Now that many of the cameras have left Haiti and we’ve viewed the last footage as the heroic volunteers pull from the rubble, we must now refocus our attention on the good people who remained to set about the daunting and important work of “rebuilding” a nation. Our work initially after the earthquake was to work with Members of Congress, the State Department, and USCIS to finalize adoptions and process visas of children who were just weeks and a final signature away from coming home permanently to their forever families.
In an earlier post, our Executive Director, Kathleen Strottman, shared her views on the need to not merely rebuild the child welfare system that existed in Haiti prior to the earthquake, but to take this opportunity to build a better child welfare system, taking lessons learned from other disasters, such as the 2004 tsunami. Just last week we released our CCAI Position Statement on the Orphan Needs in Haiti. In this statement, we call on U.S. and international officials to observe the principle that the optimal setting for a child to be raised is in a family, among other principles.
CNN’s Anderson Cooper reported last month a story entitled, “Haitians Want Orphans to Stay”. What is so disappointing about this video
is that it shows how people continue to fail to see that it is not only food and walls that are required for children to survive and thrive, it is the love and support from a family. While orphanages are meant to meet the basic needs of children, there are some needs that only families can provide–that sense of security and constant love that every child will continue to need well beyond childhood and into adulthood. This is why we are continuing to fight for the children of Haiti, as well as children in the U.S. and around the world, to have their basic right to a family finally met.
I wanted to highlight 2 upcoming adoption-related conferences that you might be interested in attending.
Joint Council on International Children’s Services is hosting their annual conference on March 17th-20th in Baltimore, MD. This would be a good place for anyone interested in international adoption to get information about the process! The also offer workshops and Continuing Education credits. Here is a link to their website. As part of the agenda this year, they will be having an Adult Adoptee and Adoptive Family Day on Saturday, March 20th. There will be a track for international adoptees over 15+ years of age, as well as post-adoptive and pre-adoptive parent tracks.
Also coming up is the Center for Adoption Policy’s Annual Adoption Law and Policy Conference. This will take place at the New York Law School on Friday, March 5th. Their keynote speaker, Dr. Charles Nelson, will speak about Deficits, Intervention and Recovery after Severe Social Neglect in Romanian Orphans. View the agenda and register, or you can visit their website.
Please feel free to comment to add information about other adoption conferences, or to share feedback if you’ve attended previous conferences from JCICS or CAP.
We are glad you have taken the time to visit our blog and learn more about our efforts on behalf of the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe and loving homes. Whatever your need or interest, we invite you to join us in our work to remove the barriers that hinder children from realizing their basic right to a family.
At CCAI we believe that there is no such thing as an unwanted child, merely unfound families. Working together we can make the dream of a family a reality for every child.
We hope to use this blog to update the public on what the organization has been doing and solicit feedback from those interested in our work.