Please go to my previous entries, Haiti Child Evacuation: A New Operation Pedro Pan (my keystone Haitian entry), Haiti: Misc. Updates on Adoption and Pat Robertson, and Pat Robertson and Adoptee Rights for the context of this entry
Last night, Anon Guy posted an article on the new Pedro Pan scheme, now publicly and unembarrassedly dubbed, “Operation Pierre Pan,” in the comments at my “Child Evacuation” entry. It appears that some “reasonable” heads have prevailed temporarily, but only out of expediency, not lack of enthusiasm for a mass childlift to the US.
I was going to post the full article published in Friday’s Sun Sentinel, but on second thought, Anon Guy did such a nice job of culling and emphasizing the important parts, I decided to post his vetted version instead. I urge you to read the entire article, though, since it also deals with the anti-immigrant nativists poised to throw a hissy fit over little black kids “sneaking” into the country–which is not in any way, shape or form related to our objections.
Organizers say too soon to implement “Operation Pierre Pan” for Haitian orphans
Randolph McGrorty admits it’s a little too soon to focus on what some are calling “Operation Pierre Pan,” but the concept has already captured the imagination of advocacy groups and others looking to offer hope to the orphans of the Haitian earthquake.
“The response has been swift and overwhelming,” said McGrorty, executive director of Catholic Charities Legal Services in Miami. McGrorty floated the idea in news conferences Thursday. By Friday morning, he had to remind supporters that the immediate need in Haiti has to take precedence over the concept, which is modeled after the “Operation Pedro Pan” movement that brought thousands of Cuban children to the United States in the 1960s.
That, he said, will take some time, not to mention the permission of the United States government. McGrorty said he has contacted the Department of Homeland Security about the idea, but no commitments have been made at this early stage.
“We’ve already begun to make preparations and are willing to do our part,” said Mark Riordan, Broward County spokesman for the state’s Department of Children and Families. While he didn’t know how many children could end up calling Broward County home, Riordan said he does not every child [sic] in the program to end up in South Florida.
He also doesn’t expect them all to be orphans. “It would not surprise me if parents who wanted a better life for their children gave them up and said ‘Here, take care of my child,'” he said.
Aside from the logistical issues of how many children would be brought into the United States and where they will be sheltered, there are legal issues revolving around their immigration status that need to be resolved with the federal government.
McGrorty acknowledged are (sic) big differences between post-revolution Cuba and post-earthquake Haiti, including the motivation behind the migration and the potential to ultimately reunite the children with their families. But the overall objective is the same: a fighting chance at a life with opportunity.
We’re not sure which is worse, a Catholic Church-CIA plot to separate families to make kids political pawns in their War Against Communism (hardly to give kids a “fighting chance” in the US) or a Catholic-Church-neo-colonialist adoption agency plot to snatch kids to fill Catholic Charities coffers and in some cases save their souls from the evangelical missionaries that roam the streets of Port au Prince and environs.
As a quick aside, my mailbox has been overflowing for the last couple days with beg letters from evangelicals demanding money for their individual Haiti-saving missions. For instance, the radical theocratic anti-abortion Schenck Brothers, Rob and Paul, founding members of the original Operation Rescue are shilling their Faith & Action Haiti “rescue” program. During the 1992 Democratic Convention Rob (left) attempted to toss a fetus in Bill Clinton’s face.
Blogger Field Negro reported Friday that a guest on rightwing film critic Michael Medved’s radio talk show lectured listeners (and Medved agreed) that aid to Haiti should be tied to the country becoming a “christian nation.” I’ve been unable to download the show to hear it myself, but here’s Field Negro’s account:
Medved had a some fraud masquerading as a man of god on his program, telling his listeners that Haiti has to be rebuilt into a Christian nation, (No, it wasn’t Pat Robertson) and that part of the (The Haitians) problem is that they worship old African religions and believe in voodoo. Yes, he really said that. Medved and his guest wanted strings attached to A-merry-ca helping to rebuild Haiti. Only if they embrace our culture, religious teachings and way of life. “Flood the country with missionaries”.
Have no doubt that christianity in its many forms will be greatly entwined in the fate of Haiti’s orphans and quasi orphans.
While the churchy folks argue churchy things and raise money to push their agendas, we have the very real specter of adoption industry-State Department funny business developing. Not to mention child trafficking. (see Christiane Amanpour’s interview with UNICEF Executive Director Anne Veneman found at the CNN link below for a discussion on child trafficking during natural disasters.) Don’t be surprised to see serious attempts, which may succeed, to make international adoption in the US “easier” to not only accommodate Haitian paps and Haiti savers, but move all cross boarder adoptables into the spammer. The lagging adoption industry’s wet dream.
CNN reported Friday night:
Foreign governments should urgently accept Haitian orphans on humanitarian grounds following this week’s devastating earthquake, an orphanage director in Haiti and adoptive parents said Friday.
