Racist Comments on Haiti Prompt Re-Post of Statement by Adoptees of Color Roundtable

As the title of this blog post states, some very rude and ignorant racial slurs were left in my inbox this past weekend. I have closed all sections to Comments as a result. Also, though I am of mixed white ethnic groups, I fully support adoptees of color. Here is a re-print of their excellent statement on adopting Haiti’s earthquake victim children:

http://www.adopteesofcolor.org/?page_id=14

Statement on Haiti

Jan 25, 2010

This statement reflects the position of an international community of adoptees of color who wish to pose a critical intervention in the discourse and actions affecting the child victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. We are domestic and international adoptees with many years of research and both personal and professional experience in adoption studies and activism. We are a community of scholars, activists, professors, artists, lawyers, social workers and health care workers who speak with the knowledge that North Americans and Europeans are lining up to adopt the “orphaned children” of the Haitian earthquake, and who feel compelled to voice our opinion about what it means to be “saved” or “rescued” through adoption.

We understand that in a time of crisis there is a tendency to want to act quickly to support those considered the most vulnerable and directly affected, including children. However, we urge caution in determining how best to help. We have arrived at a time when the licenses of adoption agencies in various countries are being reviewed for the widespread practice of misrepresenting the social histories of children. There is evidence of the production of documents stating that a child is “available for adoption” based on a legal “paper” and not literal orphaning as seen in recent cases of intercountry adoption of children from Malawi, Guatemala, South Korea and China. We bear testimony to the ways in which the intercountry adoption industry has profited from and reinforced neo-liberal structural adjustment policies, aid dependency, population control policies, unsustainable development, corruption, and child trafficking.

For more than fifty years “orphaned children” have been shipped from areas of war, natural disasters, and poverty to supposedly better lives in Europe and North America. Our adoptions from Vietnam, South Korea, Guatemala and many other countries are no different from what is happening to the children of Haiti today. Like us, these “disaster orphans” will grow into adulthood and begin to grasp the magnitude of the abuse, fraud, negligence, suffering, and deprivation of human rights involved in their displacements.

We uphold that Haitian children have a right to a family and a history that is their own and that Haitians themselves have a right to determine what happens to their own children. We resist the racist, colonialist mentality that positions the Western nuclear family as superior to other conceptions of family, and we seek to challenge those who abuse the phrase “Every child deserves a family”  to rethink how this phrase is used to justify the removal of children from Haiti for the fulfillment of their own needs and desires. Western and Northern desire for ownership of Haitian children directly contributes to the destruction of existing family and community structures in Haiti. This individualistic desire is supported by the historical and global anti-African sentiment which negates the validity of black mothers and fathers and condones the separation of black children from their families, cultures, and countries of origin.

As adoptees of color many of us have inherited a history of dubious adoptions. We are dismayed to hear that Haitian adoptions may be “fast-tracked” due to the massive destruction of buildings in Haiti that hold important records and documents. We oppose this plan and argue that the loss of records requires slowing down of the processes of adoption while important information is gathered and re-documented for these children. Removing children from Haiti without proper documentation and without proper reunification efforts is a violation of their basic human rights and leaves any family members who may be searching for them with no recourse. We insist on the absolute necessity of taking the time required to conduct a thorough search, and we support an expanded set of methods for creating these records, including recording oral histories.

We urge the international community to remember that the children in question have suffered the overwhelming trauma of the earthquake and separation from their loved ones. We have learned first-hand that adoption (domestic or intercountry) itself as a process forces children to negate their true feelings of grief, anger, pain or loss, and to assimilate to meet the desires and expectations of strangers. Immediate removal of traumatized children for adoption—including children whose adoptions were finalized prior to the quake— compounds their trauma, and denies their right to mourn and heal with the support of their community.

We affirm the spirit of Cultural Sovereignty, Sovereignty and Self-determination embodied as rights for all peoples to determine their own economic, social and cultural development included in the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Charter of the United Nations; the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The mobilization of European and North American courts, legislative bodies, and social work practices to implement forced removal through intercountry adoption is a direct challenge to cultural sovereignty. We support the legal and policy application of cultural rights such as rights to language, rights to ways of being/religion, collective existence, and a representation of Haiti’s histories and existence using Haiti’s own terms.

