Adoption turmoil in Haiti

Haiti better times

Haiti ranks number eight in the top countries adopted from in 2009. After the 7.0 earthquake hit Haiti this week, there is a lot of concern about children who were in the process of adoption waiting for families to take them home and also about the children who are now left without families in need of homes in the future.

Making communication with adoption centers impossible is the collapse of the UN building, power outages, failed communication systems, lost paperwork among the wreckage, complete destruction of orphanages and the difficulty of following relocated children.

Out of Indianapolis there is a heartbreaking but ultimately hopeful story of the Wise family, certainly a typical story for families awaiting news of their prospective children. The Wise family legally adopted Mika, a boy who lives in an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, and were awaiting his passport when the earthquake struck. After two and a half years of going through the arduous international adoption process, they held their breath until late Thursday when they finally got the news that their son Mika is alive. They must remain a little more patient and focus on how to get him home through this unexpected national tragedy. “We had no idea what we were in for. Since we started the adoption process, there’s been food riots in Haiti, four hurricanes and now this,” said Kim Wise.

The Wise family like other American adoptive families, are working closely with the state department in hopes of getting the children expedited on humanitarian grounds. Emergency visas and passports could help push through adoptions that were stalled or release children whose adoptions are final except for the receipt of a passport. The release of those children from the orphanages would open up beds for new children who lost their parents in the earthquake.

"I would like to see the international community come up with a plan for the children that have been adopted by European, Canadian, and American citizens of how these children can go to their adoptive parents' countries, either under refugee status or emergency status of some sort," said Dixie Bickel, director of God's Littlest Angels orphanage just outside Port-au-Prince. Bickel said her lawyer told her the country's top adoptions official, Judge Rock Cadet, was killed when the courthouse collapsed. This vacuum in authority could further complicate adoptions especially if other governments do not intervene and apply pressure to Haiti now.

“I think when you adopt from a country, you do get involved with that country and when you adopt from Haiti it pulls you in,” said Shelli Swindle, adoptive parent, of Oklahoma City.

Source: CNN.com; Carrie Craft, About.com; KFOR.com; wishtv.com


 
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