News / Americas

Haitian Adoptions Slowed by Bureaucracy

Thousands of children languishing in earthquake shattered Haiti, as government clamps down on families, organizations trying to adopt them

Katy Manges and her adopted son Malachi
Katy Manges and her adopted son Malachi

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Thousands of children are languishing in earthquake shattered Haiti, as the government clamps down on families and organizations trying to provide them a better life.

Malachi, 2, will soon board a plane bound for his new home in Pennsylvania.  He is one of six Haitian orphans who departed Port Au Prince earlier this week, days after Haitian police seized them on their way to the airport and sent them to a tent city, worried they were being kidnapped.  

The development was a shock to Joshua Manges and his wife, who had been trying to adopt Malachi for nearly two years.

"Everything we've had, we've had in line for quite a while now, and for them to freak out and assume the worst... and then civilians caused almost a riot; to detain him and his escorts and stick them in a tent city in rural Port Au Prince, that was pretty scary for us, but God provides," he said.  "God protects his children."
 
Joshua and Katy Manges began the process of adopting Malachi, born with a deformity, when he was a couple of months old.  But then the devastating earthquake that struck January 12 caused the Haitian government to halt all adoptions without the proper, signed documentation.

The recent arrest and release of a group of U.S. church missionaries, trying to take a busload of children across the border to the Dominican Republic without official paperwork, further complicated the adoption process overall.

The director of His House Children's Home in Miami, which helped the Manges family with accommodations, acknowledges that the government needs to ensure due diligence in order to prevent child trafficking.  Still, she says she hopes the Haitian government will facilitate the adoption of its kids, overseas.

For Katy Manges, the trials of the last long months are behind her.  She's just happy to be able to bring Malachi home to meet his three siblings, including one adopted from Africa.
 
"It's been a crazy rollercoaster up and down; it's been a long haul, but it's been well worth it.  I'd do it again if I had to [to] get him.  I'd go through it all again," she said.
 
Still, thousands of Haitian children like Malachi remain in orphanages.  United Nations officials estimate there may be one million unaccompanied or orphaned kids who lost a parent in last month's quake in Haiti.  

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