Sunday, January 31, 2010

News Bureaus Report on Children Taken to Dominican Republic

CNN and other news bureaus have reported that 10 American and Dominican citizens were arrested by the Haitian authorities while transporting 33 children into the Dominican Republic. The article reports that a U.S. government official stated that there are no indications trafficking was involved. According to CNN, the U.S. official also stated that it appears the orphanage was damaged and the children were being moved to their facility in the Dominican Republic but failed to obtain exit visas from Haiti. On January 24, the Haitian government instituted a policy of requiring government approval for children leaving Haiti.

In a BBC report, the AFO new agency quoted Haitian Social Affairs Minister Yves Christallin saying “This is an abduction, not an adoption.”

Other news bureaus, such as KMVT in Twin Falls, Idaho, reported the border crossing as an illicit adoption scheme, despite the statements of the Haitian Social Affairs Minister and U.S. government officials.

The announcement by the Haitian government that government approval must be given for any child leaving Haiti has been reported widely, including by Joint Council. Any violation of this requirement, regardless of the motivation, must be investigated and if appropriate, vigorously prosecuted. Failing to take aggressive action against individuals involved in illegal activity only compromises children’s rights and adds to the trauma experienced through institutionalization and compounded by the earthquake.

Allegations in the media that this is somehow an “illicit adoption scheme”, despite the reported statement of the Haitian Social Affairs Minister and U.S. government officials noted above, do little to advance the protection of children. Without substantiation, the association of illegal border crossing with adoption, damages the valued institution of intercountry adoption and may contribute to the elimination of a child’s right to a family.

Joint Council again calls on all who provide services to children, to adhere to the requirements of the Haitian government. While the situation in Haiti continues to be a crisis for children, services must be provided in Haiti unless prior approval for travel is obtained from the Haitian government.

The motives, as reported in the media, highlights both the need to know and comply with Haitian requirements and the need to immediately provide safe shelter, nutrition, water and medical care to children in need.

-Joint Council

Friday, January 29, 2010

Adoption Learning Partners: A Special Event for Parents of Children Traumatized by the Earthquake in Haiti
Adoption Learning Partners in cooperation with the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute,and the Heart of the Matter Seminars is hosting a webinar for families who are adopting Haitian children. We urge all parents of Haitian children impacted by the earthquake to participate in this very important learning opportunity. The webinar feartures Dr. Bruce Perry who will present on the trauma experienced by Haitian children. Please see below for details.
Layers of Trauma for Haiti’s Orphans:

A Webinar featuring Dr. Bruce Perry

Monday, February 1st, 2010 from 7:00 to 8:00 PM Central Time
(a recorded version will be available subsequently)
This free webinar features Bruce D. Perry M.D., Ph.D., the Senior Fellow at

The ChildTrauma Academy. He will discuss the likely impact of the many traumas children coming home from the orphanages in Haiti have experienced.

The webinar will help prepare families who are now awaiting or have already received placement under the United States’ expedited program.

He will cover the impact of the multiple traumas on this group of kids, explain what parents can expect, and give advice on how they can ease the transition for their child. The webinar will have practical advice for adoptive parents, adoption professionals, and interim caregivers.

Please forward this invitation to any family awaiting a placement from Haiti as well as staff and/or interim caregivers for these children. In order to give priority to those families who will benefit the most from this live webinar, we ask that you refrain from inviting families who are just starting to explore the option of adopting from Haiti.

Dr. Perry will address specific trauma-related questions from the audience as time allows. We ask that you submit questions in advance through the registration form.
PLEASE NOTE: this session is intended for those families who were in process of adopting from Haiti prior to the earthquake and are therefore receiving an expedited placement of their child. The Haitian adoption process itself as well as advice for those looking to start the process of adopting from Haiti will not be covered.
This webinar is brought to you by Adoption Learning Partners in cooperation with the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, the Joint Council on International Children’s Services and the Heart of the Matter Seminars.


Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haitian Government Announces New Exit Requirement for Children

It is Joint Council’s understanding that the government of Haiti, in protecting against the inappropriate movement of children to the U.S. and other countries, has announced that the Haiti government must approve the international movement of each individual child. This includes children that are bound for the U.S., whether through the visa process or humanitarian parole.

It is also our understanding that the U.S. government is actively engaged on this issue with the Haitian government. The US Citizenship and Immigration Services, which authorizes humanitarian parole for each child, continues to process cases at the US Embassy in Port au Prince.

The new requirement of the Haitian government may cause a delay in the travel of children who qualify for a U.S. visa or humanitarian parole. It is understandable that adoptive families who have yet to be united with the child they are adopting, may be concerned. Joint Council urges adoptive families to remain diligent and continue to seek humanitarian parole for the child they are adopting.

It is Joint Council’s understanding that this new requirement is in response to concerns that children who were not in the process of adoption, leaving Haiti for the U.S. and other countries. Joint Council shares in the concerns over the inappropriate movement of Haitian children.

Joint Council again calls on the U.S. government, UNICEF and others engaged in child protection to provide transport of Haitian orphans to safe shelter including nutrition and medical care, regardless of their adoption status. Any delays necessitated by this new child protection requirement only further support Joint Council’s standing advocacy for the safety and well-being of Haitian orphans and other children.

-Joint Council

Friday, January 22, 2010

When we hear about one rumor, we usually don’t post about it. But when we hear from numerous sources, we reach out for confirmation and then let you know…so here you go.

Rumor #1 – The US Embassy in Port au Prince has stopped issuing visas and had canceled all appointments.

We can confirm that the US Embassy has not stopped issuing visas.

Rumor #2 – The US Embassy will be closed for the weekend.

We can confirm that the US Embassy will be open for the weekend and will continue to process humanitarian paroles.

-Joint Council
Just wanted to let you know that we found out that we are in Category 1 and will be getting our son Fauberson any day now. So it is very close for all of us. It is good that we all kept in contact with each other and didn't go "rogue" on getting our kids out. It sounds like that is causing a lot of problems and confusion. Kids have been taken out that shouldn't have been. Some of these "rogue" missions have taken away time from the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security focusing on getting every child home. So, let's continue to follow the lead of Karin, Rebecca, Hand in Hand, Dillon Adoptions, the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security and we will get our kids home to us.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Voice from Haiti:

Dear Tom and Rebecca,

The only way to describe Haiti right now is a living nightmare. The lack of coordination and the practicalities of traveling from the Embassy to the airport and back to the orphanage makes it impossible to work with any efficiency and we can accomplish very little. Today we spent over 3 hours trying to get to the Embassy with 15 children – 14 under the age of two – and then spent 9 hours at the Embassy. We walked out with few parole visas and were advised that DOS had left for the evening so we would get our adoption visas the next day. After risking my life to enter an extremely damaged building to recover files and lugging them to the Embassy it was frustrating to say the least to have accomplished so little. In addition, I know I will need to stay up all night tonight to go over 40+ cases to assess the documents and to organize them, all while under a tent and using a flashlight. We are too scared to try to sleep inside and who can sleep anyway when every little noise or jar wakes you up in fear? The conditions are unfathomable and I cannot understand why we do not have a centralized location to serve these orphans – those already established as being in need of a family before the earthquake. I am so thirsty, but cannot drink as often as I would like because we are running out of water and I cannot take what the kids may need, although we came into Haiti with more than enough for us, we have to share what we have.

I have to stay strong here and not fall to pieces but the situation is truly impossible and is leading to unnecessary delays and continued and increased risk to children already established before the earthquake as orphans (as well as MANY others). I have so many fears – another aftershock that woke us so roughly on Wednesday morning and a wall tumbling down on our heads, children starving, the orphanage being looted as the frustration continues to grow regarding the delay in distributing supplies, children dying from sickness (almost all the children here have a deep cough and we have few meds. to offer), and ultimately, what other diseases will result from the conditions here.