We offer this statement in solidarity with the people of Haiti and with all those who are seeking ways to intentionally support the long-term sustainability and self-determination of the Haitian people. As adoptees of color we bear a unique understanding of the trauma, and the sense of loss and abandonment that are part of the adoptee experience, and we demand that our voices be heard. All adoptions from Haiti must be stopped and all efforts to help children be refocused on giving aid to organizations working toward family reunification and caring for children in their own communities. We urge you to join us in supporting Haitian children’s rights to life, survival, and development within their own families and communities.

……………….

49 Comments follow on their website: http://www.adopteesofcolor.org/?p=6#respond

This one is my favorite:

“Comment by Leanne LeithJanuary 27, 2010 at 12:20 am”  

“Acts of benevolence by the color-blind privileged add yet another layer of violence to the personhood of vulnerable little people, compounding their losses. The redistribution of children of color is rooted in the marginalization of ethnic groups and the propensity to make fetish objects of their children. It is no charity to exploit a time of tragedy – or any time – to take a nation’s most valuable resource for personal gain.

It is a sad statement when those that capitalize on tragedy pat themselves on the back for their charity. The truly charitable would offer to help victims to help themselves. This feeding frenzy we are witnessing today by would-be child importers truly reveals the darkest aspects of man’s ability to rationalize the ugliest of acts.

It’s high time we respect the humanity of all peoples by preserving families and allowing them the dignity to build their own strong societies without the intervention of self-interested parties. THAT would be the action of an enlightened, advanced, civil society.”

And this one is second runner-up:

Comment by United Adoptees InternationalJanuary 26, 2010 at 9:10 am  

“…It is time that Adoptees all over the world become active and participate in the international and national adoptiondebate at all levels of society and decision making government bodies and show that the time of Infantilization and the monopoly on adoption by adopters and their politics is over.

The adoption triangle starts with the (intersts of) parents, not the adopters. It seems that everyone in the adoption debate forgot that. Including the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption.

We can change the world. Not by sitting down and wait, but to feel the power flowing within in us and everyone who is capable to understand what is really going on.”

 

Press Release: Layers of Trauma for Haiti’s Orphans: A Webinar featuring Dr. Bruce Perry

PLEASE FORWARD TO APPROPRIATE PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL CONTACTS
Adam Pertman, Executive Director

Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute

 

 Layers of Trauma for Haiti’s Orphans: A Webinar featuring Dr. Bruce Perry
 
Monday, February 1st, 2010 from 7:00 to 8:00 PM Central Time
(a recorded version will be available subsequently)

 

This free webinar features Bruce D. Perry M.D., Ph.D., the Senior Fellow at The Child Trauma Academy. He will discuss the likely impact of the many traumas children coming home from the orphanages in Haiti have experienced.

The webinar will help prepare families who are now awaiting or have already received placement under the United States’ expedited program.

Dr. Perry will cover the impact of the multiple traumas on this group of kids, explain what parents can expect, and give advice on how they can ease the transition for their child. The webinar will have practical advice for adoptive parents, adoption professionals, and interim caregivers.

Please forward this invitation to any family awaiting a placement from Haiti as well as staff and/or interim caregivers for these children. In order to give priority to families who will benefit the most from this live webinar, we ask that you refrain from inviting those who are just starting to explore the option of adopting from Haiti.

Dr. Perry will address specific trauma-related questions from the audience as time allows. We ask that you submit questions in advance through the registration form.

PLEASE NOTE: this session is intended for those families who were in process of adopting from Haiti prior to the earthquake and are therefore receiving an expedited placement of their child. The Haitian adoption process itself as well as advice for those looking to start the process of adopting from Haiti will not be covered.

This webinar is brought to you by Adoption Learning Partners, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, the Joint Council on International Children’s Services and Heart of the Matter Seminars.

To register, please click the register button below:

click here 

 

Local Woman and Pre-Adoptive Son Survive Earthquake; Boy and 5 Other Orphans Arrive Miami

Buffalo, New York, USA

1-28-2010

The experience of surviving the earthquake in Haiti is indeed traumatic. I’m glad she and her soon-to-be-adopted-son are alive. They will be coping with that horrendous experience for the rest of their lives.

But that’s not the whole story.

What troubles me is the unsettling details of this boy’s journey from Haiti, to Miami, Florida and then to an undisclosed location, and soon to be in my home town. The pre-adoptive mother is a teacher for a school just down the street from my home. The pre-adoptive father is a lawyer (go figure). They live in a southern suburb of Buffalo.

