If there was an earthquake in Indiana and Christian and I were killed, I would want my government to make EVERY effort to locate my parents, Christian’s parents, my cousin, Christian’s brother, our aunts and uncles, and our friends to see if any of them could care for Noah, Zoe, and Colin. I would want Noah, Zoe, and Colin to remain here, with family, if it was at all possible. I would want my government to explore every available avenue before even CONSIDERING allowing someone in another country, or even another state for that matter, to adopt my children.
That is why I believe now is not the time to start new adoptions from Haiti. This belief is echoed by UNICEF, PEAR, Ethica, and many other concerned organizations. I understand that many people have been moved by the images from Haiti, and that they have the desire to help, but “babylifting” children out of Haiti is NOT the way to do that. It will take time to determine if children who appear to be orphaned really have living parents or extended family. Those who want to help now should donate to a reputable organization to make sure that the Haitian people have food, water, medicine, and shelter.
From an editorial in the Boston Globe:
Every effort should be made to pair verifiable Haitian orphans with caring adoptive parents quickly. But that should not come at the cost of following international norms and the Haitian government’s requirements surrounding adoption. This includes proper documentation of parents’ or surviving relatives’ relinquishing their rights to a child, as well as screening and authorization of the groups who want to take children out of the country. These safeguards help ensure a child is indeed an orphan, as opposed to kidnapped or separated from their parents temporarily…
International adoption can seem needlessly cumbersome. Yet even when the rule of law has eroded in a country, it is crucial to adhere to the rules that protect children from being sold away from their homes and into illegal labor or sexual exploitation. They also prevent mismanaged adoptions that leave birth parents without any say in their children’s fate. Parents who have been separated from their children in the recent earthquake need the opportunity to find their sons and daughters. Missionaries and adoption agencies alike must respect that right even as they seek to help.