I just listened to a conference call hosted by The White House Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships office regarding the current situation on orphans and vunerable children in Haiti. Most of the listeners on the call were primarily focused on international adoption and how to speed up the process in Haiti. Michelle Bond, Deputy Assistant of State for Consular Affairs, stated that 500 children had been identified for immediate adoption due to the fact they were already in the process prior to the earthquake.
Lloyd Feinberg, Manager of USAID's Displaced Children and Orphans Fund, stated that 99% of the displaced children in Haiti will remain in Haiti. It is estimated that there are 800,000 displaced children as a result of the earthquake. Not all are orphans but all are at risk due to separation from their family. He also stated that rapid evacuation of the children is not the best solution and results in separation of children from families. He believes that adoption should not be considered until all efforts are exhausted to place children in extended or foster families in Haiti.
"Operation Protect Children", a task force formed by the U.S. State department, has been able to establish "safe spaces" or "interium care camps" for about 40,000 displaced children. In addition to providing immediate care they are working to reunite children and family members. Their goal is to address immediate needs but to also plan for longterm care solutions for the children.
I appreciate the compassion of those on the call who asked repeated questions about adoption and I know their intentions are good but the question not asked was, "WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER 750,500 CHILDREN?"