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Meanwhile, in Haiti…

American attention has by and large drifted elsewhere, other than the ongoing background hum of the puff pieces in local papers about evangelicals “raising funds for orphanages” and the like.

But the adoption industry has certainly not forgotten Haiti.

In the post-quake grab and go period United Adoptees International tried to compile some basic statistics about the flights and where the kids were being taken to (see the UAI sidebar “EXPEDITION LIST HAITIAN CHILDREN

In order to have an overview of numbers, the UAI herewith tries to collect the numbers of Haitian adoptions or airlifts since the earthquake:

TOTAL NO 11.02.2010

  • 1.356 intercountry adoptions from Haiti since the earthquake.
  • 190 unknown.
  • 33 known attempts of childtrafficking.
  • 2000 scheduled.

TOTAL NUMBERS 3.546 children endangered by fast-speed adoptions.

The Dutch numbers of Haitian adoptions since 1974 (1983) – 2010 = + 1000.

[Haiti+New+Lie+kids+1.jpg]As far as the child trafficking numbers, I’d have to go higher, up to a minimum of 73 due to Laura Silsby’s team’s earlier attempt at extracting a busload of 40 kids other than the 33 they were later caught with:

I wrote about that trip on February 9th, in my post Thwarted by a police officer in an earlier attempt 3 days before their arrests to export 40 *Other* kids- more on Silsby and the Scavengers. The post and my comments contain links to the initial reporting I was able to find on that previous child procurement trip the New Lifers’ made in to Haiti.

This is why I have repeatedly referred to the child victims of the New Lifers’ child trafficking attempts as at least “73″ not merely the 33 from the attempted trip on the 29th.

To date we know of at least two attempts by the New Lifers at child trafficking. It is unclear as to whether or not there were any other additional or previous attempts.

But these are merely the 73 we know about via the Sislby team. As I wrote back in February, You’ve got the kids, I’ve got the cash, let’s make some adoptions there have been other “orphan” adoption entrepreneurs as well.

For comparison with the Dutch numbers, adoptions from Haiti to the U.S. from 1999- 2009 according to the State Department totaled 2,574.

In 2009, Americans adopted 330 Haitian kids.

The notion of 800+ brought in and granted “humanitarian parole” as an intake path into American adoptions, in 2010, let alone an as of yet untold number more is insanity. It’s an adoption feeding frenzy.

Even the highest number of kids exported from Haiti to the US in that period, back in 2004, only resulted in 355 adoptions. 2010 has easily more than doubled the highest year on record, collecting 800-900+ kids in a mere couple of weeks.

To American adopters and the adoption industry, the earthquake and enduring human misery in the aftermath has been nothing if not a boon.

Some are more than willing to admit how the suffering of Haitians has directly benefited them.

As inter-country adoptions had been declining here in the U.S., Haiti and the unprecedented access to a supply of children suddenly made available to would-be-adopters (around the globe) provided an industry bail out the likes of which agencies could only dream of before the quake.

Far from listening to the cautions of those familiar with the pre-existing situation in Haiti, and rejecting the industry’s urging of mass adoptions in the wake of natural disaster, how such was a sure recipe for a human rights disaster, governments created the conditions for the “orphan” industry to act quickly to gather whatever it could, while it could.

After first extracting kids allegedly already in an adoption process prior to the quake and some, particularly 12 on the Rendells’ Raid that were extracted (apparently) illegally who were not in any adoption process before the quake, there was a pause in adoption processing before new applications were being accepted again.

Then, back in April the U.S. State Department issued a notice on the state of Haitian adoptions:

IBESR Accepting New Adoption Cases

April 29, 2010

Haiti’s adoption authority, the Institut du Bien-être Social et de Recherches(IBESR), has informed the U.S. Government that they are now accepting new adoption applications for Haitian children who were either documented as orphans before January 12, 2010, or who have been relinquished by their birth parent(s) since the earthquake.  The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince has also resumed normal visa processing.  We encourage prospective adoptive parents to verify that their application is being processed in accordance with Haitian legal requirements and the procedures established by IBESR.

and pointed readers across to it’s Haiti page.

Reopening in the wake of this catastrophe is nothing if not an open invitation to continue to capitalize on the misery the Haitian people have been left to. by left to, I genuinely mean, left to. The U.S. pledged 1.15 billion towards Haitian reconstruction, yet as reported at the end of September the Haitians have been stiffed with empty promises and little more than an IOU.

Jonathan Katz reports for the Associated Press on the status of aid the US had pledged for reconstruction efforts in Haiti. The verdict: “Not a cent of the $1.15 billion the U.S. promised for rebuilding has arrived.”

From the AP article 5 days ago:

With just a week to go before fiscal 2010 ends, the money is still tied up in Washington. At fault: bureaucracy, disorganization and a lack of urgency, The Associated Press learned in interviews with officials in the State Department, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the White House and the U.N. Office of the Special Envoy. One senator has held up a key authorization bill because of a $5 million provision he says will be wasteful.

Meanwhile, deaths in Port-au-Prince are mounting, as quake survivors scramble to live without shelter or food.

“There are truly lives at stake, and the idea that folks are spending more time finger-pointing than getting this solved is almost unbelievable,” said John Simon, a former U.S. ambassador to the African Union who is now with the Center for Global Development, a Washington think tank.

