For the last week, Bastard Nation, like the rest of the world, has been watching the devastation of Haiti. The images are frightening, sad, and heartrending, especially those of the children.
We have also watched with alarm the rush to rescue Haitian children by adoption. Within three days of the earthquake, Catholic Charities of Miami had set up a scheme modeled on Operation Pedro Pan, a joint State Department-CIA-Miami Diocese project in the early 1960s to separate children from their parents, creating young pawns in the US war against the Castro government. Although “Operation Pierre Pan” in Haiti is on hold, at least for now, numerous evangelical churches and ministries, adoption agencies, secular organizations, unfinalized adoptive parents and other individuals–many with conflicts of interest–have joined the rescue mission call to remove children immediately, no matter what their family status, to the US for the purpose of adoption.
Haiti is still under rubble. Aid is slow to arrive. Survivors are spread out in shelters and camps, or live in the streets. The dead are unnumbered, unknown, and unnamed. Family members continue to search for each for other, and it will take weeks or even months for final conciliation.
The rush to relocate orphans, quasi-orphans, and potential orphans internationally is ripe for coercion and fraud. Adoption agencies, church agencies, and ministries especially–along with fraudulent and predatory “child welfare” agents–have much to gain from fast removal. The trafficking of Haitian children for sex, servitude, and adoption operated in Haiti before the quake. It certainly operates now. The unethical and possibly unlawful mass transfer of traumatized children, many with family status unknown, to foreign shelters, foster care, and adoption agencies, removed from their culture and language, with little hope of family reunification cannot be allowed or tolerated. We urge US State Department and other US authorities in Haiti to (1) remove private special interests and those with conflicts of interest, such as adoption agencies and ministries, from the child welfare decision-making process and (2) halt the evacuation of children and their placement for adoption in the US.
We also urge the State Department to suspend pending adoptions. Haitian paperwork is lost or destroyed. Rock Cadet, the judge most responsible and knowledgeable about pipeline cases, died in the quake. Though the US Embassy survived, US paperwork is probably unavailable for some time, if it still exists. Without proof of Haitian court or Embassy status, any adoption removal from the country, without thorough background investigation and due process, is illegal and not in the best interest of the child
Needless to say, no new adoptions should be processed.
In the post-quake chaos, children need protection from predatory snatchers. Bastard Nation, therefore, supports the expedited removal of Haitian children, orphans or otherwise, to credible and documented parents or family members in the US for temporary or permanent placement depending on the circumstances. These children must not be assumed adoptable and scooped up for fast-track adoption. They should be a top priority. We urge the State Department or other government or credible private and disinterested agencies to assist Haitians in the US to locate child kin and bring them to the US.
We understand why people want to open their arms and hearts to the children of the Haitian earthquake, but adoption is not emergency or humanitarian aid or a solution to Haiti’s ongoing problems. The immediate rescue effort in Haiti should focus on emergency services, individual and family care and family reunification, not family, community, and cultural destruction and the strip-mining of children.
This statement has been faxed to the US State Department.