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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.

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  1. Good one, Marley. Now if they will just listen and stop the traffic before more children are hurt, we could see a sizable dent in the child-market.

    I am told that there are many Haitian-Americans and those here on green cards who are asking about their kin and getting no answers.

  2. PA Gov. Ed Rendell was on CNN this afternoon laughing about taking the “orphans” out of Haiti.

    Transcript here:

    RENDELL: Well, then, we dispatch — I’m at the airport dealing with the officials. I dispatch some of our group to the embassy to try to persuade the two — the two sisters to allow at least the 47 to go out.

    We’re making some progress there, but we’re not there. And, then, finally, the — we get word from the national security adviser, the National Security Council, that, in fact, all 54 kids are approved to go. That’s the good news.

    The bad news I, the Army, as they had to, the Air Force and the Army, who were running the airport, had to move our plane, because you have got to keep rotating tarmac space, so that all the planes trying to get in could get in.

    So, the kids arrived at the airport, and we had no plane anymore. We had gotten a plane chartered by Republic Airlines that had been paid for by an anonymous benefactor, but the plane had to go.

    SANCHEZ: I with you.

    RENDELL: So, the Army, and this great major by the name of Miller — I don’t know his first name — he said: “Don’t worry, Governor. I have got a solution.”

    He says — “What’s the solution?”

    He said: “See that C-17, just unloaded a crane? It’s going back to Charleston. We will take you to Orlando.”

  3. That desperately needed to be said.

    The fact that such hasn’t been said until now, that it had to come from an organization dedicated to adoptee rights, says a very great deal.

    UNICEF had said many similar things years ago, though that particular page ( is down now-

    The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which guides UNICEF’s work, clearly states that every child has the right to know and be cared for by his or her own parents, whenever possible.

    and from their guidelines on when international adoption should NOT be utilized-

    The case of children separated from their parents and communities during war or natural disasters merits special mention. It cannot be assumed that such children have neither living parents nor relatives. Even if both their parents are dead, the chances of finding living relatives, and a community or home to return to after the conflict subsides, continues to exist. Thus, such children should not be considered for inter-country adoption, and family tracing should be the priority. This position is shared by UNICEF, UNHCR, the International Confederation of the Red Cross, and international NGOs such as the Save the Children Alliance.

  4. Thanks for this post. Sadly, Buffalo, New York has already brought Haitian children to Buffalo who were in the process of adoption by a few local families. Interesting statements about the paperwork, Marley. It seems that Buffalo and the US Dept of State did not care. Babylifts, indeed.

  5. CNN reported Governor Rendell and his wife, Judge Marjorie O. Rendell of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, flew to Port-au-Prince and brought back 53 children. I find it absolutely amazing that the Rendells’s had so much pull that they could halt the landing of two planes filled with supplies and doctors from the “Doctors without Borders” group. I think we all have to keep pressure on the State Dept to ensure these children are returned to their families if in fact they are not adoptable. A New York Times on-line article states the following:

    “The Haitian government has had reason to be cautious; there are about 200 orphanages in Haiti, but United Nations officials say not all are legitimate. Some are fronts for traffickers who buy children from their parents and sell them to couples in other countries. “In orphanages in Haiti there are an awful lot of children who are not orphans,” said Christopher de Bono, a Unicef spokesman.”

  6. Thanks to Marley and Bastard Nation for this statement.

    I’ve noticed the number of “estimated” orphans in Haiti mushrooming over the last few days.

    UNICEF said that there were 380,000 “orphans” in Haiti before the quake, and this number has been repeated endlessly without examination.

    I don’t see how that could possibly be accurate. An “orphan”, in the US at least, implies that both biological parents are dead and there are no related adults to care for the child. Haiti is a very Catholic country with large families, most of which have been in the country for hundreds of years. How many of those kids truly do not have a living adult mother, father, uncle, aunt, grandparent, older cousin, step-parent…?

    It’s ludicrous.

    Now news outlets are saying there are more than 1 million orphans. I saw 1.2 million on Twitter. Can I get 1.3 million? 1.4? 1.5, 1.6??

    To judge from the atmosphere in the media and on the internet, you would think that the earthquake in Haiti was a big party, and the host is giving away free children as party favors. It’s really sick.

    I’m glad so many people are contesting this.

  7. Anon Guy According to wiki, the estimated population of Haiti was just over 10 million in 2009. That would mean, from the figures you’re quoting about 10% or even more of the population were orphans. Even under hellish pre-quake conditions, that doesn’t make much sense.

    And if true, where were all those do-gooders then?

  8. Thank You for this post. I was trying (but failing) to bring this fact to the attention of my friends the other day, but you said it best. I shared the article with my friends. Thanks again.

  9. Yayyyyy fot Marley and BN for stepping up and issuing this clear and sensible statement. It is a breath of fresh air in the Babylift hysteria.

  10. KUDOS!!!


    “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.”

    “orphans or otherwise?” what did you mean by that? why would you advocate the removal of non-orphans?

    I’ve been blogging incessantly about this at D

  11. No, we advocate that Haitian children of Haitian nationals or naturalized citizens currently living in the US (or docoumented kin living in the US) be allowed to enter the US if necessary. It has nothing to do with adoption. It’s keeping families together.

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