News / Americas

    US Lawmakers Call for Legislation to Promote Adoptions of Haitian Orphans

    Some relief organizations oppose adoption, saying some children who appear to be orphaned might simply have been separated from their families

    Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana is leading a bipartisan group of about 40 U.S. lawmakers to push for legislation that would streamline procedures for American families eager to adopt Haitian orphans.  But some relief organizations have called for an end to adoptions of Haitian children, saying that in the midst of the chaos there, some children who appear to be orphaned might simply have been separated from their families. 

    Senator Landrieu told reporters at a news conference that even before Haiti's devastating earthquake, the United Nations said the country had 380,000 orphans.  She said 900 of those children were in the process of being adopted by U.S. families when the quake hit.  And adoptive parents and orphans often had to wait years for the process to be completed.

    Landrieu says that now, there probably are two-to-three times more orphans in Haiti, and that a more efficient adoption system is desperately needed.

    "Just like our government is trying to work with the Haitian government to rebuild better, to rebuild stronger buildings, better infrastructure, we want to work on a better child care policy, a better orphan policy than was present before this earthquake," Landrieu said. 

    Republican Senator Christopher Bond of Missouri agrees that orphaned children in Haiti cannot afford to wait until government offices there are rebuilt and re-staffed.

    "It is clear that the relief and rebuild efforts to help our friends in Haiti put the pieces of their lives back together will take years," Bond said. "But the littlest and most vulnerable victims of the tragedy in Haiti are orphan children, and they cannot wait for help."

    Landrieu, Bond and several other senators are supporting the Families for Orphans Act, and are trying to get it onto the Senate floor quickly.  The bill would establish a separate office in the State Department to handle adoption issues, similar to the office that handles human trafficking. 

    Some Haitian officials and spokesmen for international relief organizations have expressed concern that Haitian children who are orphaned or separated from their families face a growing threat from child traffickers who might smuggle them into the neighboring Dominican Republic.  They also fear that some relief agencies might have flown earthquake orphans out of the country before efforts to find their families have been exhausted.

    Groups including Save the Children and World Vision have called for a suspension of new adoptions from Haiti until every child has been given the chance to be reunited with his or her family.

    Senator Landrieu and other lawmakers agree that the first priority should be to reunite children with their families in Haiti and those children should be protected from human traffickers.

    But Landrieu strongly disagrees with appeals to suspend the adoptions.

    "We need to be accelerating the process of child protection and adoption, even if it is temporary, with extraordinary measures, not stopping it," Landrieu said. "And I am going to challenge those organizations every step of the way.  This is the time to step up and say, 'I want to adopt.'  This is the time to try to save the lives of children."

    Landrieu agrees that appropriate legal safeguards should be in place to identify orphans.  But she adds that orphans belong in families as soon as possible, not in institutions or left alone on Haiti's devastated streets. 

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    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.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    More Americas News

    G-20 Finance Ministers Pledge to Boost Global Economy

    Ministers close their 2-day meeting in China expressing concerns about Brexit and trade protectionism

    Obama: Trump’s Portrait of America ‘Doesn’t Jibe With Reality’

    At news conference with Mexico's president, Obama says US is 'not going to make good decisions' about race relations, crime ' based on fears that don’t have basis in fact'

    Vatican Invited to Mediate in Venezuela Crisis

    Various opposition leaders say President Maduro's public exhortations to support dialogue are a cynical attempt to buy time and cling to power

    Homicides Rise 15.4 Percent in Mexico in 1st Half of 2016

    The figures remained below those for 2011, the peak year for violence during Mexico's drug war

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    Large metal barrier that separates Nogales, Arizona, from Nogales, Sonora, isn't that popular with those who live near it

    Brazil Arrests Suspected Olympics Attack Planners

    Cell organized through internet-based messaging services such as WhatsApp and Telegraph