Emergency visas and passports could help push through adoptions that were stalled after the quake, and would open up beds for children who lost their parents in the disaster, said Dixie Bickel, director of God’s Littlest Angels orphanage (a christian ministry) just outside Port-au-Prince.
While pipelines might make sense, we doubt that the flow of children would stop there in the give-an-inch-and-take-a-mile world of IA. All of these articles hint that something much bigger is in the works.
From the February 15 Seattle Times:
Adoption advocates met Thursday in the Capitol Hill office of Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., (right) to discuss the quake’s impact on adoptions. Many parents have been pushing to see if the State Department can expedite adoption proceedings, because they fear orphanages will need to serve other children left homeless or alone after the quake.
Chuck Johnson, chief operating officer of the National Council for Adoption, said the experts agreed that efforts should be made to expedite proceedings for the relatively small number of U.S. families whose adoptions were nearly complete. But there almost certainly will be substantial delays in most of the roughly 900 pending adoption applications because of the chaos in Haiti, including widespread loss of essential documents.
and this similar report from the the January 15 LA Times telling us what the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (the same folks who threw a cow over the film Orphan) is up to:
Executive director Kathleen Strottman (left)of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute says staffers from more than 30 congressional offices met Friday with the State Department and other agencies involved in foreign adoptions.
Strottman says that the State Department is considering what is an appropriate use of its authority to ensure the children are safe. Many families have been pushing for emergency visas that would allow the children to come to the United States.
and then there’s the January 15 New York Daily News account of Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James pleading in the name of wannabe pap constituents:
In Brooklyn Councilwoman Letitia James (D, WFP-Fort Greene) that she is working with federal officials to make sue those children find new homes as soon as possible. “Fifty percent of Haiti’s population is under the age of 21, and 39% of that is under 15. A log of them are now orphans. They’ve got family members here, and there’s a lot of New Yorkers who would like to adopt. From what I know, the adoption process is a nightmare. It can takes years. We need to expedite the process and create a smooth transition.”
Friday evening the Miami Herald reported:
At a second news conference at the offices of immigrant rights advocate Cheryl Little, McGrorty said the project is still in a “very preliminary stage” and may take several weeks to launch. He also said that by the middle of next week he may have additional details as Archdiocese officials turn over the plan to logistics experts in the Catholic Church.
A temporary shelter in Broward County has already been identified to immediately house the children, McGrorty said.
He also said the people behind the effort have been in contact with the Obama administration to assist in bringing the children from Haiti under a “humanitarian parole” — a special immigration category that enables foreign nationals to stay in the United States under special circumstances even if they are not necessarily eligible for a visa.
The Pedro Pan initiative drew immediate support from local Haitian leaders, South Florida’s federal lawmakers, Miami-Dade commissioners and city leaders.
Marleine Bastien, head of Haitian Women of Miami, who is helping in the rescue effort, said aiding Haiti’s orphans is a worthy endeavor. “We’ve heard that there are children wandering the streets who don’t know what happened to their parents; we need help for those children. They should be allowed to come live with relatives here or be placed in group homes,” she said.
One commenter responded seemingly unaware of where a good many of these kids will end up:
For the posters who claim we have thousands of kids in this country on foster care awaiting for adoption, I’d like to say that these american kids are probably NOT orphans due to a catastrophic event in a poor country. The kids in foster care here in the US are most likely the result of parent’s neglect and irresponsibility. I do not believe in the foster care system in the US. A lot of foster parents do it for the money. They are uneducated and offer very little guidance or nurturing. Many foster youths are “damaged” beyond repair by their own parents and the foster system. That is why so many american couples adopt children from outside the US.
Another–a Medved fan?– offered this solution:
One solution: allow religious groups to adopt children. That way they can be responsible for the children’s care and not burden the taxpayers with those expenses.
It’s clear a human rights disaster is in the making. Paps, adopters, the Catholic Church and rival evangelicals, the State Department, Homeland Security, national and local politicians, and the upper echelons of the Obama administration, if not Obama himself, are bound and determined to denationalize and disenfranchise thousands of Haitian children to “save” them through American privilege and largess. A cynic might call it a modern white man’s burden. We call it strip mining Haiti.
That’s not to say the situation isn’t heartbreaking or that help for Haiti’s children isn’t urgently needed. Haiti is a desperately poor country (much due to US foreign policy and support of its long line of venal, violent dictators). Haiti’s pre-earthquake orphan population has swelled with new orphans, quasi orphans, and potential orphans ripe for sex and servitude trafficking. Removal for adoption under current conditions is another form of trafficking.
