January 12th marked the one year anniversary since the earthquake that devastated Haiti. As we move into year two, CCAI’s report Renewed Promise: The Welfare of Children in Haiti highlights lessons learned from the emergency relief and recovery efforts that have taken place this past year, and focuses federal policymakers on the needs that continue to exist related to orphaned and vulnerable children in Haiti.
Be sure to also check out reports from other organizations:
USCIS Releases Guidance on Finalizing Haitian Adoptions - July 2, 2010
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently released additional guidance for parents whose adoptive or prospective adoptive children entered the United States under the special humanitarian parole program for Haitian orphans. Please see the links below for information on finalizing adoptions and immigration benefits for paroled Haitian orphans. These pages can be found in the Adoptions section of www.uscis.gov.
Building a Strong Foundation for Children and Families of Haiti - May 21, 2010
On May 21, CCAI hosted a convening of Haitian officials, United States' and international experts from various child welfare and protection organizations to discuss the needs of Haiti's vulnerable children and how to support the Haitian government as they rebuild Haiti's child welfare system after the devastating January 12, 2010 earthquake.
For more information about our "Building a Strong Foundation for Children and Families of Haiti" convening, and to view videos of the convening presentations and access presenters' PowerPoint materials, click here.
A Family's Story: 5 Children, 2 Nations, 1 Family
by Patrick Beck, Congressional staffer
On the night of our engagement in May, 2002, Debbie and I stayed upalmost until daybreak. During that night long conversation, we both discovered our mutual desire to adopt children. It would be nearly 4 years later that we would have the opportunity to become foster parents.When Felicia first came to us as a three and a half year old, she had huge patches of hair missing on her head, a duffle bag filled with 3-4 small, dirty outfits and shoes she had outgrown. Her little sister, Elizabeth, came home to us directly from the hospital. Born seven weeks premature and addicted, she woke up every three hours screaming from withdrawal. Today, both Felicia and Elizabeth have made amazing strides. Felicia just finished second grade with excellent grades and is doing well among her peers. Elizabeth has grown tremendously,making up for her premature birth and developing into quite a rambunctious three year old. Their adoptions should be completed within about the next year.
Nearly six months before Elizabeth was born, we were invited to spend Christmas, 2006 with a missionary at one of her orphanages in Haiti. We arrived in Haiti on Christmas morning with toys and hygiene items for the children and workers at the orphanage. It was during that week that we bonded with our three girls, Ethecie, and twins, Esperancia and Esperanta. Before we left Haiti that week, we told the girls that we wanted to adopt them. When it was time to leave, six year old Ethecie was pulled from Debbie’s arms sobbing uncontrollably. After finishing our clearances, home study, and government paperwork, we ran into problems with our attorney and in cutting through bureaucratic red tape to complete the process and bring them home. As 2009 came to a close, the wait had become unbearable. After the earthquake in Haiti, we found out that the second floor of their school had partially collapsed an hour after dismissal. Our three girls were granted humanitarian parole by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and arrived in Miami in February malnourished and shaken. We wondered how they made it through. The oldest girl, Ethecie, told us that she looked at our family photo album at the orphanage every day.
Nearly four months later, our girls from Haiti have made a successful transition. They are all gaining weight, learning English, loving Mom and Dad and their sisters! When we wake up in the morning and see the smiles on all five of their faces, we know it was worth all of the heartache. What a privilege. What a life.
Click here for CCAI's Frequently Asked Questions on Haitian Orphans and Adoptions