News / Americas

US Addresses International Adoptions of Haitian Quake Survivors

Issue arises after Haitian authorities arrested 10 Americans for allegedly attempting to take children out of earthquake-ravaged nation without permission

The Obama administration is stressing the need for strict and careful scrutiny of international adoptions to ensure that the best interests of children are protected and families are not separated. The issue arose after Haitian authorities arrested 10 Americans for allegedly attempting to take children out of the earthquake-ravaged nation without permission.

The State Department says the desire to rescue Haiti's destitute children is understandable, but that care must be taken to ensure that adoptions do not separate youngsters from their existing families. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, says the United States will only grant visas to those foreign children who have been formally approved for adoption by their home countries.

"In any other instance, you truly do not know if you are separating a family or not," said Mills. "And I think one of the things that is uniquely important in these kinds of situations, given the vulnerability of children, is that we are all as an international community focused on that particular goal."

Mills spoke with reporters in Washington.

An untold number of Haitian children were orphaned by last month's earthquake that devastated Port-au-Prince and surrounding communities. In the weeks since, foreign interest in adopting Haitian children has skyrocketed. But aid groups that specialize in caring for the young, like Save the Children, say it can take months to conclusively determine whether a child has, in fact, been left without any surviving family members following a natural disaster.

The issue has gained prominence since Haiti arrested members of a U.S. church group, allegedly for attempting to take Haitian children into the neighboring Dominican Republic without the permission of Haitian officials.

Haiti has tough regulations governing adoptions but in the wake of the earthquake has suspended most foreign adoptions.

The State Department's Cheryl Mills says failure to respect due process in adoptions serves no one's interests.

"The real bottom line has to always be that we are seeking to always maintain families and children with their families when there are families present," said Mills. "And separating them does not ultimately serve the larger objectives that we have, which is ensuring that, in the end, orphans who are genuinely orphaned and have been adjudicated to be [adopted] end up with families who are seeking them."

Mills said U.S. officials have been in contact with their Haitian counterparts to ensure U.S. consular access to the detained Americans, but that the case has not been formally discussed between Washington and Port-au-Prince.

You May Like

China May Be Biggest Winner From Ukraine Crisis

Missile sales, oil and gas shipments are among many areas that may drive Beijing and Moscow closer together in coming years More

Obama Faces Chaotic World, Limits of Power

Current foreign policy issues bring into focus challenges for US policymakers who are mindful of Americans' waning appetite for overseas military engagements More

SADC Meeting Lesotho Officials to Resolve Stalemate

Official says regional bloc has been engaged with leaders in Lesotho to resolve political disagreement that led to coup attempt More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Mixed Signals on Second Migrant Wave at US Border

The number of Central Americans apprehended at the border peaked in June, but reports from migrants indicate more might be on the way
More

Cuba Enacts New Rules to Restrict Imports

New rules increase duties on items such as televisions, limit the number of personal items air travelers can bring to Cuba and increase duties on mailed packages
More

Nicaragua Rescuers Save 20 Miners; Search Continues

Wall of mud, rocks trap miners at El Comal site in Bonanza, 420 kilometers northeast of Managua
More

Shortage-weary Venezuelans Scoff at Fingerprinting Plan

Proposal on food sales sparks backlash ranging from violent street protests to social media campaigns ridiculing the idea
More

Rescuers Contact 20 Miners Trapped in Nicaragua Gold Mine

Two miners have been rescued, others are believed to be alive
More

Brazil Enters Recession in Pre-election Blow to Rousseff

Experts say left-leaning policies have dented consumer and business confidence and caused heavy losses for financial investors
More