The children are sleeping outside on soiled mattresses and in wet sheets – there are not enough diapers for them to be used as needed. They are scared to death and will cling to anyone who reaches out a hand. All of the people who experienced this horrific catastrophe seem to be suffering from post traumatic stress – quite understandably – and yes, I am qualified to diagnose.

I am having such a hard time seeing that orphans are once again being used as political pawns in spite of this monumental tragedy. I am standing in the midst of a nightmare where I am thirsty and hungry and scared – but I have a US passport and eventually I have the chance to go home to a warm bed, plenty of food and people who love me. When did common sense exit the entire equation regarding children’s welfare and establishing what is in the best interests of a child? How many children must die unnecessarily in the midst of this crisis because of bureaucratic red tape when simple and temporary solutions are not that difficult? But, I guess I should expect this – because we are dealing with very poor orphans and how high on the priority scale do they fall? When I initially heard about the US response to the orphan crisis in Haiti I was SO PROUD. I was so grateful that Obama was our President, Hilary Clinton was our Secretary of State and that for once we were going to get this right. Unfortunately, it seems that the US has again bowed to outside pressure to be politically correct and back down from what we know to be morally right. I do not think there is any person with an ounce of compassion who could view this situation and not believe that immediate and decisive action is necessary to save the children of Haiti. Enough will die without us contributing through inaction and inefficiency.

Please pray for all of us here. We need it desperately.

-Joint Council

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

U.S. Day Care…in Port au Prince
This just in from a ‘man on the ground’ in Port au Prince…

“You can’t believe how many kids are inside the embassy. It’s like a day care center.”

-Joint Council

It is Joint Council's understanding that there are currently well over 200 children on the way to the U.S. Embassy from orphanages throughout Haiti. It is our understanding that the situation at the Embassy is very chaotic with hundreds of people outside. If at all possible, we ask that orphanages do not go to the Embassy for processing. Joint Council has given a list of orphanages to the the Dept of State, it is our understanding that they are in the process of contacting each orphanage with instructions. Joint Council is also providing the U.S. Dept of State with updates as information is given to us from families and adoption service providers.

I understand that this is a very difficult situation and I wish I had other news.

-Joint Council
From REBECCA HARRIS | Joint Council on International Children's Services |Director of Programs and Services|

Haiti Call to Action

It as come that time that we request are dear friends and family help us ensure the safety of children in Haiti. Please read the message below and contact your Senators and Representative.

To find your senators go to,
To find your representative go to,
Suggested Talking Points

Hello, my name is…

I am in the process of adopting a child from Haiti…


I am concerned about the orphan children of Hati...

I know that many Members of Congress continue to support efforts on behalf of Haiti’s orphaned children. I extend my thanks to the Congressman/Senator.

I am calling because…
* We need your help to get our adoptive child out of Haiti safely.
* Water, food and medicine are running out.
* Gangs have looted some of the orphanages and even travel is not safe for the children.
* The Department of Homeland security has granted humanitarian parole, but it is only the first step.
* The devastation from the earthquake is vast and our child’s safety - and even life - is at risk.

Joint Council on International Children’s Services, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, and a team of congressional offices and relief organizations are working to coordinate a staging and housing center to provide:
* Physical safety
* Medicine
* Food
* Water
* A Staging Center for USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) to process humanitarian parole

The groups working to launch the staging and housing center already have most of what the children need.
But they do not have
* Water
* Security to protect the children and supplies from gangs
* Transportation to bring the children into this safe haven

We are asking that (name of Member of Congress) personally call:
* Secretary of State Clinton, and
* Dr. Shah, Administrator Designate at USAID

And specifically request that they authorize security forces be sent to the offered staging center and assist in the extraction and transport of these children from their orphanages to the staging center. All other pieces of a successful operation of this staging center are currently in place, but all hinge on this authorization of security and transport.