We do not object to Haitian children, orphans and otherwise, being sent to credible and documented parents or family members in the US legally for temporary or permanent care depending on the circumstances. We do object to the unethical and possibly unlawful mass transfer of traumatized children, many with family status unknown, to foreign shelters and foster care, removed from their culture and language, with little hope of reunification. We also object to children being used as commercialized foreign policy pawns. Although Pedro Pan had positive outcomes for some, its intent and motives make it an illegitimate model for today’s Haitian earthquake child victims. Cold War politics destroyed Cuban families. Unchecked adoption industry greed, pap entitlement, and soft neo-colonial foreign policy cannot be permitted to disenfranchise a generation Haitian children.
Add Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar to the list of those pushing for prompt resumption of the processing of Haiti adoptions.
“We have been contacted by several Minnesota families with pending adoptions in Haiti,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar. “These families have been able to confirm that their children are safe. But we are now working with the State Department and Citizenship and Immigration Services to expedite these adoptions so the families can bring their children home safely.”
There is a companion volume to Shock Doctrine waiting to be written about international adoption.
A closer look at those “pipeline” adoptions is in order.
Some are nothing more than prospective adoptive couple going through the initial approval process, not matched to any specific child, and not approved at the time of the quake.
To fast track adoptions for couples early on in that pipeline process would be to potentially sidestep critically important background checks that had not been even begun in some cases.
To make matters worse, it appears at least one of the judges most familiar with current state of these cases died in the quake.
At this point, I’m unwilling to jump to any sweeping statements about those ‘pipeline’ cases who have begun the process but the precise phase their paperwork was in is undetermined.
In the year or so prior to the quake the process had slowed and dossiers were taking months to reach approval. To ram everything labeled “pipeline” through all at once puts those near the end of the process alongside those who had only begun seeking approval, when in fact they are two completely distinct positions that should not be equated.
BLC: I agree with your pipeline comment. I actually intended to write a little bit more about that, but couldn’t articulate it very well and left it at “might.” It’s dangerous territory to tred on. To me “pipeline” means “nearly completed” but as you point out it really means anything in process. And that’s not acceptable. Anything must be carefuly scrutinized and I think this is the last of the worries Haiti has at the moment.
J: thanks for the additional reference. You can bet that a lot of arm twisting is already happening. As we know from history, State is not beyond making outrageous demands to reach certain “diplomatic” goals.I’m also sure paps panic buttons, as they have in Guat, thus getting their customers to do their dirty work for them.
“Dutch Government allows new ‘Babylift’ operation to get children for adoption from Haiti”
“Like many adoption agencies and related organisations are preparing airlifts from Haiti, the Dutch Adoption Agency NAS and also the biggest adoption agency in the Netherlands, Wereldkinderen, is organising an joint private flight for getting children from Haiti in a fast track procedure. Ministry of Justice agreed upon this request and allows 56 children to be adopted in a situation of crisis in Haiti. “
Found via a discussion at Pound Pup Legacy:
Lots of links and info at both sites.
it’s tragic that it took an earthquake to get any kind of coverage and awareness out on the state of Haiti. I think cooler heads should prevail, I liken the response as ‘shotgun’ adoption. lest we forget there are many war torn and impoverished countries in this world with many orphans. the answer is never adoption, the answer is bringing aid and support to get these countries to where they need to be. i am uterrly disgusted altho not surprised adopters would see themselves as saviors and more international adoptions ruining childrens lives in the long run.as for the evangelical and backwards christians,they never miss an opportunity to remind us of why religion is so self centred and twisted
Anon Guy- yup caught that piece earlier today.
Looks like those who are in positions to are simply going to divide up the “spoils” of human misery and take whatever kids they can get their hands on.
Normally when discussing the commandeering of unaccompanied minors or displaced children concerns tend towards child traffickers or militant factions often within a country attempting to gather children or press them into military service.
There’s actually a fair amount of international groundwork opposing the commandeering of children in situations for such purposes in cases of international or domestic strife or in the aftermath of natural disaster.
But the notion of whole counties (and wealthy counties at that, on whom Haiti is going to be dependent for basic aid and survival) coming in to pick kids up off the streets and fly them thousands of miles from home before serious efforts have been made at personal identification, much less attempted extended family reunification? This is a human rights disaster.
It signifies an absolute willingness to capitalize upon the chaos to take advantage thereof. Ethics, and any notions of children’s basic rights be damned.
Shock Doctrine as applied in International Adoptionland indeed.
After all, it’s not as if Haiti is in any position to stop such at this point.
As a mother of 2 children adopted from Haiti, I am typically very alone in my opinions regarding Christianity and Haitian adoption. Your blog is very compelling.
I actually started a blog January 1st about our family’s journey to integrate Haitian Vodou into our lives. I’d be interested in your thoughts on this.
This last comment reminded me of a comment to my blog about searching for other relatives that might be in the US or other countries or that survived rather than making these children available for adoption. The commenter said that offering these children “better” homes was the “Christian” thing to do.
It would have been better had these children never been removed from their culture and kin. Right now, my neighbor is in Miami, frantically seeking word about the location of his little nephews so that he can take custody and keep these boys in their own family.
