A Note Regarding the Children of Haiti — Adoption Blogs
For more information on Intercountry Adoption, you can visit the International Adoption webpage at Adoption.com or the U.S. State Department’s website on Intercountry Adoption.
Also Note THIS: Center For Adoption Policy blog
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Overseas Citizens Services Michele Bond
January 20, 2010
SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone, and Michele and Sharon, Lauren. I’m joined today with three of our extraordinary public servants from the federal government who you will hear from in a minute, and I will introduce them.
But first, I want to give you a brief update on developments in Haiti. Today we are closely monitoring the impact of the significant aftershock – it was above 6 on the Richter scale – that struck Port-au-Prince this morning, and we are assessing potential damage from it.
In better news, we saw the arrival of the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship with more than 600 medical personnel, that adds important capacity to our relief efforts….
These three dedicated public servants, along with all whom they work with, are leading our efforts on behalf of the children who were orphaned before this earthquake, because children are especially vulnerable in any disaster, especially those without parents or other guardians to look after them. This devastating earthquake has left many in need of assistance, and their welfare is of paramount concern as we move forward with our rescue and relief efforts.
Now, when it comes to children, it is imperative that we closely coordinate with the Haitian Government, the United Nations, and our other international partners such as NGOs and faith communities who are on the ground, who are working to ensure that aid reaches Haiti’s orphanages and that the newly orphaned children are accounted for and cared for.
There are several hundred Americans in the United States who were already in the process of adopting Haitian children before the earthquake. As a mother, I share the anxiety that they must be feeling as they wait for word about their children’s safety, and we are doing everything possible to locate these children and then expedite their arrival in our country.
The State Department is heading up a joint task force with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services to streamline the process and ensure that families both get word and get reunited as quickly as we can. We’ve established an interagency working group to focus on the humanitarian needs of highly vulnerable children.
I want to underscore that we are consulting closely with President Preval and his government on this and every facet of this massive relief effort. They are setting the priorities for relief and recovery despite operating under the most difficult circumstances.
The KWB just wants everyone to know that there are ways to do things right, to make sure that abuses do not occur, even in the case of Haiti, which has not signed the Hague Conventions. Yet, as Secretary of State Hilliary Rodham-Clinton assures us, procedures will be followed to make sure the rights of the children are protected and only then to process orphans who are in such great need.