If this security does not reach the site within 24 hours, children being adopted and many other children will continue to suffer and may in fact not live long enough to be united with my family and the other 300 U.S. families.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Dear Haiti list,

For those of you that were unable to attend the Joint Council conference call I wanted to just send out
a recap, hitting on some of the key points.
First let me say that I thought the call went very well, was informative and helped give agencies/families some
Hope and direction.
Joint Council talked about the four groups of orphans of High priority in Haiti;
First those children that were at the visa stage or close to the visa stage prior to the quake
Second those who will now fall under the Humanitarian Parole
Third children in orphanages that have already been relinquished and are in the full custody of the orphanage
Fourth children in the orphanages that have not been relinquished
Joint council is concerned with the well being of all these children and will do all they can to protect these children
And keep them safe.
Right now the emphasis is on the first two groups of children, and getting them out of Haiti.
Joint Council hopes to have a secure sight in Haiti soon where the children can be brought not only to be process them
To come to the US but to be able to give them some medical attention and food and shelter.
Next Joint council is trying to secure a location in the US where the children can be brought and meet their parents,
Receive additional medical care.
This is the ideal situation but we are only waiting for approval from the US government to do this, we have
Transportation for the children and are pretty close to having all the volunteers in both countries ready to do
This but need an approval from the US ASAP.
Rebecca Harris will follow up with an email on how agencies and families can help.
If there was anyone else on the call that wants to add to this please feel free.
I do want to add one more thing, Joint Council is still urging families/agencies/orphanage staff
To NOT go to the embassy in Haiti, it is not safe and they are not prepared to have mass numbers of people
Show up there, hopefully soon the compound/uscis processing center will be up and running.

Again, we cannot thank Tom and Rebecca and the staff at Joint Council for all their hard work!

Chareyl Moyes
Joint Council Haiti Caucus Chair
received some information regarding New Life Link from the recent conference call-in and they seem to be doing alright, they have food and water. That is all I now for now, if I get more information I will share it as soon as I can.
Fact Sheet Jan. 18, 2010


On Jan. 18, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State (DOS), today announced a humanitarian parole policy allowing orphaned children from Haiti to enter the United States temporarily on an individual basis to ensure that they receive the care they need—as part of the U.S. government’s ongoing support of international recovery efforts after last week’s earthquake.

DHS and DOS are working together to issue travel documents (either immigrant visas or humanitarian parole authorizations) for children who fall into the two categories described below. Once these children are cleared to travel, the U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince will facilitate their evacuation to the United States so they may be united with their American adoptive parents.

Under applicable laws, unaccompanied minors entering the country without a parent or legal guardian will be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement.  

All cases will be evaluated by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Depending on their circumstances, and information available some children will receive immigrant visas with permanent immigration status and will require no further processing. Those who enter under humanitarian parole status will need to have their immigration status resolved after arrival.

Eligibility for Humanitarian Parole

Category 1
Children who have been legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by the Government of Haiti, were in the process of being adopted by Americans prior to Jan. 12, 2010 and meet the below criteria.

Required Criteria
Evidence of availability for adoption, which MUST include at least one of the following:
Full and final Haitian adoption decree
Government of Haiti Custody grant to prospective adoptive parents for emigration and adoption
Secondary evidence in lieu of the above.

Evidence of suitability for adoption, which MUST include at least one of the following:
Notice of Approval of Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition
Current FBI Fingerprints and background security check clearances
Physical custody in Haiti plus a security background check

Category 2
Children who have been identified by an adoption service provider or facilitator as eligible for intercountry adoption, were matched to prospective American adoptive parents prior to Jan. 12, 2010 and meet the below criteria.

