Note: original publication date: Feb 6 2010, It is now possible to adopt from Haiti. Below is a grim reminder of the obstacles that the country, survivors, children and prospective adoptive parents and agencies had to handle in order to bring children home.
It is wonderful thing, the outpouring of concern for the children who have been left homeless and orphaned by the earthquake. Here are some things to keep in mind as you seek to find ways to reach out with an interest in adopting from Haiti.
Agencies and organizations that process adoptions in Haiti have been destroyed, paperwork lost under collapsed buildings, and workers killed in the tragedy or have died from wounds received due to the quake. Communication systems are down and those who have survived can't be reached. Remember, right now, the main focus is on survival and meeting the immediate needs of the children.
Families have been separated by this tragic earthquake. It will take time to determine which children have been truly orphaned by the earthquake. Children who have been left orphaned will then be placed with family, if possible.
There are legal requirements that must be met before a child meets the definition of an orphan and is eligible for adoption by U.S. standards, as well as standards as set by the child's country. In this case, children must also meet the definition of an orphan as set by Haiti's requirements for adoption as well.
The immediate survival needs of the children need to be met at this time. Take time to see how you can help these children now as adoption takes many, many months. See how you can help children in Haiti during this time by giving and volunteering for known organizations.
Know that the State Department is continuing to process adoptions from Haiti.
Go ahead and contact an adoption agency about adopting from Haiti, but know that it will still take time to bring a child into your home. But there is no harm in starting the adoption process.
Again, it will take time for Haiti to sort through the rubble and determine.
- which children have already been matched to other prospective adoptive families before the earthquake
- how far along each child's case was within the adoption process,
- which children are newly orphaned due to the earthquake
Children Affected by Natural Disasters and Conflict - U.S. Department of State
Adoption Alert for Haiti - U.S. Department of State
Haitian Adoption Inquiries: FAQs - Office of Children's Issues, United States Department of State