I’ve been following the story of the Rescue Children orphanage in Haiti and the Lifechurch members who quickly got there to help this orphanage they had been supporting. There are many other orphan/adoption related stories coming out of Haiti, of course. When you scroll down to the comments on these stories there are inevitably a dozen or so that say “How do I adopt one of these kids?”
On the one hand, my heart is thrilled that many new eyes are being opened to the plight of the orphan – not just in Haiti but hopefully all over the world. While circumstances are desperate right now, none of these children were living in ideal circumstances before. Many orphanages cannot even provide 3 meals a day for the kids in their care – something we take for granted.
However, what most people do not realize is that international adoptions in Haiti are most likely going to come to a complete halt.
The Joint Council on International Children’s Services (JCICS) is working hard on developing a plan to help those U.S. families already in process to complete their adoptions. These are often families who have been matched with children for several months, many who have visited Haiti and met their children before coming home to let the Haitian courts complete the process. I am praying fervently for these families and their children.
Why not rush to get these other orphans adopted and out of this dire situation? The JCICS site explains it perfectly with this statement…
Bringing children into the U.S. either by airlift or new adoption during a time of national emergency can open the door for fraud, abuse and trafficking. Every effort must be made in a timely fashion to locate living parents and extended family members. Many children, who might appear to be orphaned, may in fact be only temporarily separated from their family. Our efforts must be to provide the families and children of Haiti with shelter, nutrition, water and safety. Once the situation in Haiti stabilizes and timely reunification has taken place, adoption may be an option for the children who remain outside of permanent parental care.
So, if you’re one of those that have begun to think about adoption, I would urge you to do 2 things:
- Find a way that you can help the orphans of Haiti right now. Of course I’m pretty biased to World Orphans – we’re putting long range plans in place to engage Haitian churches in caring for the orphans in their communities. This is something World Orphans does all over the world and is well equipped to train pastors and church people in the holistic orphan care model. Give to World Orphans Haiti Relief.
- Pray about adoption and see if it is something that is right for your family. Photos and moving news stories can kick in our “save the world” instinct and often create a dreamy picture of “rescuing” a child in need. There is certainly nothing wrong with that desire, but it has to be more than that. Your adding a child to your family that you must love as much as your biological children. They will be forever yours. It will not be a walk in the park. Even the “easiest” of adoptions isn’t easy. Trust me. If adoption is something you are considering there are a ton of great resources online – below are a few to get you started.
If you have questions about adoption – international OR domestic, please leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them and point you in the right direction.
- State Department site on International Adoption
- U.S. Kids waiting on forever families
- Foster care adoption information
Update: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced the provision of “humanitarian parole” for certain Haitian orphans. For now that means children that have previously been documented as eligible for adoption and matched with a U.S. family for adoption. More Info.