Many volunteer to adopt Haiti orphans

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

baby haiti 311 (photo credit: AP)
baby haiti 311
(photo credit: AP)

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

"Theminute I saw the images on TV and realized that it was such a hugedisaster, I knew it was my destiny to adopt a child," S., 40, who askednot to use her real name, told The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

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

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

S. is among more than 30 families that haveapproached the Welfare and Social Service Ministry's AdoptionDepartment over the past 10 days requesting to take in children leftorphaned by the January 12 earthquake.

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

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

Radian added that despite the severe problemsfacing children left without relatives after the earthquake, adoptionhas 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 inHaiti, child trafficking and sexual exploitation had become a mainconcern.

Despite the fact that Radian was still uncertain if theadoption of Haitian children would become a reality, Orna Hirschfeld,director of the National Authority of Inter-Country Adoption, said thatrequests from Israelis to adopt from the Caribbean country had beenflooding 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 formatadoptions from Haiti would take, she highlighted that standardguidelines, including background checks on families and relevantpreparation, would be implemented.

"The minister [Isaac Herzog] has already set up a committee ofprofessionals to prepare for such adoptions," she said, adding "This isall 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 therehas been a growth in recent years of families adopting from Guatemala.

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

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

Judy Siegel contributed to this report.