Congressional letter to Hilary Clinton and Janet Napolitano regarding adoption from Haiti
Dear Secretary Clinton and Secretary Napolitano:
We would first like to commend both of you for your role in a well-coordinated U.S. Agency for International Development led but government-wide response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti. We also want to thank you for all of your efforts to rescue victims, reunite families and provide assistance to those who are still searching for loved ones.
We are writing to you regarding pending adoption cases of Haitian children and how your agencies can work with the Haitian Government to further help these children. Specifically, we write to ask that you please continue to expedite the search and rescue of orphans in Haiti so that prospective parents can proceed as quickly as possible to bring their children home. In addition, we write to ask that the Departments work with international and non-governmental organizations to establish, to the extent possible given the multitude of pressing humanitarian needs, an adoptions center in llaiti that can provide safety, security, food, water. medical attention, immigration information, and other necessities to the children, their caretakers and their parents.
As you know, last Tuesday’s earthquake left orphanages without food and water, and with little access to medical care. We are all aware of constituents who are in the process of adopting children from Haiti and who are now understandably concerned for the children’s well being. As the supply of basic services continues to be a grave concern, many prospective parents still do not even know the whereabouts of their adopted children. We are very appreciative of your continued efforts to rescue these orphans and urge you to expedite these efforts.
We are also very relieved by the Administration’s announcement that Haitian adoptive children may be paroled into the United States. However, we are concerned that in some situations, families and children may not have easy access to all of the required documentation that would demonstrate their eligibility for parole and in these cases, we urge you to work with their parents and their caretakers to secure secondary evidence regarding the child’s pending adoption. As you know, in some cases, documentation in Haiti has been destroyed and in other cases, the child’s application was not yet completely processed. In order to bring these children into the United States as quickly as possible, we ask that both agencies work with families to locate secondary evidence and accommodate situations where a background check must be completed now because the appropriate checks were not completed prior to the earthquake.
Again, thank you for your leadership during this difficult time and I look forward to your responses.
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