No indication of where the other 5 children are going when they leave Miami.

One of the Pod-casts below states that there are 254 US families in line to adopt Haitian children. Does this mean these adoptions were already in process? Or are these new families who rushed in immediately after the earthquake?

With all the coverage of adoptions that were in the process before the earthquake, and after, I find this story troubling. Local media sensationalizes and glorifies this couple. Comments of “how wonderful of you to adopt…” and, strangers saying “thank you” to them as if this couple is protecting the larger society’s interests somehow. This just adds more fuel to the fire – to the myths of savior adoptions – that we in the adoption reform community must dispel.

This couple, indeed, had developed a relationship with this three year old boy over the course of several visits and extended time. Links to the pod-casts and newsprint article below tell their story.

It is clear that they had “attached” to each other — not “bonded”as so many people say. Bonding is actually a scientific term. Bonding ONLY happens between a pregnant mother and her child. Bonding is the reciprocal relationship between that mother and her child and NO ONE else. Bonding continues through pregnancy, the birth process, breastfeeding, eye contact, body smells and touch, and continues for about three months. Socialization with the father and other siblings and other family members BEGINS while the infant is in utero as the sense of hearing familiarizes the pre-born infant with voices. Socialization and attachment occur AFTER birth. (Ken Watson, lecture at an American Adoption Congress circa 1989).

So, now, we have a little boy called Geoffrey by his adopting parents. We don’t know anything about his name at birth, the name he went by before his adopting parents came along and spotted him in an orphanage. We don’t know anything about his parents of birth; if he has any siblings nor do we know if he has any extended blood kin family, as in cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. Nothing is said about his birth certificate in Haiti. Nothing is said about what the adoption process does to his personal identification papers, or his loss of connection with any of his blood kin family, or his loss of his native culture and language. Instead of being a Haitian citizen, he will now be erroneously be identified as an “African-American” by sight-analysis alone.

It is simply assumed that Geoffrey is his American name.

But what happens with his Haitian birth certificate? Is that placed under seal, as any domestic adoptee’s birth certificate is sealed forever from all domestic adoptees? From what I know about foreign-born adoptees, a “new” birth certificate will be made in his new adoptive name, and his parents of birth will be replaced, legally, by the names of the two people who are adopting him.

Something is wrong with that picture.

Should anyone be allowed to alter the material facts of life for a minor child? This is stealing his right to his name, his country and place of birth, his true blood parentage, and his human right to his name at birth and to his parents and family of birth.

We, in America, still hold onto the myth that adopting parents replace the parents of birth. In reality, they do not.

Other countries, such as The Netherlands, recognize the importance of a child’s birth identity. While the child still loses her legal right to her birth name, and takes on the legal right to be given a new adoptive name, such an exchange is legally documented with an Adoption Certificate, not a NEW “Certificate of Live Birth”, as we do in the United States.

One cannot, or should not, tamper with anyone’s facts of life and papers documenting birth, adoption, marriage, death.

The adoptee must cope with the realities of a dual identity in the face of legal documentation that proves she, or he, has only one set of real parents. The legal paperwork contradicts what each and every adoptee must emotionally deal with every day for the rest of her life after being “rescued” by “wonderful” and “generous” adopting parents.

The United Nations Rights of the Child states:

  • Article 7 (Registration, name, nationality, care): All children have the right to a legally registered name, officially recognised by the government. Children have the right to a nationality (to belong to a country). Children also have the right to know and, as far as possible, to be cared for by their parents.
  • Article 8 (Preservation of identity): Children have the right to an identity – an official record of who they are. Governments should respect children’s right to a name, a nationality and family ties.
  • Article 9 (Separation from parents): Children have the right to live with their parent(s), unless it is bad for them. Children whose parents do not live together have the right to stay in contact with both parents, unless this might hurt the child.
  • Article 10 (Family reunification): Families whose members live in different countries should be allowed to move between those countries so that parents and children can stay in contact, or get back together as a family.
  • Article 11 (Kidnapping): Governments should take steps to stop children being taken out of their own country illegally. This article is particularly concerned with parental abductions. The Convention’s Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography has a provision that concerns abduction for financial gain.
  • Article 16 (Right to privacy): Children have a right to privacy. The law should protect them from attacks against their way of life, their good name, their families and their homes.
  • Article 20 (Children deprived of family environment): Children who cannot be looked after by their own family have a right to special care and must be looked after properly, by people who respect their ethnic group, religion, culture and language.
  • Article 21 (Adoption): Children have the right to care and protection if they are adopted or in foster care. The first concern must be what is best for them. The same rules should apply whether they are adopted in the country where they were born, or if they are taken to live in another country.
  • Article 22 (Refugee children): Children have the right to special protection and help if they are refugees (if they have been forced to leave their home and live in another country), as well as all the rights in this Convention.

