adoptable for a very long time without documentation of abandonment, relinquishment or parent's death certificates, which is as it should be; placement with their own family members is always preferred to adoption. It seems like many of the government buildings were destroyed, so that definitely complicates things, even for waiting children. When some sort of stability returns, I would hope that the ridiculous laws would be amended, allowing a broader scope of people to adopt. Right now (because of UNICEF) the parameters are narrow and restrictive. We'll just continue to pray and advocate for orphans.

Please continue to give and pray!! Chances for Children still needs supplies. World Vision and Compassion are also some wonderful organizations that were already working diligently in Haiti - you can give a one time gift or a long term sponsorship of a child. Heartline is another wonderful ministry and you can read first-hand accounts of the reality in Haiti right now by clicking the Livesay Web Log link in the adoptive families column. And even when this tragedy is no longer receiving 24 hour coverage, please remember that Haiti is still the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and that there are 143 million orphans worldwide.

15 of your thoughts:

Arwen said...

I completely agree. I have been keeping my eye on the adoption laws in Haiti for some 8 years now waiting for the right time... The main thing, after I finally reached their age requirement, that has been stopping me was the wait time... how can I go 3 years knowing that I can't bring my child home??? I began fostering because I felt that I truely just wanted to make a difference for kids... My heart right now is being ripped apart thinking that I should have moved on the adoption earlier... but I know that as long as I can see the next step I will keep moving. I pray that adoptions will once again move quickly after this tragedy. I have a friend that adopted a girl from Haiti 11 years ago... She brought her home as a 4 month old infant... My fear is that the orphans will be trapped, unable to be adopted for a long period of time now... I heard on the news last night that the Canadian government recieved some 55000 phone calls from people wanting to adopt children from Haiti yesterday. I wonder how many of them have truely thought about what they are asking, or if they are just reacting with sympathy for a time, and will forget about it a month or so down the road... lets pray not.

Anonymous said...
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Kimmie said...

Praying and supporting......we are as a church sending support too. I am so glad that the children that have been waiting for TOO long will now be united with their families. I am praying that the situation at hand will change how they *process* adoptions, that the time tables will quicken due to the countries worsening condition.

Kimmie
mama to 7
one homemade and 6 adopted

Hadassah said...

I just stumbled across your blog and I wanted to let you know that I LOVE your blog header!! :)

And I, too, wonder why more people didn't help Haiti earlier - not just the orphans, but so many poor, etc..

Peace.

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