According to President Michel Martelly adoption of Haitian children is going to change dramatically. A law has already passed in the Chamber of Deputies and awaits passage in the Senate. From now on adoptions will go through authorized institutional processes as the Hague Convention outlines. Private adoptions will no longer be allowed.
Adoption from Haiti has never been easy. Before the earthquake it would often take years and intense bureaucracy before an adoption was completed. After the disastrous earthquake 1,090 children were brought from Haiti to the U.Si; most of them were already in the process of being adopted by American parents.. Although there was criticism of this move by the American government to expedite these adoptions, I believe it was the right decision.
Haiti is an impoverished country, the poorest in the Americas with almost no natural resources. According to “Merlin” most Haitians live on less than $2 a day. The population is vulnerable, especially the children. It is not unusual for children to be sold into slavery or prostitution. After the earthquake over 200,000 people were dead and eight hospitals and health centers collapsed. A year after the earthquake more than 800,000 people were still living in temporary shelters.
According to the Department of Homeland Security there were 179 adoptions from Haiti in 2010. None of the children were under the age of 1. In the 1-4 year bracket 74 children were adopted. In the over 5 bracket, 105 children were adopted. It is hard to estimate exactly how many orphans there are in Haiti today, but no doubt there are many. It behooves Haiti to have an organized, transparent and ethical adoption system in place, but with total awareness that unparented children are frighteningly vulnerable in Haiti right now, and the sooner homes are found for these children, the better.
Image Credit: Alexandra McNichols (all rights reserved)