Update February 3: No Haitian orphans going to San Antonio, yet, here.
In the wake of the horrible earthquake in Haiti we have reported on efforts of do-gooders to round-up the “orphans” and bring them to the US. Most notably it was all over the news about Pennsylvania Democratic Governor Ed Rendell organizing a mission within days of the quake to bring 50-plus orphans to PA. Also, Catholic Charities was getting in gear for a massive recreation of Operation Pedro Pan.
Now comes a report that cooler heads are prevailing, and agencies such as the International Rescue Committee (I can’t believe I’m agreeing with the IRC and this radical publication!*) are obviously at odds with Catholic Charities.
International Social Services and the International Rescue Committee concur, stating “in general, international adoption should not take place in a situation of war or natural disaster, given that these events make it impossible to verify the personal and family situation of children. Any operation to adopt or to evacuate children that are victims of the earthquake to another country must be absolutely avoided, as was the case during the 2004 tsunami….”
A professor in the Netherlands tells readers to follow the money!
The Quebec government has followed the advise of these experts, putting a hold on new adoption applications for Haitian children while the U.S. and the Dutch have sent planes to bring children out of Haiti in the midst of the recovery efforts despite Professor Rene Hoksbergen of Utrecht University, the Netherlands, warning that authorities should take great care in dealing with orphans from such a disaster, fearing the hurried evacuation could send a wrong signal.
“You have to be very careful in adopting these children from a country in chaos,” he said. “It might look like when a country is a disaster it is easy to adopt children there.” Worse still is the fear of all NGOs of corrupt baby brokers and opportunistic child traffickers using such disasters to their advantage.
When confused by pro and con statements about adoption, with both sides claiming to have the best interest of children at heart…follow the money.
Adoption agencies, even religious and non-profit rely on the redistribution of children to pay their bills, including salaries. This motivates their “concerns.” They have lobbyists that pressure government into quick “feel good” bills and “rescue” actions that don’t always look so quite so good in hindsight, and by those “rescued” and their families – or snatched – depending on your point of view.
I’ll reiterate my opinion, with all this foreign concern and presumably funds, these agencies should set up first rate orphanages in Haiti and make every effort to reunite Haitian children with their families, a project that might take a couple of years.
* Read the whole article. I think they have picked a few cases, and possibly overstated them, where “orphans” were hurt by quick action. But some were surely helped and within those groups they cite I feel sure there are many former “orphans” who are glad they were saved. Surely, all those little Jewish girls saved from the Nazis did not go into mental institutions. Still, I concur with the general theme of this article—keep the kids in Haiti until the crisis is over, and try to find their families!