Required Criteria
Significant evidence of a relationship between the prospective adoptive parents and the child AND of the parents’ intention to complete the adoption, which could include the following:
Proof of travel by the prospective adoptive parents to Haiti to visit the child
Photos of the child and prospective adoptive parents together
An Adoption Service Provider “Acceptance of Referral” letter signed by the prospective adoptive parents
Documentary evidence that the prospective adoptive parents initiated the adoption process prior to Jan. 12, 2010 with intent to adopt the child (filed Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition, and/or Form I-600, Petition to Classify an Orphan as an Immediate Relative, completed a home study, located an ASP to work with in Haiti, etc.)

Evidence of the child’s availability for adoption, which could the following:
IBESR (Haitian Adoption Authority) approval
Documentation of legal relinquishment or award of custody to the Haitian orphanage
Secondary evidence in lieu of the above

Evidence of suitability for adoption, which MUST include at least one of the following:
Notice of Approval of Form I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of an Orphan Petition; OR
Current FBI Fingerprints and background security check clearances

Other Orphaned or Separated Children
Given the severity of the disaster in Haiti, we understand that there are additional children that have been orphaned and/or separated from relatives and may also be in varying stages of the adoption process. DHS and the U.S. Department of State continue to evaluate additional eligibility criteria and will provide additional information as soon as it is available.

USCIS encourages U.S. citizens with pending adoption cases in Haiti to send us detailed information about their cases to

Please visit the USCIS website at and the U.S. Department of State website at for more information and updates.

Press Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

Press Release

January 18, 2010
Contact: DHS Press Office, (202) 282-8010


WASHINGTON—Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano, in coordination with the U.S. Department of State, today announced a humanitarian parole policy allowing orphaned children from Haiti to enter the United States temporarily on an individual basis to ensure that they receive the care they need—as part of the U.S. government’s ongoing support of international recovery efforts after last week’s earthquake.
“We are committed to doing everything we can to help reunite families in Haiti during this very difficult time,” said Secretary Napolitano. “While we remain focused on family reunification in Haiti, authorizing the use of humanitarian parole for orphans who are eligible for adoption in the United States will allow them to receive the care they need here.”

Humanitarian parole into the United States may be granted by the Secretary of Homeland Security to bring otherwise inadmissible individuals into the country on account of urgent humanitarian reasons or other emergencies. The humanitarian parole policy announced by Secretary Napolitano today will be applied on a case-by-case basis to the following children:

Children who have been legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by the Government of Haiti and are being adopted by U.S. citizens.

Children who have been previously identified by an adoption service provider or facilitator as eligible for intercountry adoption and have been matched to U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents.

Under applicable laws, unaccompanied minors entering the country without a parent or legal guardian will be turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement.  

Today’s announcement expands the humanitarian relief that the U.S. Government is extending to Haitians in response to the devastation caused by the earthquake. Last week, Secretary Napolitano announced the designation of Temporary Protected Status for Haitian nationals who were physically present in the United States as of Jan. 12, 2010—allowing eligible Haitian nationals to continue living and working in the United States for the next 18 months. Those who attempt to travel to the United States after Jan. 12, 2010 will not be eligible for TPS and will be repatriated

More information about humanitarian parole and TPS is available at or by calling USCIS toll-free at (800) 375-5283. DHS encourages U.S. citizens with pending adoption cases in Haiti to send us detailed information about their cases to


Monday, January 18, 2010

E-mail from Gladys Thomas, Pres., FEH

All the children at Haiti Home for Children (HHC) including Adeline, the Supervisor, are safe and doing OK. The little ones are still very scared and traumatized with each aftershock. Everyone sleeps outside so far in fear of the shocks. Still no news of a few more employees. Will update you as we know more.

Lots of supplies have come in that I will be taking with me and up to 12 other people and my kids going along via the DR on Monday. Mario St. Laurent, a pediatrician and Board member, and his son are also going.

CROSS International sent $10,000.00 to the Dominican Republic via CURE Int'l for us to use for medical supplies. We will have someone taking care of the purchasing and establishing a liaison between the DR and PAP. Praise God for that gift and the possibility of getting the needed supplies.

