Friday, January 29, 2010

Haitian Orphans-The Information We've Gathered Part 2

Through God's leading, we have delved into a ministry...a ministry of adoption support and orphan care. Through the adoption support website we've been asked one question repeatedly, "God is turning our hearts to adoption through the devastation in Haiti. What do I do and where do I start?"

Though this blog is in response to that question, we need to back up a little bit and talk about some of the history of Haitian adoption, the reason many things are being handled the way they are, and the state of Haitian adoption now.

Before the earthquake, an orphan in Haiti would literally take years to bring home. You may have received a referral within the first year (from what we understand), but it would take around 24 months to bring your child home after he or she was referred. It was not uncommon to have a wait of three years from the first signing of a contract with an agency. It was a long and daunting process with rumors being whispered about a lack of transparency.

Now that we have seen, heard, and felt in our hearts and lives the catastrophic results of the Earthquakes in Haiti, our eyes are even more open to the longing to do something. Our hearts may be open to adopt one of these precious survivors and show them the love that God intends for us to share and they so readily deserve. It's hard to say how easy this will be in the future though. There are MANY unknowns.

Humanitarian parole has been offered to those children who have already been declared legally orphans and matched with families prior to the earthquake. With the right paperwork, these orphans are united with their forever families. Some of these have taken place and are still taking place.

Though we would love to see every single one of these orphans in loving homes, being able to tell who is an orphan can be a struggle after a natural disaster such as this. Many in Haitian orphanages may NOT be orphans, but placed there by families that are not able to afford to care for them. They may be visited by family with the ultimate goal to take custody back from the orphanage at a later date. This is not uncommon. This is one of the reasons that idea of bringing a mass airlift of children over to the United States is not considered to be the right thing to do. The hope is to reunite families.

Do we agree with this...No and yes.

No, because the physical well being of the children (just the opportunity to survive) has to be first and foremost. Even the thought of a group home in the states for a short period of time (until they had the facilities to care for these children in Haiti) seems a better option than letting them face hunger, unclean drinking water, and the dangers we are now seeing for their physical well being. We need to keep these precious blessings alive FIRST.

On one hand the answer is yes, they are right, do not do a mass airlift. These children need their family. Their biological family is the first and best option (in most cases). They need to be reunited if they have living family. They need to be in the country of Haiti to raise this possibility. The thought of your own child being airlifted out of the country you're in, as you're trying to make your way to them, adds tragedy to tragedy.

Though we first and foremost believe the countries need (and many are not) to prioritize the children's survival, health, and safety.... it is not as clear cut as many believe.

This is a hard and difficult subject. My husband and I would gladly, praising God, fill our arms with more precious blessings, but right now that is not the governments plan for Haitian orphans...right or wrong, this is the reality.

There are still so many rumors flying about orphans NOT matched to families being flown over here. From research and digging this does not seem to be reality (the best we can ascertain).

So what do you do if you wish to adopt from Haiti in the future? We can make some recommendations, but that's all they are....

Haiti is currently closed to adoption, as many of you know.

Will they open up soon? There's no guarantee. In the past, countries that have closed their doors for the purpose of revamping their system or corruption have had a unpredictable reopening time frame. There were always many rumors that they would open next week or next month, and a year later they still weren't open. There is talk that Haiti's closing won't last long. We will hope and pray that it is so, but there really is no date we feel confident enough to list. It could be a month or a year...there is no telling.

Will they expedite the process since the earthquakes? There is a hope that the process will be expedited and not be NEAR as long. We, again, pray that this may be so...but cannot predict the future. There are just so many unknowns.

No matter the wait or the time frame though, these children will need homes. They will need to be held and loved. They will need families to remember them months or years after this earthquake. Their need for a family to show them the love for Jesus will not diminish because of time.

Our first suggestion, if you are wishing to adopt from Haiti, is to pray, "What would you have me do Lord?" God knows how He will knit together your family. He knows, beyond your yearnings to open your arms, what will bring glory to His name in your life. We've seen many in other situations who assume they know what God has wanted for them, but found out differently. Our Heavenly Father knows your family, past, present, and future...ask Him.

After you have diligently been seeking God's will and if He convicts your are some suggestions or possibilities.

With Haiti closed, it is possible that many agencies will not accept applications from families wishing to adopt from Haiti. These agencies, though, may be able to tell you what you CAN do to get ready for Haiti to reopen. They may recommend getting a country specific home study for the day that Haiti does reopen. If it takes longer than is expected, you may have to get a home study update eventually, but this would enable you to act quicker when the country opens.

Talk to an agency though! These agencies may all have different requirements and you don't want to feel like your ahead and find out you will have to redo everything. Some may let you or encourage you to get ahead...there is just no telling with so many agencies out there (many with different requirements).

Here are a couple of agencies that we have heard good things about and that have an adoption program in Haiti. I'm sure there are many great agencies out there, but you will want to do your research. You can find some of the questions you need to ask here.
Holt International
Bethany Christian Services

We wish we could be of more help...give you more information. Please feel free to ask us anything. Please feel free to request've got 'em!

One of the last things, one of the best articles we've read thus far is from Tapestry. They wrote a great article with a TON of information.

Don't forget to check the JCICS blog. for the current information on Haiti.

If you feel that God is leading you to give of yourselves in another way, please check out this post that we published earlier.

Last and most important, remember that God is in control. He is even bigger than this devastation. He is even bigger than any government. We must act and we must seek God for the best way to do that.

May God give you clarity as you seek His will.

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