Article from Blog from Christian Alliance for Orphans
Haiti: Inter-Country Adoption and Evils on the GroundMarch 3, 2010 in Adoption,
Haiti and Orphans, International Orphan Care | Comments (0)
Tags: Adoption, Haiti, orphan
Two news items—one via blog and the other a newspaper report—came on the same
day recently. It would seem that their jarring contents must be coming from
different parts of the world. But both come from Haiti.
From Paul Myhill's blog:
"I need to tell you something," the teary-eyed girl said to Campus Crusade's
country director for Haiti, Esperandieu Pierre, during his recent visit to one
of the tented camps near a hospital in Port-au-Prince.
The nine year-old orphan had been raped by multiple men.
After taking her to the hospital, Esperandieu was told by the nurse that the
rape of a child, especially an orphan, is now a "common event" that she sees
On the same day as this post, an article in the Wall Street Journal began:
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti—In the aftermath of the earthquake, scores of
unaccompanied Haitian children are living in fetid tent camps here. A few miles
away, Dixie Bickel, an American nurse, is having trouble filling dozens of empty
beds at her tidy orphanage.
Haiti's welfare agency stopped sending kids there on the advice of the United
Nations Children's Fund, or UNICEF, Ms. Bickel says. The UN agency worries that
many children have been temporarily displaced by the quake. Putting them in
orphanages like Ms. Bickel's could lead to adoptions overseas that separate them
from family here …
What Can We Conclude?
The simple truth is that commitment to family reunification and other in-country
efforts to care for orphans should not be viewed as contradictory to viewing
inter-country adoption as the very best option for some children. The tension
between the two needs to be shown for what it is: a false dichotomy.
Certainly, if there is a reasonable chance that a child could be reunited to
with living parents, that option should be the first priority. No child should
be taken out of a country in the immediate aftermath of disaster, unless he or
she was known to be an orphan before the disaster struck. I have little doubt
that Dixie Bickel shares this perspective as well.
In reality, however, the pretext of protecting children from human trafficking
or other evils is actually locking them into situations that are tremendously
unsafe. It is time for the U.N. to stop presenting inter-country adoption and
reunification as mutually exclusive activities.
Reunification efforts should be aggressive and thorough. Meanwhile, efforts can
also be initiated that will identify those children that truly have no options
for being raised in a family locally. Such children should not be relegated to
life on the streets or in an orphanage simply because many—including myself—hope
that someday there will be much better options for in-country care than now
exist. We should pursue that future doggedly. But until every child can be
part of a family in Haiti, we cannot allow pursuit of this dream to force a
generation to grow up without one.