There are many. many worse things than growing up poor or non-Christian/American/Cspitslist.
Stop the baby-hungry vultures!!!!!
Updates from CNN:
“2:09 p.m. — At least 100 Haitian orphans set for adoption by Dutch families before last week’s devastating earthquake are expected to leave for the Netherlands on Monday, Dutch officials say.
5:02 p.m. — Like the Netherlands (see 2:09 p.m.), the United States is cutting red tape to speed up the adoptions of Haitian orphans who already were matched with adoptive parents before Tuesday’s earthquake. Of the 300 children with pending adoption cases with American families, 150 have already been sent to their parents in the United States, Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough said.“
Is this the start of the “babylift”?
More details from CNN:
“Haitian orphans rushed to new homes abroad”
January 17, 2010 6:40 p.m. EST
Of the 300 children with pending adoption cases with American families, 150 have already been sent to their parents in the United States, Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough said. Another six were awaiting their flight out Sunday afternoon.
The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs has chartered a plane to pick up about 100 children Monday, spokesman Aad Meijer told CNN.
Dutch Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin over the weekend granted the children entry into the country, although their paperwork, including travel and adoption documents, was incomplete, Justice Ministry spokesman Patrick Mikkelsen told CNN.
About 44 of the orphans’ adoptions had yet to be approved by a Haitian judge, even though they were matched to Dutch parents, Mikkelsen said. Dutch officials may seek the remaining approvals from Haiti once the children have already settled in the Netherlands, he added.
Some children who lost parents in the quake or were separated from parents are being relocated to the Dominican Republic, a child advocacy group said.
About 50 orphaned and abandoned children will arrive in the border town of Jimani on Wednesday, Kids Alive International said. The efforts, coordinated with the governments of both countries, will eventually take the children back to Haiti. Some will be reunited with parents who lost communication with their children in the quake’s aftermath, the group said.”
“US Citizens And Orphans Arrive From Haiti”
Posted: 7:12 pm EST January 17, 2010
“SANFORD, FLA — Another group of US citizens arrived at the Orlando-Sanford International Airport from Haiti, Sunday around 4 PM. It’s one of many expected here over the next couple of days.
Eighty-five American citizens who were in Haiti when the earthquake struck are back home. Nineteen children were also on board and will be given care by the Florida Department of Children and Families. And what these people went through is unimaginable.
The Orlando-Sanford International Airport is handling many rescue flights from Haiti. A military jet brought nearly 200 people back to the US yesterday and this flight was the second to arrive here Sunday.
They all got aboard a Continental plane in Port-au-Prince then went to the Dominican Republic to re-fuel.
Larry Dale, Sanford Airport President, says, “We expect ten flights next 48 hours.” Two military jets and a 747 were expected to land overnight, with another 767 survivors on board.
Twenty-three customs stations will be manned in the next couple of days to check people’s admissibility into the US.”
The Times Online (UK) notes in a revealing article:
“US immigration officials had been refusing to allow children into the country until next weekend. However, as Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, arrived to assure Haitians that America stood ready to help “in any way we can”, doctors managed to persuade the US authorities to allow in Jean, a four-month-old Haitian girl for treatment. The orphaned child has cut through immigration rules used to bar entry to the US for Haitians even in extreme circumstances.
The charity Medishare had been considering defying US immigration by putting Jean physically in the giant hands of Alonzo Mourning, a basketball star, who has given millions to the charity and spent three days last week clearing rubbish in its tented clinic in Port-au-Prince. “We wanted to have him on the plane and carry the kid through Customs,” Arthur Fournier, a founder of Medishare, said. In the event US officials relented. [sic]”
Among other things, it seems that the need to transport children (and adults) to the US for immediate medical care is being intertwined with bringing non-injured “orphans” to the US.
Shows 5 Haitian children from the BRESMA orphanage being taken by the USAF to the US. Apparently they are going to Florida, then Colorado, arranged by an agency and politicians in Pittsburgh.
Gary Tuchman, the CNN reporter, was talking live after the clip played on TV and seemed to be drunk, or incapacitated.
And so it starts.
I just sent you an email about that one, Marley. Anon Guy beat me to it. I watched a cargo plane coming in for a landing (I’m on the glide path for the Sanford, FL Int’l) and wondered. Then I read the story.
My neighbor’s nephews came into Miami on a plane with Americans being airlifted out. It pays to have connection. Now his attorney is working to establish legal custody.
Anon Guy: Thanksfor the CNN clip. I’m very curious about the Colorado connection. Colorado is a center of churchy wingnuttery.
Robin– that’s a dramatic story. I’m glad your neighbor found his nephews.
I just read a transcript of a White House briefing…look at this:
DENIS MCDONOUGH (Deputy NSA):
Why don’t we take one more question, and then I’ll have a wrap-up set of points for you all.
