News Update: Untrustworthy Haitian Orphanages

Associated Press Article

Please read the following article written by the Associated Press late last week that appeared in hundreds of newspapers around the world. I have some thoughts that I want to share:

Click HERE to read the full article on apnews.com.

Believe me when I say I am praying that a foster care program in Haiti will be successful. In the meantime, I would like to share a story that is almost inconceivable:

 

Haitian Mothers Send their Infants Away

Approximately two years ago in the village of Williamson where our campus is located, I met with our small women’s group from our community church. 23 of us met for prayer as we were accustomed to doing every month. I asked the women how we could pray with each other. Immediately, six women on the first and second row raised their hands in unison. They asked for prayer for the unimaginable pain that they all felt: Each of these young women dressed in their Sunday best and beautiful headscarves. They had given their infants and toddlers to an organization that gave them $250 US dollars and in return, they promised they would give them “good milk”, feed, educate, clothe and raise them in Port au Prince. The organization turned out to be an orphanage in Port au Prince.

 

Orphanage Lied

“They told us we would be able to visit our babies every month and they would give us money to use for a tap tap” which is basic public transport in Haiti.

“We signed our name to allow our children to receive all the care they might need until they come back to us when they are older.”

Five of the children were outwardly adopted in foreign countries. Only one child remained in the hands of the Haitian orphanage. My staff confronted the director of the orphanage, and they demanded $2,000 US dollars in order to return the child to his mother.

When the name “HaitiChildren” was presented to the orphanage director the child was delivered literally across the threshold without charge. One mother got her child back. Five mothers will likely never know with whom and where their child lives.

 

Adoption of Haitian Children

Yes. Many, so many, children are abandoned in Haiti. But businesses that operate under the name of “orphanages” cannot make money unless they have young, cute, healthy children. There are no businesses operating as orphanages who want children with disabilities or who have aged out of the popular adoption age.

Responsible institutions must be held to higher standards. IBESR (the Haitian Government department that regulates orphanages and adoptions) led by Ariel Villedrouin, does not have the funds necessary to implement these standards. Pop-up orphanages with no license, no medical care, and no experience often also have no plan for the future of the child other than to sell them overseas. If the child is not picked for adoption the child is often put out on the streets… this is common but rarely spoke about.

 

Support the Right Haitian Orphanage

If you are considering adopting a child from Haiti (or any other country for that matter) or are considering donating to a Haitian orphanage, please ask the following questions. If you have any “nagging” feeling in your belly with the answers you receive, walk away… in fact, run and let me know.

Does the orphanage you support in Haiti have a plan for children they take in throughout their childhood and teen years?

Is all of their funding (“revenue model”) based on adoptions?

Have children been raised and educated successfully in the orphanage?

Do you see evidence that teenagers are still there after many years if they were not adopted out?

Is there a medical professional available in place for orphanages with more than 25 children?

Ask to see the annual food and medical budget.

Ask to see the license for operating an orphanage and then verify with IBESR.

Do the children have one or more parents? Ask for the required abandonment document on any child you take an interest in.

Do not fall for this story “the child was brought to our door and abandoned”.

If a child is left at your door the onus is on the orphanage to report the abandonment and only after the government of Haiti issues a document to the orphanage does the child become legally abandoned. Be careful. Do your homework.

Not only has this been my sole body of work in Haiti for 25 years, I was in foster care in Alabama in my preteen and early teen years.

Click HERE to read the full article on apnews.com

Thank you Associated Press News.

From the heart,

Susie

 

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