Along with so many of you I have been glued to the news and to twitter (as much possible in the midst of moving halfway across the country) for updates on the situation in Haiti. I take it as providential that I had so much time driving in the car as I was forced to pray more than I probably would have otherwise. It has been incredible to watch the response and the vast number of people who want to do something. To that end, I have had a number of people ask what they can do to help the orphans in particular. It has been said that the number of orphans in Haiti has tripled!
At this point, the rescue effort is critical as well as the well being of the most vulnerable. Here are a few things I believe we can do:
- Donate to reputable organizations working to care for orphans in Haiti.
- Work to pursue humanitarian parole for adoptive children. Use any contact you have with immigration, attorneys, press, or anyone who might have influence to get the story of these orphans and families out there and put pressure on the state department to intervene. These are the children who have been in the process of being adopted. The only standing in their way from their permanent family is paperwork. That can change now and must change. We personally know a number of families in this position. Here is one families story, description of the issue, and reasons why this is a needed and possible solution:
We have been in the process of adopting our son for 2 ½ years and were nearing the final stages when the earthquake hit. I was in Haiti visiting when the earthquake happened and I had to be evacuated and leave our son there. The government buildings that were processing our adoption were demolished. Many government workers are feared dead. Orphans in Haiti are in grave danger, and yet have willing families in the US who can care for them. When we left our son, he and the other children from the orphanage were homeless, sleeping outside of a missionary’s house because of damage to the crèche and to the missionary’s home. They are at risk of looting and robbery. Everyone in Haiti is at risk of food and water shortages and air-born disease due to the current situation. The local caregivers are focused on their own families, so the orphanage is short-staffed. Supplies are running low. The situation is desperate.
THE SOLUTION IS HUMANITARIAN PAROLE FOR ADOPTIVE CHILDREN. These children have willing families to care for them and can be brought to the US for care. While granting a humanitarian parole is outside the normal procedures, the United States government has granted them in the past (e.g. Cambodia and Romania).
THIS IS NOT AN EXPEDITED ADOPTION. The adoption process is now completely incapacitated, but when it resumes the United States seeks to honor the adoption process established in Haiti. This is a humanitarian effort to care for these kids, and the adoption will be processed using the usual procedure at a later time.
Humanitarian parole for adoptive children benefits everyone involved. The kids are moved to safety. There is no cost to the government because these children have families ready to care for them. This frees up the orphanages in Haiti to care for more children. It does not circumvent the already established adoption process. It is ethical and compassionate.
Here are some people to contact:
The Honorable Barbara Boxer
United States Senate
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0505
The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0504
The Honorable Dana Rohrabacher
United States House of Representatives
2300 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0546
Haitian Ambassador to US
Kenneth H Merten
US Ambassador to Haiti
Tabarre 41, Blvd 15 Octobre
P 509 22 29 8000
F 509 22 29 8028
Hilary Clinton/Dept of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520