Q. Thank you, gentlemen, not only for doing this call, but also for all the work that you are doing in Haiti. My wife and I are in the process of adopting a little girl from Port-au-Prince, and I know that there’s quite a few orphanages throughout Haiti. Is there any plan to support the orphanages directly?
MR. McDONOUGH: Thank you, David. In fact, we’ve been working very closely throughout the course of the last couple of days with our counselor affairs office on ongoing adoptions. We are obviously also trying to make sure that orphanages have the resources that they need. But insofar as you have particular concerns about adoptions or counselor affairs, we can be sure to make sure that you can get information at the State Department Web site, state.gov/haitiquake. There has been an intense amount of interest done here — intense amount of work done here in the embassy today on this issue, because I think there are a lot of people focused on exactly this. And counselor affairs has dedicated personnel to addressing it in particular.
And I know that there’s 300 pending cases; 150 orphans have been taken to the U.S. and five orphans are pending transport to the United States today. So that’s part of the kind of overall effort that the embassy personnel here have been undertaking.”
So the White House reporter “David” just happens to be a PAP.
Pushback on adoption (too bad it’s not a US paper)
“Too early to begin adopting Haitian children, would-be parents told”
Sam Jones and agencies
guardian.co.uk, Monday 18 January 2010 22.17 GMT
“Children’s groups in the US have asked people to wait before trying to adopt Haitian orphans, warning that mass adoptions or airlifts could break up families and open the door to “fraud, abuse and trafficking”.
The Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS), a US advocacy organisation, said it had received 150 enquiries about Haitian adoption in the last three days. Usually there are 10 a month.
It also dismissed a plan from the Catholic archdiocese of Miami to airlift thousands of Haitian children displaced by the earthquake to Florida in an echo of the initiative that saw 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children begin new lives in the US in the early 1960s.
While it acknowledged that such rescue efforts came from an “obviously loving heart”, it pointed out they could be premature and dangerous.
“Bringing children into the US, either by airlift or new adoption during a time of national emergency, can open the door for fraud, abuse and trafficking,” JCICS said in a statement. “Every effort must be made in a timely fashion to locate living parents and extended family members. Many children who might appear to be orphaned may in fact be only temporarily separated from their family.”
Tom DiFilipo, president and CEO of JCICS, said: “If you see a child fall over on the sidewalk, your natural tendency is to pick it up. People are seeing the disaster in Haiti and they want to help so they call us and say: ‘We could take one of those children’. It’s a fabulous sentiment but it’s not good policy.”
The US National Council for Adoption said that it, too, discouraged “the altruistic practice commonly referred to as baby lifts”. It added: “Even in the name of humanitarian interest, we cannot risk the premature adoptions of vulnerable children who may have been separated from their families by this tragedy.
“Adoption agencies warned off Haiti’s orphans”
Um, yeah. . .I wanted to be sympathetic to the in-the-pipeline adoptions but you and others have pointed out some sobering things.
Let’s not forget as well that Haiti had already been cited by the Schuster Institute Int’l adoption project for corruption. Link is
Sorry if this is old news. Can’t read through everything right now.
“Adoption agencies warned off Haiti’s orphans”
DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano announces “humanitarian parole” status for Haitian adoptees:
“The “humanitarian parole policy” will be applied on a case-by-case basis to children legally confirmed as orphans eligible for adoption in another country by the Haitian government and who are being adopted by U.S. citizens.
Also eligible are children previously identified by an adoption service as eligible for inter-country adoption and who have been matched to prospective adoptive American parents, the Homeland Security Department said.”
Gov. Ed Rendell and other Pennsylvania politicians are on board a plane in Haiti that will bring back 61 adoptees, ages 1-4:
“About 90 other children from the orphanage are being taken in similar rescue missions conducted by the Dutch and French governments, he said.
The Pennsylvania mission was arranged with various agencies including the U.S. State Department, Department of Homeland Security and military.
“The reason the governor is personally on the plane is that the Haitian ambassador thought it was important to have someone of his stature on the plane so if the mission ran into difficulty he might be able to break down some of the barriers,” Mr. Tuma said.
Among those on board was Mary Carrasco, director of A Child’s Place in the Pittsburgh Mercy system, which provides care for children who are abused, neglected or in foster care. With her was a Haitian interpreter who speaks Creole to communicate with the children …”
Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania went to Haiti and is bringing back a whole gaggle of BRESMA “orphans” to Pittsburgh:
I made an earlier post about this, and the new “humanitarian parole” rule, but it disappeared.