Many have already died at the hospital. Natalie, administrator of the hospital, and the rest of the staff are doing the best they can, but they are emotionally breaking down. Keep them in your prayers.
Most of us have not slept since the news. Pray, Pray.

Damaged areas in the hospital are being repaired so that we can consolidate. Some major poles need repairs near the operating room areas. Pray for fuel as well as we need that for the generators. Natalie was trying to get some from Maurice our board member, but only one gas station was open. I will try to get some from the DR as well as gas for the anesthesia machine.

Thank you so much for all the comfort and love. Will keep you posted as I have more info.


portion of an e-mail from Senator Klobuchar office:

First of all, I just want to make sure that all of you have emailed your information to the Department of State Haiti Adoption email address – When emailing DoS, please be sure to include all identifying information for your children, your contact information and the current status of your case.

Several of you received reports tonight that some children have begun to be evacuated from Haiti and brought into the U.S. through Humanitarian Parole. Our office has not received this information from the Department of State or Department of Homeland Security. I believe CNN was reporting this, and there were also updates sent out from a few orphanages. I have been trying to reach the Department of State Office of Children’s Issues this evening to see if I can get you more information about what exactly is happening. As you can imagine, they are incredibly busy working on this very issue so I have not received an update yet. As soon as I receive any information, I will let all of you know. I know they are working through the holiday weekend to work this out, but I also know that for you, the waiting parents, the work cannot happen fast enough.

Thank you for keeping me updated on anything you hear regarding the evacuation of your children. Please continue to do so. Also, let me know if you hear anything from the orphanages regarding the condition of your children. We are providing all of this information to the Department of State.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Here is another family and their story.

Hello Everyone:

When the earthquake hit, I was in the final stages of my adoption of two children (Mirlande and Dieurission). My children are at the New Life Link nursery in Creche, Haiti. I am pleased to say that all the children at the nursery were able to make it out safely. They are taking refuge in a nearby church. Unfortunately, the nursery was severely damaged. Currently, they are trying to move all the children to a safer location. Like all of you, I am gravely concerned about the health and safety of my children especially as food runs out and the supplies aren't replenishing as quickly as they are consumed.

I have been in contact with my congressman - Mike Coffman's office here in Colorado. His senior advocate has been helping me out greatly.
I have been waiting five months for their visas to be approved only to find out that my local USCIS office has not sent out the I-604 request to the US Embassy in Haiti.

Thanks for taking the time to hear my story. I will be praying that all of Haiti and ask that you do the same for me

Have a blessed day,
Tymesha Watkins

~Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. And enjoy your hot chocolate.
Here is another family and their story.

We are James & Mandy Moore. We have a child in Haiti --- his adoption is complete, we were told a few days ago that we would have a passport "any day" as MOI was on the final check of our dossier. And now..............who knows?!?!

Our son's adoption was complete last summer. He is legally ours.

Our understanding is that you are trying to form a group of adoptive parents who are in the same situation as us..........perhaps with one loud voice someone will listen and allow our children to join us.

We would like any information or advice about what steps should be taken..........

James & Mandy Moore

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hello! If you are reading this, then you are a family who is affected by the Earthquake in Haiti, whether you are adopting or have adopted from Haiti. Our story is that we have a little boy named Fauberson at Rainbow of Love, who is waiting for us to bring him home. We were at the final stages (getting passports and Visa) when the earthquake happened. Like all of you we were deeply concerned and worried about the safety of our child, the people at the orphanage and the rest of the Haitians. We are relieved to say that he is okay and the orphanage is all right, but that is only for the immediate time. We are concerned about what will happen next when supplies start to run out and there is not enough relief services. Many of you are or have been experiencing the same feelings of relief, frustration and being overwhelmed with the enormity of the situation. This is why we have decided that we need to support each other through this and to bring us all together to advocate getting these children home as soon as possible. Many more children are going to be coming to the orphanages needing their help.