I’ve blogged twice before about the injustice and utter absurdity of the Haitian adoption process.
In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, the US government announced that it would allow Haitian orphans who are already in the adoption process to travel to the US on humanitarian parole visas, to be with their adoptive parents, without the necessity of Haitian passports or visas. Thank God this good sense finally prevailed, and it is a pity that it took a tragedy like this to make that happen. Many of these American parents had been waiting years to be united with their children, despite having long satisfied all the obligations of prospective adoptive parents.
Hopefully the US will now proceed to the next logical step, which is to allow US parents to bring Haitian orphans out of Haiti without the necessity of going through the Haitian bureaucracy, which is now in rubble in Port-au-Prince.
In the past few days, I have been stunned to see organizations like World Vision advocating an immediate moratorium on Haitian adoption. And Haitian bureaucrats are declaring that no more Haitian children will be allowed to leave the country.
There were nearly a half million orphans in Haiti before the earthquake. The destitute Haitian people were unable to care for these children and the Haitian government didn’t even try. To this sea of orphaned and abandoned children must now be added the hundreds of thousands orphaned by the earthquake. Where will they live? Who will feed and protect them? Who will educate and love them?
Sadly, even in this tragedy, those innocent children remain pawns in governmental games.
The beginning of a solution is obvious. Once a child in Haiti has been determined to be an orphan or to be abandoned, that child should be eligible for immediate adoption to any American parents who have already satisfied the U.S. screening process and been deemed fit to adopt. Those parents should not be required to submit to review by Haitian authorities–a corrupt, incompetently managed procedure that takes years to complete.
I am encouraged by the fact that the world is now focused on the plight of these children. Just this morning I noticed that the lead article on cnn.com is about restavecs, the hundreds of thousands of Haitian children kept in slavery there.
Let’s hope that the world doesn’t forget these children once Haiti is no longer in the headlines.