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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Trial Imminent for Detained Venezuelan Protest Leader Lopez

Lopez's wife, Lilian Tintori, says outside pressure needed on Venezuelan president to move case forward
More

Sex Workers Seek HIV Prevention

The Lancet publishes new series on HIV
More

Texas Gov. Perry Orders State National Guard to Border

Governor says he took extraordinary measure to help secure the border, his critics say it is a political stunt
More

Cuba Hopes for More Investment as Chinese President Arrives

Chinese President Xi Jinping begins a two-day visit to Cuba on Monday evening
More

Video Shunned by Family, Haitian Orphan Finds Supportive Home

'We deal with [HIV] stigma by ... making life as normal for kids as possible'
More

Video Addicts’ Safe Haven in Vancouver Helps Control HIV

Supervised-injection facility lowers spread of infection locally, studies show, but has critics
More