As a mom by adoption to the fabulous PunditGirl, it was difficult for me to watch all the footage in the past days about the many orphans in Haiti — especially the ones who have parents who are just waiting to bring them home — stuck not only in the nightmare of earthquake itself, but in the bureaucratic mess that, it appears, could prevent them from being united with their adoptive families.
The government building in Port-au-Prince that housed all the official adoption paperwork crumbled in the earthquake. Many of those who worked in that building reportedly died. And there doesn’t seem to be a rush here in the U.S. by the State Department or Homeland Security to ease the paperwork burden to allow these children to enter the country without having crossed all the ‘t’s and dotted all the ‘i’s. Some in Miami, however, are trying to plan a major rescue effort for these children and the thousands more who have been orphaned as a result of the earthquake. But shouldn’t the orphans be some of the first to get relief?
As my friend Amie at MammaLoves … put it on Twitter:
Why is it that healthy, white, well-dressed adults were being shuttled out of Haiti and those orphans are still outside in the heat? #BRESMA
Excellent question. Plenty of are mothers are writing about waiting for their own children or their friends who are waiting and not knowing the fate of the children for whom they were patiently navigating the sometimes inscrutable adoption maze.
Yvonne at L.A. Moms blog wrote about her friend Lorraine’s story in One Mother’s Struggle to Get Adopted Daughter Out of Haiti.
ParentDish blog talks about adoptive families in limbo.
Jessica at Silicon Valley Moms blog wrote, Saving the Bresma Orphans of Haiti.
And MomLogic blog has the post Are My Kids’ Birth Mothers Dead or Alive?
These are just a few stories. According to a Washington Post report, before the earthquake there were about 50,000 orphans in Haiti, with only about 800 to 900 of those children part of the official adoption process. If you are writing about families waiting to bring their children home, leave me a comment here or Tweet about it with the #moms4haiti hashtag.
Maybe in some small way, we can gather these stories and help unite these families as soon as possible. For a list of organizations that are supporting Haitian orphanages, check this link from Creating a Family. For a view from the adoption community at large about adoption and Haiti, here’s a post from AdoptionTalk blog.
UPDATE: On Tuesday, 53 Haitian orphans were airlifted out of Haiti to Pittsburgh even though much of the paperwork was lost in the earthquake. As this story unfolds, it is an amazing one. Initially the U.S. government was only going to allow 47 of the 53 children to leave Haiti because several had no pending adoptions and the flight they were scheduled to be on had to leave Haiti before everything was ironed out. According to Ed Rendell speaking on MSNBC, there was an NSC contact that cleared the way so that all the children could leave Haiti and the military supplied a plane to airlift the children out.