God’s Littlest Angels, an orphanage in Pétionville, Haiti
Since the subject has come up, I thought I would look into this. The January 12 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti’s capitol set off an international adoption bonanza in which some safeguards meant to protect children were ignored.
The current Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett adopted John Peter, now age 13, was adopted by her in 2010 when he was 3 years old, after the devastating earthquake in Haiti. Ibram X. Kendi tweeted, “Some White colonizers ‘adopted’ Black children. They ‘civilized’ these ‘savage’ children in the ‘superior’ ways of White people, while using them as props in their lifelong pictures of denial, while cutting the biological parents of these children out of the picture of humanity. And whether this is Barrett or not is not the point. It is a belief too many White people have: if they have or adopt a child of color, then they can’t be racist.”
John Lee Brougher from the NextGen America PAC tweeted, “As an adoptee, I need to know more about the circumstances of how Amy Coney Barrett came to adopt her children, and the treatment of them since. Transracial adoption is fraught with trauma and potential for harm.” And I really hoped that Trump would have picked the judge from Florida that was on the short list for diversity reasons but I knew he didn’t care one whit about diversity. He does care about the Evangelicals (many of whom promote international adoptions) and their desire for ultra-conservative judges. From that perspective, of course Coney Barrett was a given and that has proven out. A group of Evangelicals were reported in the Oval office the morning before the official announcement.
The Obama administration responded to BOTH the crisis and to the pleas of prospective adoptive parents and the lawmakers assisting them, by lifting visa requirements for children in the process of being adopted by Americans.
Although initially planned as a short-term, small-scale evacuation, the rescue effort quickly evolved into a baby lift unlike anything since the Vietnam War. It went on for months; fell briefly under the cloud of scandal involving 10 Baptist missionaries who improperly took custody of 33 children; ignited tensions between the United States and child protection organizations; and swept up about 1,150 Haitian children, more than were adopted by American families in the previous three years, according to interviews with government officials, adoption agencies and child advocacy groups.
Under humanitarian parole, adoptions were expedited regardless of whether children were in peril, and without the screening required to make sure they had not been improperly separated from their relatives or placed in homes that could not adequately care for them.
Some Haitian orphanages were nearly emptied, even though they had not been affected by the quake or licensed to handle adoptions. Children were released without legal documents showing they were orphans and without regard for evidence suggesting fraud. In at least one case, two siblings were evacuated even though American authorities had determined through DNA tests that the man who had given them to an orphanage was not a relative.
I’m sure there will be more about these circumstances in the coming days. To inform yourself about the matter, you can read about the free for all Haitian adoptions after the 2010 earthquake in the New York Times – “After Haiti Quake, the Chaos of U.S. Adoptions“.