The American White Savior Complex is in full gear. Seems today on CNN & MSNBC..the taking of Haitian children for adoption was reported once again in glowing words. Both showing clips of the White Saviors picking up their little black supposed orphans from the airports…to include dancing around the airport floor and speaking of all their *bonding* with “their” children. The display of this adoptor merriment against the clips of the dead, terribly injured and of course…those miscreant Haitians who don’t know how to behave 6 days after the earthquake, when they should be lining up patiently and quietly for food and water.(sarcasm quite intended) I was disgusted watching this wanton display of White Saviorness at the airport, a day of celebration, doncha’ know! Fucking disgusted is all I could feel watching this.
Gypsy, I totally agree. It’s really over the top, especially with the horror and death all around.
The big media outlets and some of the evangelical Christian groups are whipping the wannabe adoptive parents into a frenzy. And they are almost all white.
“Haiti adoption inquiries surge, but is now the best time?”
Globe and Mail Update
Published on Monday, Jan. 18, 2010 8:49PM EST
“Adoption agencies are seeing a spike in questions about Haiti, but chaos in the country means locating a child’s relatives could take months
The devastation created by Haiti’s massive earthquake is prompting countless Canadians to open their wallets for relief efforts. But some are hoping to go even further by rescuing newly orphaned children and giving them a home in Canada.
Adoption agencies in Canada say they are experiencing a spike in inquiries from people who want to know how they can adopt Haitian children.
“The phone’s been ringing, that’s for sure,” said Roberta Galbraith, executive director of Canadian Advocate for the Adoption of Children, a Manitoba-based adoption agency. Also “swamped” with about 700 requests is God’s Littlest Angels, a U.S.-based agency that operates an orphanage in Haiti and has status as a registered charity in Canada, co-ordinator Jean Bell said in an e-mail.
While these inquiries are well-meaning, adopting children in the wake of a natural disaster or other calamitous event can be extremely tricky, as well as raising some ethical issues. Adoption workers also say that would-be adoptive parents should be prepared to settle in for longer than normal waits.
But many experts say there should be a moratorium on new adoption applications, at least until the after the chaos settles.
The Joint Council on International Children’s Services, a U.S.-based advocacy group, said adopting or airlifting children out of Haiti right now could create a serious risk of fraud, abuse or trafficking. In addition, such efforts could undermine reunification with a child’s family.
“Every effort must be made in a timely fashion to locate living parents and extended family members,” says a statement on the group’s website. “Many children, who might appear to be orphaned, may in fact be only temporarily separated from their family. Once the situation in Haiti stabilizes and timely reunification has taken place, adoption may be an option for the children who remain outside of permanent parental care.”
The spike in adoption inquiries isn’t unique to Haiti’s earthquake, said Lorne Welwood, executive director of Hope Adoption Services in Abbotsford, B.C. Every time there’s a major disaster, such as the tsunami that hit Southeast Asia in 2004, people interested in adopting swamp agencies with calls. But many don’t realize that emergencies usually make already-lengthy adoption processes more onerous. Efforts to find a child’s family members could take months. And even if children are eligible for adoption, many child advocates say that removing them from their home environment during a disaster could be traumatizing.
“I think the interest is good [but] I think it’s somewhat naive and misguided,” Mr. Welwood said.
International adoptions have been popular in Canada for years. While a large number of Canadians have adopted Haitian children in the past, that figure has been eclipsed in recent years by adoptions from countries such as China. Ms. Galbraith said it’s a trend that could be explained, at least in part, by the onerous restrictions and long waiting periods that usually come with Haitian adoptions (although many other countries have also tightened their rules in recent years).
The federal government has said it will give priority treatment to Haitian children being adopted by Canadians in order to ensure they can be united with their new families as quickly as possible. Other countries, such as the United States and the Netherlands, have also sped up pending adoptions. Just yesterday, Dutch authorities sent a chartered plane to Haiti to pick up about 100 children in the process of being adopted.”
More info on the pipeline issue.
Napolitano can grant humanitarian parole into the United States to bring otherwise inadmissible individuals into the country for urgent humanitarian reasons or other emergencies.
The State Department said earlier Monday it is working with DHS and the Haitian government to process nearly 300 cases of Americans who are waiting to adopt Haitian children.
Of those, 200 cases are being accelerated. Twenty-four of those children, whose cases “were at the very end of the process” before the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti nearly a week ago, have departed Haiti and joined their new families after the embassy expedited processing for immigrant visas, said Michele Bond, deputy assistant secretary for American citizen services.
Department officials said Sunday that 150 children had already left Haiti, but corrected that number Monday.
Officials are reviewing every case individually to see where they are in the process, what actions have been taken in the case and whether the case can be accelerated, Bond said. The department said it will be announcing an adoption plan with travel specifics shortly.
If an American adoption case was early in the process, there is no guarantee of an accelerated adoption, Bond said. Examples of being early in the process would be if prospective parents have not been properly vetted; have not been matched with a specific child; or have been matched with a child but the Haitian government is still attempting to prove absolutely the child is an orphan.
The State Department is working with DHS to examine the documents in each case and show some flexibility, but this also requires the agreement of the Haitian government, she said.
