Adoption of Haitian children calls for
By Melanie Verwoerd, Evening Herald,
Thursday January 21 2010
Last Thursday, three days after the
Haiti earthquake, there was a moment of joy.
Redjeson Hausteen Claude (2) was pulled
from the ruins.
As rescuers lifted him out, his mother
Daphnee Plaisin ran forward and he spotted her, giving a delighted smile
of recognition as only a child can do for his mother.
But imagine if Daphnee was not there --
she might have gone for water. Imagine if they took Redjeson to one of
the care points for separated children.
Perhaps his mother could not find him
or did not hear amongst all the chaos that they took a baby out of the
And then a few day later, he gets
shipped off in a plane to Ireland -- with his mother never realising
that he was alive.
On this page yesterday, Sinead Ryan
wrote a piece suggesting that Irish people should start adopting babies
Amongst others, she encouraged people
who want to adopt babies to email Minister Barry Andrews TD with their
I am sure that we all want to do
something to help the children of Haiti. But what needs to happen now is
for children to be taken care of in Haiti.
This is what Unicef and many of our
partners are trying to do -- to the best of our ability.
The priority is to make sure that
children are safe, fed and medically looked after.
Our next priority is to reunite them
with their parents or family members. Before we can even consider any
adoption, we have to ensure the children are truly orphaned and that
there are no surviving relatives.
To cut any corners in the adoption
procedures would be extremely dangerous.
During the Indian Tsunami in 2005,
traffickers immediately started preying on vulnerable children -- both
for the sex trade and also for foreign adoptions.
Reports from our staff in Haiti
indicate that in the field hospitals, suspicious people are already
attempting to remove children without permission.
Without any doubt there will be many
children orphaned by the earthquake, who, in months to come, will need a
In the interim, the best thing to do is
to support those agencies that can look after the children and try to
them with their families.
To suggest other wise is irresponsible
- Melanie Verwoerd
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