May 31, 2017
I recently spent a week in Haiti on a medical mission trip. Two of my adult children (one in nursing school, the other starting a doctorate physical therapy program in Texas) graciously agreed to ride the adventure train with me.
My first exposure to Haiti was approximately 10 years ago when I completed a home study for a family attempting to adopt 2 girls from Haiti. This family had completed multiple mission trips to this poverty-stricken country, met the children, and formed a bond. The adoption was successfully completed but it was a long and difficult process. While adopting from Haiti is possible; honestly, there are not many children adopted from this country despite the numbers of orphaned children. The Department of State provides the following statistics:
Adoptions from Haiti to U.S. by year
- 2016 : 178
- 2015 : 143
- 2014 : 464
- 2013 : 388
- 2012 : 154
- 2011 : 33
- 2010 : 133
I have been told children are viewed as the future of Haiti and the way to a better life for all in Haiti and this prevents government officials from making more children available for adoption and making the process easier. It is hard from me to swallow this explanation as we encountered, played with, and loved on many children; all the while, knowing their future was almost certainly bleak. No education for many, no health care, only hunger and difficulties.
I surely do not have the answers for the many longstanding issues facing the poorest country in the western hemisphere where the life expectancy is only 57 and where political instability and the “poverty trap” has roots so deep and wide it is almost impossible to identify solutions. I do believe that for many children orphaned and children with special needs, adoption could be the answer to a better life and it is heartbreaking that this is not embraced by the Haitian political establishment.