Adopting a child isn’t like going to the pet store to get a dog or a cat. It takes a long time to adopt international children for two very specific reasons:

• The sponsoring country needs to be sure the child is adoptable; that a family really wants to give the child away; and the country agrees to let the child go.

• The adopting family’s ability to provide for that child needs to be checked out. They must be aware of the difficulties of cultural and language barriers.

My daughter is working in Haiti with the International Rescue Committee Emergency Response Team to identify and support unidentified children. They are developing standardized tools so that regardless of the agency that finds a child, that child can be connected with extended families. She is also working with partners in Haiti to build safe places now for children to come and participate in activities. Creating a sense of normalcy for children is a very important step in recovery.

She tells me that the worst time to adopt a child is during a disaster or immediately after a disaster. These children need a safe place in their own country to adjust to the changes. The thousands who were lost as a result of the earthquake can never be replaced. To take the children away now is a travesty. Children provide hope and are the future of the country. Haiti needs them to help create a new and brighter future.

Jane Chandler, Bryant Pond

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