Reading all this, it does sound like some sanity is prevailing and there is not going to be a “pierre pan” or other massive babylift, which is good news. If even NCFA is not pushing for it, it may not happen. maybe the powers that be have learned something from past disasters.
I really hate the “in the pipeline” image, but in a way it fits, sucking out a country’s precious natural resources for profit. It seems fair to let out those kids whose adoption process was almost complete already, and to not speed up the others because of the huge potential for abuse.
Also, I am tired of the hysteria of prospective adoptive parents and the supposed instant bonding to “their child” after only seeing a picture. Real connection and bonding takes time and shared experience. This is what Haitian families devastated by the earthquake had and lost in an instant. That is the real, deep, endless grief in this situation, not the disappointment of prospective adoptive parents. Yes, they have suffered a loss and need to grieve, but it is a loss of potential family, not of an actual family member. I wish the media would dwell less on prospective adoptive parents, they are not the real story or the real tragedy.
Why do people keep using the term “reunited” when talking about PAPS and the kids? I realize many of them met their prospective parents, but that is just silly.
INTEREST IN HAITIAN ADOPTIONS SKYROCKETS
Adoption agency gets 1000 calls for Haiti in one week
TULSA, OK — The plight of Haiti’s children has touched people all over the world and a Tulsa international adoption agency says they’ve seen a spike in calls from potential parents.
Dillion International says typically it handles about a dozen adoptions from Haiti. In the last week, they have had more than 1,000 inquiries about adopting children from the devastated country.
Tear-streaked, little faces of despair are calling to would-be parents all over the world.
Quebec holding new Haitian adoption requests over child smuggling fear
By Cheryl Cornacchia, Canwest News Service, Jan 19, 2010 9:02 pm
The Quebec government has put on hold all new adoption applications for Haitian children as part of an international effort to prevent a repeat of the child smuggling that occurred after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.
On Monday, a United Nations agency urged caution with any new adoptions, given that the events unfolding in Haiti make it impossible to verify the personal and family situation of children.
The provincial directive, effective immediately, applies to all new applications involving Haiti — not applications already processed by Quebec authorities and approved by the Haitian government.
The federal government has announced it will expedite pending applications by fast-tracking the visas and other paperwork that falls under federal jurisdiction at the end of the international adoption process.
Damage from the earthquake and aftershocks, however, is making it difficult for Canadian government officials on the ground in Haiti to work as fast as they would like, according to an official with Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Kelli Fraser said the adoption process was further complicated by the fact that the Haitian judge who processes adoption applications has reportedly been killed, and the building housing existing files has been destroyed.
Across Quebec, adoption agencies have seen a spike in the number of calls from residents wanting to open their homes to Haitian children. But despite the outpouring, provincial government officials said Tuesday that child trafficking remains a real threat and makes it necessary that the process be suspended temporarily.
“There will be no new dossiers opened,” at the moment, said Karine Whyte, a spokeswoman for Quebec’s department of social services.
Whyte said the situation is fluid and will be re-evaluated regularly.
In recent days, Canada’s Immigration Minister Jason Kenney also has pointed to confirmed reports out of Sri Lanka that child traffickers and kidnappers used the chaos of the situation to falsely adopt children after the 2004 tsunami.
“We can’t allow that to happen,” Kenney said over the weekend.
Although Whyte did not know how many adoption applications are currently underway, she said about 55 Haitian children are adopted by Quebec families annually.
When attempting to reach representatives from two accredited Quebec-based adoption agencies that have a long history of matching children from Haiti with Quebec families, their phone lines have been jammed and the voice mail boxes full.
The federal government, for its part, is asking all parents who have begun the adoption process of children in Haiti to call Citizenship and Immigration Canada at 1-888-242-2100, or look for updates of the situation being posted on the government’s website at cic.gc.ca.
I’m a first time visitor to your blog and I don’t disagree with much if what you say. I just don’t think I can subscribe bad intent to most of the actors in this play. They may be acting hastily without thinking through consequences, i.e. panicking, but that doesn’t make them evil. So before I can condemn their plan I’d like to hear yours. What Assuming the situation is as bad as it appears to be, what do we do? Do we do anything? Should we mind our own business? Would anything less be anything but colonialism? Should we leave the children to be protected by the Haitian government? Not with a straight face and clear conscience. Should we encourage Haitian adoptions of these children? Not enough time to engineer that cultural shift I’m afraid. Let them move into orphanages while we figure out everyone’s status and explore all possible familial connections? That could take years. And what orphanages exactly would we use? I would submit that perhaps you need to examine your position on this more closely. While it is easy to throw stones at those who act, especially when they call something “Pierre Pan”, I think it is your proposed inaction which is in fact more ridiculous. I’ve been a foster care attorney for 20 years, representing the kids. Families do abandon their children, even more so their brother’s and sister’s children. Children do get trafficked if left to wander around Port Au Prince. And Children left to grow up in post-quake Haiti without a family will have poor outcomes. Quick and decisive action will be required. Soon. Whoever makes that decision has a very difficult job, much more difficult than that of a cynical blogger.
