Joint Council Update, 1-15-10, 5:40 pm
Joint Council has confirmed that a handful of Haitian children, whose adoptions were finalized by the Haitian courts and whose adoptive parents were in Port au Prince at the time of the earthquake, have received their visa to enter the U.S. Joint Council shares in the joy and relief felt by these families and children. While the issuance of visas in these specific cases is very welcomed news, it should not encourage adoptive parents to travel to Haiti in an attempt to secure a visa for the child they are adopting. Such individual efforts may in fact be counterproductive and dangerous.
Children with Finalized Adoption Decrees
Through continuing meetings with the U.S. Department of State, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, Members of Congress and other child advocates, Joint Council can ensure all, that every effort is being made by the U.S. government and child advocates to find a method by which children with finalized adoption decrees can enter the U.S. and be united with their adoptive family. While the U.S. government has yet to announce a decision and procedure for uniting adoptive families and children, we remain very confident that a positive resolution and decision will be made very soon. Joint Council, other advocates and our colleagues in the U.S. government recognize that time is critical and that an expeditious positive solution is necessary. Rest assured that the necessary organizations and entities are taking every possible step and moving as quickly as feasible given the nature of the crisis.
Our community including the U.S. government continues to work for a solution for those children and adoptive families who do not have a finalized Haitian adoption decree. These adoptions are often ill defined and therefore a procedure that unites children with adoptive families while ensuring that children are not further victimized is extremely difficult. Despite the challenges, we remain confident that the means to move children into adoptive families will be found very soon. As stated above, everyone involved recognizes that time if of the essence and are attempting to find solutions quickly.
New Adoptions, Airlifts & U.S. Foster Care
Ideas for airlifting children into the U.S. and placing them in foster homes continue to surface. In some instances, rumors and speculation have taken on a life of their own. Additionally, many U.S. families are seeking to initiate adoptions of newly orphaned Haitian children. While both airlifts and new adoptions are based on valid concerns and come from an obviously loving heart, neither option is considered viable by any credible child welfare organization. Bringing children into the U.S. either by airlift or new adoption during a time of national emergency can open the door for fraud, abuse and trafficking. Every effort must be made in a timely fashion to locate living parents and extended family members. Many children, who might appear to be orphaned, may in fact be only temporarily separated from their family. Our efforts must be to provide the families and children of Haiti with shelter, nutrition, water and safety. Once the situation in Haiti stabilizes and timely reunification has taken place, adoption may be an option for the children who remain outside of permanent parental care.
Haiti Adoptive Families & Orphan Database
A quick reminder to all adoptive parents to please register with our Haiti Adoptive Families & Orphan Database. The registry can be found on the Joint Council website at www.jcics.org. By providing information on your adoption, Joint Council and various agencies within the U.S. government will be able to provide emergency assistance to orphanages and to assist in uniting you with the child you are adopting.
Our sincere thanks to all of the volunteers who assisted us today and to those who made financial donations. We also thank our colleagues at the Departments of State, U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, Members of Congress and other child advocates for their dedicated service. Most importantly, we thank those families who remain so very committed to the children of Haiti.