It is interesting to note that the United States has NOT ratified the international treaty of The United Nations Rights of the Child. Could it be because we Americans profit by the multi-billion dollar adoption business that deals with the trade of human children from one family to another, from one country to another, without giving FULL consideration and respect due to the rights of the very children Americans are so quick to snatch up?

I urge all people who read this post to read the very important statement issued yesterday by Adoptees of Color Roundtable. This is clearly an appeal by adoptees of different races who oppose the rush to adopt Haiti’s children by white, affluent people. There IS racial discrimination in America, and these Haitian children, whether we want to admit it or not, will face the indignation of racial tensions even with the best of intentions of their adopting parents.

Now, here is the information on the couple from Buffalo, New York (USA) who is in the process of adopting a Haitian toddler:

 Series of 3 NPR Pod-casts tell their story:

 A print story appeared 1-27-2010 in The Buffalo News online, Comments needed.

BASTARD NATION STATEMENT ON HAITIAN ADOPTIONS AND “BABYLIFTS”

http://bastardnation.blogspot.com/

http://bastardnation.blogspot.com/2010/01/bastard-nation-statement-on-haitian.html

Tuesday, January 19, 2010 

BASTARD NATION STATEMENT ON HAITIAN ADOPTIONS AND “BABYLIFTS”
Please distribute freely

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.

Guest Post- HAITIAN ORPHANS, ADOPTEES & THEIR UNKNOWN U.S.BABY BROKERS & TRAFFICKERS

by Lori Carangelo of AmFOR – Americans For Open Records.

http://www.amfor.net/babybrokers/#haiti

     Haitian born adoptees currently being adopted in the U.S., Canada and France will have a difficult time when they begin searching for answers to “Who am I?” and “Are my parents looking for me?”  On 1-7-10, a 7.0 earthquake destroyed Port-au-Prince, Haiti, killing an estimated 200,000 inhabitants and leaving [at least] tens of thousands of children assumed orphaned, in addition to about 380,000 pre-earthquake orphans (estimates are by UNICEF).  American would-be adopters, the Catholic Church, international adoption agencies and independent adoption facilitators applied pressure on the Haitian government in order to airlift the alleged orphans before anyone could confirm whether their parents or relatives are still alive — At this writing, the first 500 or so alleged orphans were airlifted to the U.S. (according to the U.S. State Department)and 900 children were in process of being adopted from Haiti and placed in U.S. homes.
     According to The Toronto Star (in “First Haitian Orphans To Arrive Today” by Allan Woods, 1-24-10), “In all, 154 Haitian children were approved in a fast-track adoption process, agreed to by the Canadian and Haitian governments…  Officials suspect many orphans, either given up for adoption at birth, or those who lost parents in the earthquake, are being illegally spirited out of their homeland by childless families or organized traffickers [or sexual predators] hoping to profit from Haiti’s administrative chaos… making it difficult to say how many children may have been snatched from hospitals, streets or orphanages in this battered city, or where they are going… The earthquake brought down the government building that housed all those records; it also killed the judge responsible for giving final approval to adoptions.”
    It is known that 53 children were airlifted to Pittsburgh (ABC World News, 1-19-10) and Catholic leaders pushed both Haitian and U.S. governments to airlift [an unknown number of]children to South MiamiHaitians have long been frustrated by what some call a “double standard” that allows Cubans who touch dry land [Miami] to stay in the U.S. while Haitians who came illegally must hide in the shadows or face deportation. “Haitian parents with American-born children have been deported, even if there is no other parent in the country to care for them,” said the Rev. Roland Desormeaux of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a Delray Beach church with a large Haitian membership. Children born [or adopted] in the United States are automatically U.S. citizens, so they get to stay.  [AmFOR Note:  At this wriing, Haiti has halted the “free for all” airlifting of children for U.S. adoptions but given the high numbers of unattended children, they will continue to be taken whether Haiti approves or not.  

