The news is awful and continues to get worse as we watch our Caribbean neighbors suffer. We are able to watch some of it on TV and the internet, as the catastrophe deteriorates. And even with that, we know it is much worse. We don’t smell the overpowering stench of the decomposing dead or the waste and disease of life as time marches forward. We don’t hear the cries—strong at first, pleading for help and then weakening with emotional and physical pain and unbearable hunger and thirst, only to be silenced by hopelessness or death. We don’t see the bloated, bloody mangled bodies and body parts rife with maggots and flies. We don’t see the frightened haunted looks of the Haitians as they wander adrift, trying to deal with this calamity.
Americans are known for being generous, especially in times of crisis. So, it did not surprise me to hear again about the surge of inquiries about adopting children orphaned by the horrific destruction. The tsunami of 2005 brought forth a similar tide of inquiry.
But where was this interest in the children before Haiti was hit by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake? Where was the humanity?
Haiti has had an adoption program for years, but adoptions of Haitian children have been a fraction of other international adoptions. 301 children were adopted from Haiti in 2008; last year it was 330. These are very low numbers when you compare them to adoptions from China, Guatemala, Ethiopia, Russia, and South Korea. And here in America.
Estimates of orphaned children are between 100 and 150 million worldwide.
Between 100 million and 150 million children.
It’s a staggering number, isn’t it?
Millions of children without homes, love, and families.
As people surge forward with interest in adopting and people call for expedited approvals on pending adoptions, I hope they also think about the other children, here and across the world that also need families. Open their hearts and their minds.
For the Haitian people and for those of you waiting to hear about loved ones, relatives, family, or waiting to bring your Haitian child home: my prayers are with you.