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Posted at 6:30 PM ET, 01/19/2010

Haitian ambassador addresses adoptions

By Christopher Dean Hopkins

While Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendall is being hailed as a hero in many circles for flying a jet into Haiti, scooping up a group of orphans and bringing them back to Pittsburgh to find them permanent homes, Haiti’s ambassador to the United States, Raymond Joseph, issued a word of caution regarding a growing debate about adopting children orphaned by the earthquake.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security allows orphaned children from Haiti to enter the United States on a case-by-case basis. During a morning news conference to announce a command center at the Haitian Embassy, Joseph said not everyone was happy with that system. “One group says we don’t want to heard them like cattle, and then the other group says that we should do it speedily. How do we balance that? Well I think that we are balancing pretty well.”

Rendell brought a military transport out of Port-au-Prince Monday with 53 orphans aboard. According to the governor's office most of the children were under the age of 4 and already were cleared to be adopted, while six were in the process of being adopted. The children all were orphans prior to the earthquake, but were made homeless by it when their orphanage was destroyed.

“We have to take time to find out who the kids are, if there are parents there and who is the guardian," Joseph said. "You cant just pick up any kid in the street who needs it and send him to America where he is going to be adopted. You can’t do that.”

-- Hamil R. Harris

By Christopher Dean Hopkins  | January 19, 2010; 6:30 PM ET
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For some reason the discussion about adoption both excites and displeases me. I'm excited because people are concerned about the children and want to do something to help their situation. I'm concerned because focus should be on finding the children's parents and making sure they are available for adoption. For the most part, I feel fairly certain that the children coming out of the orphanages are truly orphaned and available for adoption. We should just make sure their is a balance and we don't hasten to take children away from their home and family during this crisis.

Posted by: maehenrie | January 19, 2010 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Not all orphans in Haiti that are in the process of evacuating are being "scooped up" without appropriate destinations in the United States. The HOPE Orphanage, a part of Christian Service International based in Muncie, Indiana, consists of 20 orphan girls whose home in Haiti is presently unsafe and are sitting in the US Embassy of Haiti. Their guardians, Tim and Toby Banks, have applied for Humanitarian Parole status for these 20 precious girls and were initially given the go ahead to bring them to the US...and then told no. These children are documented as orphans but are not in the process of adoption because the goal of this organization is to give them the opportunities of health, a safe home, an education, and maintain their Haitian culture. They are seeking to come to the US while conditions are unsafe and then plan to return to their home in Haiti. Arrangements have already been made for their housing in Ohio and their guardians/parents will be accompanying them....but the paperwork is preventing their safe exodus. They have been in the US Embassy in Haiti for nearly 48 hours now. This orphanage appeared with Diane Sawyer a few days ago...they are a legitimate group that need evacuation....I am a board member of CSI and implore anyone who has influence to assist in this endeavor!

Posted by: drreese | January 21, 2010 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I would like to echo the above plea to help the girls of HOPE Orphanage to come to the United States. My mom and dad are Tim and Toby Banks, directors of the orphanage. In talking to them, the girls do belong in the United States for now, not forever. The girls love their home in Haiti and are looking for refuge during this most difficult of times. If you can help get them here in any way, please do so! Accomodations are set and waiting for these girls to arrive safely! Contact CSI Ministries if you can help!

Posted by: alexbanks10 | January 21, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

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