Manitoba agency halts Haiti adoptions

Date: 2010-01-26
Source: cbc.ca

An international adoption agency based out of Minnedosa, Man., has suspended its program in Haiti just as demand has spiked.

Roberta Galbraith, who heads the agency, Canadian Advocate for the Adoption of Children (CAFAC), said she has been getting upwards of 60 calls a day for more than a week from people touched by images of orphans in the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake.

"We've had an increase in calls from families who are looking at adoption as an option. Maybe they have looked at it for a while and this has brought it to the forefront," she said.

However, the building that housed the agency's adoption office in Haiti collapsed in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated the country on Jan. 12.

'It will take some time to get their processes sorted out and get up an actual program for foreigners to adopt.' —Roberta Galbraith, CAFAC

A judge who was involved in the adoption process for the agency was also killed in the quake, said Galbraith.

While people's hearts are in the right place, the structure to make the adoption process happen isn't, she said.

People who already had adoption papers filed before the quake struck are getting their processes fast-tracked by the federal government in Canada, but those who are considering adoption now may have to wait months, said Galbraith.

"It will take some time to get their processes sorted out and get up an actual program for foreigners to adopt," she said.

Aid workers are presently sifting through orphanages to figure out which children have living relatives, and which don't.

Have patience: CAFAC

For those considering adopting a Haitian child, Galbraith can only advise them to have patience.

"Keep tuned, you know. Phone us in a month or so, we'll see," she said. "Keep your eyes on the website. Listen to the news.

"I think that there will be something that comes forward, one way or the other. We, as an adoption agency, will keep our ears and eyes on that."

An estimated 200,000 people were killed in the Jan. 12 quake and two million left homeless, according to the European Commission.

The area has since been shaken by several aftershocks, including one measuring a magnitude of 5.9 that led to more deaths and damaged several buildings.

The most recent aftershock was a 4.9 that struck on Sunday, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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