It’s been just more than two years since a magnitude-7 earthquake struck Haiti, killing approximately 250,000 people, leaving thousands of children orphaned, overwhelming a nation already in crisis. Kristen Howerton, who has adopted from Haiti and was in the country when the earthquake struck, wrote a great, heartbreaking post on “Rage Against the Mini Van” about the state of adoption in Haiti two years later [she was responding to a CBS News report I posted here]. Thousands of children are languishing in orphanages, not because no one is willing to adopt them, but because of administrative red tape.The author proposes that more families should consider that maybe "that fabled 'red thread' is God’s way of pulling you toward a country, not a child."
Some of those barriers to adoption exist because Haiti (like many other countries) doesn’t particularly want to give up their children. And honestly, can we blame them? Sure, it’s easy for us to look in from the outside and lambast Haiti for not throwing the escape hatch wide open. Those kids need families, and they need families now. The stories are heartbreaking, the images haunting. The current state of affairs is unconscionable.
On the other hand, I can understand why some people in struggling nations aren’t big fans of international adoption. From their standpoint, wealthy outsiders pluck vulnerable children from the poorest of the poor — people so desperate that they are willing to give up their babies, grandbabies, nieces or nephews — and absorb them so thoroughly into a new life and culture that in all likelihood the child will never look back. Adoption may help one child, may bless one family, but it doesn’t do much to address the systemic problems that created and continue to feed the orphan crisis. It doesn’t do much to bless the ones who are left behind, the ones who now need it most.
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