Many volunteer to adopt Haiti orphans

For S., the decision to try and adopt a child from earthquake-devastated Haiti was almost immediate.

January 26, 2010 00:06
2 minute read.
A baby at the IDF hospital in Haiti.

baby haiti 311. (photo credit: AP)

For S., the decision to try and adopt a child from earthquake-devastated Haiti was almost immediate.

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"The minute I saw the images on TV and realized that it was such a huge disaster, I knew it was my destiny to adopt a child," S., 40, who asked not to use her real name, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

"I know there will be lots of challenges, but when your heart tells you to do something and the decision comes straight from the pit of your stomach, nothing else seems to matter," said S., who recently split from her husband and would raise the child on her own.

She added: "For me it does not matter if a child comes from the belly or from Haiti, all children are a challenge for their parents."

S. is among more than 30 families that have approached the Welfare and Social Service Ministry's Adoption Department over the past 10 days requesting to take in children left orphaned by the January 12 earthquake.

On Thursday, representatives of the Foreign Ministry and the Welfare and Social Services Ministry met to discuss the fine details of a policy for adopting Haitians orphaned by the quake.

Post in an interview Sunday. "There is no central government here and those who are in charge are dealing with more pressing matters."

Radian added that despite the severe problems facing children left without relatives after the earthquake, adoption has to be done very carefully.

"We don't want to send children to be adopted and then suddenly discover that their parents are still alive," he said.

On Friday, however, UNICEF warned that amidst the chaos in Haiti, child trafficking and sexual exploitation had become a main concern.

Despite the fact that Radian was still uncertain if the adoption of Haitian children would become a reality, Orna Hirschfeld, director of the National Authority of Inter-Country Adoption, said that requests from Israelis to adopt from the Caribbean country had been flooding the office.

She said that those who had expressed an interest included both families that already have children and those that did not.

While Hirschfeld could provide very few details on what format adoptions from Haiti would take, she highlighted that standard guidelines, including background checks on families and relevant preparation, would be implemented.

"The minister [Isaac Herzog] has already set up a committee of professionals to prepare for such adoptions," she said, adding "This is all part of Israel's humanitarian effort to help Haitians."

Asked about possible complications of interracial adoptions, Hirschfeld responded that they were not uncommon in Israel, where there has been a growth in recent years of families adopting from Guatemala.

Health Ministry officials also said that they had yet to create a formal policy for the health examinations of Haitian orphans that could be brought here, including testing them for AIDS/HIV, malaria, hepatitis, typhoid and other diseases.

On Sunday, ministry spokeswoman Einav Shimron-Greenboim said it was waiting for the government to make a decision and that if it was decided to allow adoptions from Haiti, the ministry would decide what examinations were required.

Judy Siegel contributed to this report.

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