Nor is Haiti getting much from other donors. Some 50 other nations and organizations pledged a total of $8.75 billion for reconstruction, but just $686 million of that has reached Haiti so far — less than 15 percent of the total promised for 2010-11.

While that finger pointing continues, forced evictions are ongoing, multiple storms that have killed a number of Haitians now and destroyed the tent shelters of thousands more, and hunger, rape, and poverty that defies words are simply some sick version of the new norm. new norm has led already desperate parents who leaned on the “orphanage” system before the earthquake to care for their kids as a temporary measure (yes, which means many Haitian kids in “orphanages” were most definitely not “orphans”) to now simply outright abandon their children.

Unable to feed or care for them, or to protect them from violence or even rape in the camps, if their tents are even still standing that is,  desperate parents with no other options are simply abandoning their children.

When people are stripped of any other way to provide even the basics of life for ones’ child, even a tarp over their heads,  is it any wonder that they then leave them at “orphanages” in hopes of assuring the child’s most basic survival?

All the more so when you have “orphanages” advertising their ability to take in more kids and white Americans coming down talking about how much they want to take kids home and give them that “better life”?

These kids are not “orphans” these are casualties not merely of the earthquake, but of the man made humanitarian crisis in the aftermath. The outright refusal to live up to promises of economic aid trickles down through societally until parents are left with no other options by which to keep their children fed or safe.

It’s systemic, not individual.

It’s an impossible situation. In order to better one’s child’s hopes of surviving, you must be willing to never see them again.

The nations that both stall on their obligations and then benefit on the back end by extracting Haiti’s children are nothing short of predatory.

But Haiti is in no position to say ‘not one child leaves for your country until you pay what you promised’ and even if Haiti could, the business relationship would then become all too clear all too quickly. Countries promise “aid” and they take children.

No moratorium on taking these kids, left in desperation in hopes of not some mythic “better life” but of any life AT ALL, has been forthcoming. The price of survival for these kids has been their ties to their families, their parents, their brothers and sisters.

Potential adopters COULD do the only ethical thing and refuse to adopt from Haiti, understanding that their cash and demand is an engine driving this misery. But instead, they flock to Haitian adoptions, viewing such desperate situations as merely their opportunity, their own personal silver linings, and demand adoptions be opened further, and expedited utilizing the ever worsening situation as their excuse. Never once understanding that they themselves are part of the system driving such.

They work on their own behalf, not on behalf of the Haitian people or the country as a whole.

The money they expend on a single child, (their efforts rooted in their own personal desires,) could aid a people were they willing to give without expecting a child for themselves in return. But reciprocity lies at the core of adoption, and I have yet to see American would-be-adopters willing to hand over the pile of cash with no expectation of a personal gain on the back end.

The industry, seeing the profits to be gained off the backs of every Haitian child has no qualms ramming through as many placements as they possibly can, all while lobbying for more, and painting the Rendells and their raid that brought in 12 kids now trapped in diplomatic limbo as nothing less than  “heroic.”, in Haiti… providing “orphans” has become even more of a key economic engine than it was prior to the natural disaster.

Selling kids to white people, while nothing new, is what’s left.

“Adoption and child sponsorship is the biggest money-making operation in Haiti right now,” Susie said last week. “Everybody and their aunt is starting one. You can raise a lot of money if you have kids in rags who look hungry. A lot of them will round up 50 kids from the neighborhood every time a white person shows up — and once the foreigner leaves, everybody goes home.”

Of course, Mercy & Sharing is just another side of the christian evangelism coin, “indigenous” or “contextual” leadership training, by which rather than exporting kids, evangelicals maintain “orphans” and “abandoned” kids in country, raising them in their belief systems without “family interference” to one day hopefully grow up to be leaders in government, industry, and other areas of influence in order to “take a nation for christ.”  All of which is what lies behind code words like Mercy & Sharing’s “We are very adamant about raising the kids to become leaders in their own country.”

Mercy & Sharing of course also benefits directly from the children now disconnected from family ties and their records destroyed national child welfare crisis. Both economically and in terms of prestige and becoming a ‘go to’ ministry in a country wherein most social programs are administered by NGOs, not the state. The concept of “indigenously” raising of kids de-contextualized from their families for christian leadership is well deserving of it’s own post eventually, but I haven’t gotten there yet.

Meanwhile, kids are being handed over to groups like Mercy and Sharing routinely.

Haiti’s government-run hospital unit for abandoned babies in Port-au-Prince was destroyed in the earthquake, and Mercy & Sharing had worked closely with the children there. The government is now moving abandoned or orphaned kids directly into tent cities temporarily while they process them in the social services system.

“The social affairs offices are pretty much inoperable,” Susie said. “They lost all of their records, too. So the children are being placed in the tent cities right now and then moved, directly after their paper work is done, to orphanages like ours.”

That’s what passes for child welfare in Haiti, desperation, abandonment, adoption,  or being handed off to groups like this.

It’s a free for all.

Not that most Americans seem to have any problem with that.

Meanwhile, in Haiti… Kids are the new economic model. Everyone in position to benefit from such is doing just that, just as quickly as they can.

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