The U.S. is the largest market for stolen children in the world [as reported by the United Nations Rights of the Child Project].  One wonders whether the same number of Haitian children would be stolen for “legal guardianships” that would allow future changes and are not as profitable or as politically correct as the “done deal” of permanent, sealed adoption.]

United Adoptees International Says Adoption is a Last Resort Not First Aid

UAI-United Adoptees International Responds to Expedited Dutch Adoptions as Not “Humanitarian Aid”. This is an example of what Not to do “for” Haiti’s children:

THE NETHERLANDS, Amsterdam, January 18, 2010 – Following the humanitarian disaster in Haiti, humanitarian aid is on its way, but also; expedited adoptions, possible abduction of children and forced relinquishment for intercountry adoptions to the West. The removal of children in times of disasters and wars under the guise of adoption, according to the vision of United Adoptees International (UAI), is not the right form of humanitarian aid. Concerning Haiti, the reaction of the Dutch government is an irresponsible response to the situation in Haiti where currently monitoring and surveillance cannot even be maintained. However, the Dutch government has decided that adoption will be the first priority and already agreed to 110 adoptions from Haiti. Of these, 56 adoptions were approved by the Ministry of Justice in an accelerated manner, arguing that these were already in the ‘pipeline’. Due to this, the Nederlandse Adoptie Stichting (NAS) and the largest Dutch agency Wereldkinderen, under pressure from prospective adoptive parents, took their chance to put pressure to get even more (risky) adoptions from Haiti.The facts and history teach us that adoptions from Haiti are risky and generally carelessly made. In 2003 the Dutch Youth Inspection called then for a strict control, after several reports of careless adoptions from a Dutch Adoption Agency. In 2005 a Unicef report warned for high risks regarding adoption from Haiti also.
At that time the Dutch agency had to close their dubious adoptions from Haiti.

 
Subsequently, the UAI reported on May 13, 2008 in the media about about a dramatic adoption from the same agency who opened another channel in Haiti, that was illustrative for multiple adoptions from Haiti. An adoptive couple told their story during a national TV broadcast of EénVandaag. They showed an Adoptee from Haiti who will probably stay the rest of her life in a mental hospital in the Netherlands.

Given the terrible disaster and the appalling situation in Haiti, the current “baby lift” operation is inspired only by emotion and a neo-colonialist way of thinking: “Our children are better off in the West ” as one of the Adoption Agencies involved in the ‘Babylift’ claimed. Just in these situations ,the UAI considers it no more than wise and logic to go through the required procedures, especially in the situation of chaos.

In times of disasters and wars, every time again it appears that children are moved prematurely to the West, before governments know how to deal with the disaster itself. The term ‘baby lift’ operations was originated during the Vietnam war in the seventies, where children were flown per aircraft to the United States. Without checking whether the children were actually orphans or relinquished by their parents. Many Vietnamese parents have searched for years unsuccessfully for their stolen children. But that is not where it stopped, still these kind of activities are still taking place and a recent example is Zoe’s Ark. A French ‘relie’f organisation which attempted to smuggle one hundred children from Chad for intercountry adoption under the guise of humanitarian aid.

NGO’s like the Red Cross, Unicef and World Vision, continuously calls at times for a temporary stop of adoption or a careful approach in times of crisis. These institutes simply need more time to get children back to their parents or to reunite with their family. The UAI in the mean time, made contact with several aid agencies including Plan Netherlands and asked them for their point of view on the disaster in Haiti. They are highly concerned about the situation in Haiti and in particular the high risk of child abduction. Since 1973, Plan Netherlands has worked in Haiti and has 143 employees on the spot. It is one of the largest development organisations. During disaster like these Plan has, in addition to providing medical and other resources, as first priority the protection of children to prevent the exploitation, abduction and abuse. From personal experience Plan knows that in times of crisis, the risk of abduction of children can be very high.

The UAI, therefore, considers the response of the Dutch government premature and not very considerate but too much motivated by emotions instead of properly thinking through the long term consequences for the Adoptees and their Haitian families. And after all the adoption scandals of recent years, one would have expected that the Netherlands now would had learned their lesson in this area. But the reality now shows an opposite picture. And the question is, whether that is really in the interests of children and parents in Haiti.

Adoption is a last resort, not first aid

 

SOS Cautions Against Premature Adoption of Haitian Children

Email received today: Date: Wednesday, January 20, 2010, 5:22 PM

SOS believes that brothers and sisters should always stay together.

