Wednesday, January 20, 2010

My heart goes out to all the children & orphans of Haiti!

I am thinking of all the children in Haiti all the time, children who are lost and hungry, maybe even hurt and walking around without any parents or family in Haiti, and it breaks my heart! Also thinking of the orphans who are waiting to be adopted. Must be a terrifying experience for all these precious children and adopted parents!! What if you were in a position that you are on the waiting list or already matched with a child from Haiti? How devastating you must be! You want your child as soon as possible.... catch a plane and get the child yourself, but of course that is not even possible, but the feeling that rages inside you must be just heartbreaking!!

I found this article here and wanted to share it with you:

Haiti Q&A: The ethics of disaster adoption

Q. How many orphans are there in Haiti?

A. There were already about 380,000 orphaned children in Haiti before the earthquake. The Caribbean island, which has a population of about 10 million, may now have more than a million children without parents.

A. Adoption agencies around the world have been flooded by enquiries from the public about adopting Haitian orphans. The Joint Council on International Children's Services (JCICS), a US advocacy organisation, says it has received 150 enquiries about Haitian adoption in the past three days, compared with about 10 a month usually. Some children – who were already in the final stages of being adopted by overseas parents when the quake struck – have already been airlifted out of Haiti, and the US has eased restrictions as a humanitarian gesture, as have France and Canada.

A chartered Dutch plane will arrive in Haiti today to airlift 109 more children, most of whom have already been matched with families in the Netherlands but whose adoptions have now been fast-tracked. Meanwhile, 53 orphans have already been flown to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Indiana-based Kids Alive International, which runs orphanages around the world, is expected to take 50 Haitian orphans to group homes in the Dominican Republic. The Catholic Church in Miami has asked the US government to allow thousands of orphaned Haitians to settle in America, in a scheme modelled on an initiative for Cuba, Operation Pedro Pan, in the Sixties. Under that scheme, 14,000 unaccompanied Cuban children, offspring of parents who opposed Fidel Castro's government, began new lives in the US.

Q. Is it ethical to relocate children from disaster zones?

A. There are honourable precedents such as the Kindertransport programme during the Second World War, which saved 10,000 Jewish children by bringing them from Nazi Germany to Britain. But children's advocacy groups warn against mass airlifts of youngsters overseas in the wake of natural disasters. They cite the 2004 tsunami and the Kashmir earthquake in 2005, arguing that the clamour surrounding children created a legal and ethical free-for-all.

Given the chaotic state of communications in Haiti right now, a big fear is that some children may be shipped overseas without proper checks to see if any extended family members are alive.

Q. Could any of them be evacuated to safety, or even to a better life abroad?

As for the impact on small children, some experts believe foreign adoptions, or being taken into care in an unfamiliar environment, could be psychologically traumatic. SOS Children's Villages, the children's charity has issued a warning that uprooting children in such situations can be stressful and unsettling, and lead to long-term psychological problems for infants who are expected to grow up in an alien culture.

"When you see any child who has lost their family on the news, your natural instinct is to want to go and pick them up and cherish them," it said. "Sometimes international adoption is the right solution for a child, but far more often it is not."

Adoption expert Professor René Hoksbergen, of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, also warns that the hurried evacuation of children may send the wrong signal, encouraging people to assume that children in chaotic situations can be easily relocated. Some of the children evacuated from Cuba under Operation Pedro Pan ended up stranded in remote parts of the US, far from other Cubans, and have since spoken of how the experience scarred them.

Q. Is there a better way?

A. Charities argue that it is more important to register all children, trace any extended family members, and work to rebuild the country rather than removing youngsters from their homeland. Unicef says its priority is to ensure that children affected by the earthquake get the help they need. "While both airlifts and new adoptions are based on valid concerns and come from an obviously loving heart, neither option is considered viable by any credible child welfare organisation," says the JCICS. "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."

Article by Sarah Cassidy, photo credits by Jan Sochor.

Please help Haiti, there are many different organisations out there who need your donation!



Leah and Maya said...

its just a bad situation with no real answer, its just awful.

Annie said...

Hi Mireille- This is definitely food for thought! I may be wrong, but i thought they are only planning on transporting the many numbers of long waiting orphans who were already officially considered legal orphans from orphanages with the help of orphanage directors. Then they will make room for the "earthquake orphans" that will need a place to live until they find any living relatives if possible. I do agree they should not transport out any orphans from this newest disaster or any immediate disaster, because there is a possibility of living relatives! With all of this in mind, it is my opinion that because of the great possibility that these children may not make it much longer living in the yards with limited resources and help, and with people coming in already and stealing what food they have left at gunpoint, that we should err on the side of saving their lives over possible trauma from adoption. They have already experienced trauma to a great extent. There will be fear and issues either way, but at least love and nurture with have a chance to win over sickness and hunger. You're right though, there's no real perfect answer!


Related Posts with Thumbnails