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Want to adopt a Haitian orphan? WAIT!

This post was written right after American missionaries were arrested and originally posted on the AWEARNESS blog. 



I admit that my husband and I had "the talk." The "Can we adopt a child from Haiti?" talk. Of course it was out of sheer love for the children who need help, but we quickly snapped back to reality: Now is not the time to get in line for a child.

Apparently some people think otherwise. Ten Americans were arrested over the weekend for child trafficking out of Haiti. Of course they say they were just trying to help by scooping up children and taking them across the border to an orphanage, but hey, I think that is the definition of child trafficking.

I get it. I also want to jump on a plane and bring a bunch of kids home with me. I want to clothe them, feed them and love them. But I know that they are Haitian and Haiti is their home. I also know that people have been displaced. Children were at school when the earthquake hit. How do we know if their mother was one of the people flown out of the country for medical help? Or is in the refugee camp on the other side of the city? We can't know all of the facts. The Independent has a good Q&A on the ethics of disaster adoption.

When we've had conversations about adoption, I've found myself focusing on whether or not I have the emotional strength to guide a child along the path. A newborn or an older child will question their adoption at some point. I can only imagine the emotional wounds that will need to be addressed for all the people of Haiti, much less a child airlifted from their homeland and extended family.

But I continue to reject the notion that I know how to provide a "better life" for a child. I think that once you start to believe that you can overlook the formalities that go with international adoption, like, say making sure that no one in their biological family can care for them. Airlifts of children have happened before, such as Operation Peter Pan, and some of those children are grown now and mad as hell about the thought of the same thing happening to Haitian children.

Instead of running out to adopt a Haitian child, I suggest giving to an organization that is focusing on helping to rebuild Haiti and reuniting families. There will be a time when adoptions will be the answer for some children. Until then, let's wait.

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