Dear Joan, 

 
 

Nature was cruel enough to turn children into orphans in a matter of minutes. But mere minutes cannot determine the future of these orphaned children. The global community must now be responsible enough to take the time to determine these children’s fates.

You may have seen in the last several days a planeload of orphans from Haiti making their way to Pennsylvania, undoubtedly to be adopted by parents in the U.S. This is a wonderful story of survival, rescue and adoption. But it’s not the whole story…

These particular children already had adoptive parents waiting to raise them with love and security. They presumably had been through the process that determined that no close relatives existed to take them in. Haitian children who have just lost their parents in the earthquake have not been through any such process.

In the weeks ahead you will see many stories about what should happen to these children. This is our position.

Our Position on this Sensitive Issue:

*    SOS Children’s Villages believes in the rights of every child, including orphaned children.

*    We believe that a coordinated approach needs to be taken by relief agencies in Haiti to identify, register and document unaccompanied children as quickly as possible.

*    We believe in the earliest possible reunification between children and their families.

*    We caution ALL ORGANIZATIONS working in Haiti against making premature decisions on permanent care (adoption) of orphaned children.

*    We believe that siblings should always stay together.

*   We believe that a parental figure should always be present.

*    This is absolutely a sensitive and complex issue … but decisions made now will impact these children for the rest of their lives. Shouldn’t the first consideration be family ties — brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles? If there is a chance at reunification with parents or close relatives, isn’t that the best option?

If there is a chance that siblings could stay together and grow up together, isn’t that better than being split apart?

SOS Children’s Villages will remain in Haiti for the long-term. We will provide secure, stable homes for orphans as they mature. We will prepare them for lives as independent adults. Please support SOS as we pave the way for a brighter future for these orphans. Sponsor a Disaster Orphan now.

Heather Paul
Executive Director

SOS Children’s Villages – USA
1001 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 1250
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 1 888-SOS-4KIDS or 202-347-7920

Help the Orphans of Haiti Without Adopting Them Out of Their Homeland by Donating to SOS Children’s Villages

This message arrived in my email today.

It IS possible to provide for suffering children in Haiti by providing care right in their homeland. SOS Children’s Villages has been providing such care for children – especially sibling groups – and their extended families for 60 years. — Without permanent separation from their homeland and their extended families by closed adoption by foreigners.

SOS Children’s Villages is in complete support of the United Nations Rights of the Child.

 

Dear Joan,

Where will they go? Where will the thousands of children who have lost their parents in the Haiti earthquake go? This is the question that we have all begun to struggle with and address as the real devastation becomes clearer. Will they stay in their own country? Will they be placed with relatives, or temporary holding facilities, or be adopted by Americans and Europeans? Will brothers and sister stay together, or be pulled apart?

You, as an SOS supporter, already know what we collectively think about these issues. We believe that extended family should always be the first refuge of an orphaned child. We believe strongly that siblings should stay together. We believe that a Mother figure should always be present. Based on these guiding principles, that have been part of the SOS culture for 60 years, we will address the orphan crisis unfolding in Haiti. You already know what we’ve been doing as immediate concerns for children’s health and safety:

 *   Made a shipment of ten tons of supplies, that arrived yesterday in Haiti. These supplies included water, canned food, medicines, tents, sleeping bags, lamps, shovels and metal scissors. Created temporary shelters for unaccompanied childrenin the SOS villages in Santo and Cap Haitian.

 *   Begun to provide trauma counseling to child survivors; this effort is being escalated with the arrival of SOS child counseling experts from Costa Rica into the affected area.

 *   SOS is on the ground, helping to address the immediate needs of the people of Haiti, especially children. We will also be in Haiti for a long time to come. SOS Children’s Villages has operated programs in Haiti for 30 years. We will be with the children who have just lost their parents for many years to come. We will watch them grow up. We will care for them. Let’s make sure the right decisions are made for these children.

Help support SOS as we provide immediate assistance, as well as begin to address the unfolding crisis for the children who have lost their parents.

Heather Paul
Executive Director
SOS Children’s Villages – USA

P.S. Please help SOS to continue saving the lives of those in need in and around our Villages in Haiti. Donate now.

SOS Children’s Villages – USA
1001
Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 1250
Washington, DC 20036
Phone:
1 888-SOS-4KIDS or 202-347-7920