Anon, the statements here are pretty much in line with the recent announcement by World Vision:
Aid agency urges temporary moratorium on newly instigated adoptions
Protecting, tracing and reuniting children with relatives must be first focus
Is this really such a cynical or unreasonable viewpoint?
Hello all, I am reporting in tonight as *Enemy #1*!!! My husband and I have actually indicated our potential interest in adopting a child and /or children from Haiti. (Actually, it’s worse than that: I am an adopter of three kids already!!!)
As a matter of fact, I have lots of sympathy with many of the more reasonable lines of thought expressed in this blog. I agree that any adoption from Haiti to the U.S. coming as a result of the earthquake *should* take much longer than usual. Given my past experience with adoption, I am guessing 2-3 years. I also agree that “blind” adoption, adoption that paints adopting parents as heroes or that tries to erase children’s past and their connections to their birth families/countries is damaging. And, I believe that transracial adoption in the U.S. raises another set of very serious issues.
But, folks, the experts are estimating possibly 10,000 orphans. Where do you think they will go??? Haiti was not prepared to deal with 10,000 extra orphans a week ago. It is much, much less so today. Let’s just say–for argument’s sake–that 24 months from now, there are 10,000 children without any family able to care for them. Where do you believe those children should end up?!?
Kids without any family or suitable next of kin who cannot be adopted by families in their own communities should be adopted elsewhere. Preferable to staying in an institution. JMHO. Probably not everyone here thinks that. But that is really not the issue being discussed here anyway. Those who worship Bastardette tend not to be the unreasonable anti-adoption lunatic fringe.
Well, osolomama, I agree with you that adoption into American families (though certainly creating new losses for the kids) would be preferable to staying in an institution. I think it’s important to be realistic, though… the alternative to adoption for this group of kids is *not* going to be institutional care. It is going to be prostitution / human trafficking / death. No offense, but I get the impression that no one here, including Bastardette, has ever *been* to Haiti, much less processing the complete devastation that now reigns there.
What we are talking about here is what is ethical and legal in adoption. We have seen already that the US and other Western powers are dividing the spoils of a ravaged country, the most valuable to them is other people’s children. Haiti is being raped of what little it has left.
Relief planes, reportedly have been turned away, in order for “important people” and politicians to fly in and fly out with their loot.
We see white people, heretofore disinterested in a very black country, suddenly want to adopt it’s children.
We see Ed Rendel’s wife processing adoptions in a makeshift “courtroom” on an airplane.
Come on! Does anyone think this is a good idea?
This kid grab puts Pedro Pan and the Vietname airlift to shame.
This is all about race and class, crisis capitalism,a sort of special “social service” for priviledge.
If anyone thinks that the BN Statement, what I or others here say personally, we are not out of line with what lots of organizations and people, much bigger than we say.
I have more to asy, but I’ve got to hook up to a teleconference with State on the Haiti situation.
I’ll be back in a few hours.
Anon, we seem to be talking at cross-purposes here. I have no objection to intercountry adoption if a child has no family or no one to assist in his or her community. I agree that given the situation and the general lack of infrastructure in Haiti, there aren’t going to be a lot of safe homes to place kids, nor much available personnel. The discussion here has been about the *premature* removal of children before family members can be accounted for, not rejecting adoption outright–at least that is my understanding. Yesterday, Save the Children, World Vision, and the British Red Cross made a similar plea for a “moratorium on new adoptions of children following last week’s quake until extended efforts have been made to trace and reunite them with their families.”
About approvals of the pipeline adoptions. I was thinking back to my own situation and a-parents who have been matched with a child should have copies of that paperwork themselves. Once you’re approved at one stage, you get another almighty piece of paper. This should address to some concerns the issue of the destruction of adoption papers in Haiti. Just something that occurred to me.
Miami Herald has an update with a lot of interesting quotes and info:
“Haiti’s orphans: What next?”
“A senior State Department official told adoption and immigrant advocacy groups Thursday that the Obama administration is weighing what policy to adopt regarding Haitian orphans and “vulnerable” children who have not already been adopted by American families.
“There is a task force at the State Department that is looking specifically at the longer-term issues — not the ones you’ve got to address in the first 10 days, but the ones that need to be worked on in six months and after that,” Michele Bond, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Overseas Citizens Services, said during a conference call with the advocates.
U.S. officials, and many non-governmental and adoption groups, have warned against acting too quickly to find homes for children orphaned or displaced by the quake. Among the significant hurdles: the quake destroyed virtually all of the struggling nation’s birth and parentage records, said Baltz.”
Also posted in the comments of the “VIP” story, above.