UNICEF sucks

*Late edits added below

Sorry peeps, this is going to be a venting post. Thought I should warn you right off the bat.

I feel like we’ve hit a non-information road block right now concerning our adoption. We’re trying every angle we can from here and thought we were getting somewhere, only to get to what feels like no where. The only responses I’ve gotten from CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) have been what appears to be an auto-generated response that says “Someone is reviewing your file and should be in contact with you shortly. Thank you for your patience.” Shortly? By who’s definition? Because it’s been a week.

I tried contacting the Prime Minister’s office again and did hear a response that assured me my email was being forwarded to Jason Kenney, the minister of CIC. We’ll see.

What is even more infuriating is learning more about why adoption expediting has ground to a halt. You can thank the lovely people over at UNICEF. I would encourage you to read this blog post and the comments. UNICEF has been anti-adoption for a long time. I would strongly encourage you to read up on their policies before you support them if you are in favor of adoption on any level. Their biggest claim is they say they are working in the best interest of the child. As far as adoption goes, if a parent decides to put their child up for adoption, then I believe that needs to be respected by the government and other agencies, in the same way that it is in developed countries. To say that a child would be better off with another family member in the country etc is to override the wishes of the mother or parents, if they are living.

I know our orphanage is very thorough in the intake process and will not take a child unless a parent is absolutely sure that’s what they want. They would often send mothers away and have them return after having some time to thing about things. They were also very clear about what adoption is and that the mother was giving up her rights to the child, that she couldn’t come back for it later. They would not accept a child unless that understanding was there. And, if possible they would work with the mother to help her parent, if that’s what she wanted.

I want to be clear about my thoughts on what’s going on in Haiti right now. Things have, from what we’ve heard, ground to a halt for all adoptions being expedited. If this is true or not I don’t know because no one will contact me to verify that.

Personally, I am all in favor of there being a formal process for kids that seem to be orphaned from the earth quake. Absolutely. Just because there is no one with them right now does not mean there is no one. It could be that they have been separated etc. That research needs to be done. They need to be formally put into the system as being adoptable, whether it’s that they are true orphans or whether their families decide that’s the best option for them. I believe that needs to happen.

*Edit: I want to add that while I realize child trafficking is an issue, I believe that it’s not as much of an issue here in Haiti as people (ahem, government officials) are making it out to be. The bigger issues are corruption within the system. Nuf said about that.

I also want to mention that having organizations step in and override the choices of birth parents or families is insulting to those families. It’s saying that because they are poor they don’t know what’s best for their kids, or are not capable of making those decisions. Do these organizations not think that birth mothers/families haven’t already looked at all their options? Is it better to keep a child that no one can look after simply because you’re it’s family of origin, or is it more loving to put it up for adoption because you know it will have a better shot at life? There are a lot of parents here in Haiti that know before a child is even born that they cannot look after one more. Case in point – Yonese, the lady that works for us came to me the other day to ask me if I knew of any missionaries running orphanages that would be able to take a baby that was soon to be born. The mother had come to her to seek her help in placing the child. She has 5 other kids, lives on La Gonave where there is almost nothing, and KNOWS she cannot take care of #6. She is being pro-active and looking at her options before the baby arrives because she wants it taken care of. No one else in the family is willing or able to take the child, she has already asked. Her choice, as the mother, is to put #6 up for adoption. In that instance is it better to keep a child in their country of birth or let them be adopted internationally?

That said, that is an entirely different situation than having kids that were already in process. You are comparing apples and oranges. If a child has already been in the system, has documentation, was deemed adoptable and was matched with a family and the adoption was already started then it is an entirely different thing. There is no extra research that needs to be done, that has been done already in the screening process. There is no reason not to expedite those adoptions and finish them up. In fact, it would benefit those kids that are now orphans because of the quake since it would make room in orphanages that could take them, even if it was a transitional thing until they found their families or whatever UNICEF thinks is best (I hope you picked up on the sarcasm there).

In fact, if UNICEF really wanted to help kids in Haiti maybe they should direct their attention and energies at ending child slavery here through the Restavek system. THAT would be something wouldn’t it? But then again, they would need to change their policies of trying to keep kids with their families at all costs, because it’s those families that believe their kids are going to have more opportunities so they send them away to live with other family, or complete strangers. Those kids then end up being the slave in the family, doing the chores, not eating the same food, not sleeping in the same beds, and usually not going to school.

*Edit: Just so you know this is not me you should go to Livesays blog HERE and read about their experiences yesterday. Background is that they’re working with Heartline Ministries and World Wide Village to run a house hospital and some of their patients were the first on the USS Comfort.

Right now we’re just praying that we hear from someone. An actual person. I want someone to tell me that they need our file so they can finish things up. I just want some information.

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About Leslie

I'm Leslie. Wife. Mother. Missionary. In the day to day my husband and I are responsible for running Clean Water for Haiti, a humanitarian mission that builds and distributes water filters to Haitian families. Living in Haiti full time provides lots of stories, and as I tell my husband, our grandkids probably won't believe most of them. Maybe writing them down will give me some credibility.

7 thoughts on “UNICEF sucks

  1. Thank you for the additional ammo/target…it is a confirmation of when I did some research on the 28th on child trafficking and Haiti and read an article mentioning UNICEF, and right away a flag went up…I felt like making a sarcastic comment then almost word for word what you stated “thanks to the people at UNICEF”, but didn’t have enough background to do so, and didn’t want to jump to conclusions, but now with that additional info…

    I’m totally with you on the elitist attitude of people who think they know what’s best for other people’s children better than the child’s own parents…arrrrrggg…Jesus, I have to lay this at Your cross, because You know my heart and how angry this makes me, and I’m going to trust You to bring amazing good out of this…keep revealing and bringing light into the darkness…

    which, You already have done and continue to do, PTL, last night at my son’s Bday party…one of his classmates whose aunt and uncle had been in the process of adopting a little boy and girl from Haiti, shared that they had finally made it here…Thank You Jesus…

    Chris and Leslie…thanks for keeping us posted…

  2. Have been following the Livesay blog for some time and yours as well. First time to respond to you. I cannot even imagine the frustration that you are being forced to endure at present. We live in a very upside down stupid world of rules and regulations that seem to benefit only those who make them. My husband tells me I get far too emotional but some how I believe God is asking me to pray for you. My heart just plain hurts as I look at some of the pictures and I keep asking what would Jesus do. So I will add you both to my list and also your sweet little girl Olivia. There are days I know that you find it hard to trust, I’ll pray that you can. I look forward to your blog when you say that you are coming home to BC with your child.
    Sandy Burnaby/BC

  3. There is an interesting juxtaposition at work in these postings… First the US is called upon to be protector because the people of Haiti cannot manage to govern themselves… then in breath two, big organizations who act as if they “know better” are denigrated as interfering.

    I think you need to realize that if the US steps in as a protector, you won’t just get Walmarts and Starbucks. You will also get a bureacracy that wants to impose what it thinks is right on the people of Haiti.

    Just food for thought. I honor your desire to adopt and your mission to provide clean water. It’s just a dose of ‘careful what you pray for’ that I interject. I hope my comment is not seen as too critical.

  4. Thanks for your post. I was blessed to get my daughter out of Guatemala before UNICEF got its way there too. Guatemala can’t provide drinkable water, food or birth-control, but somehow the kids are going to be better off in local orphanages than with a family from the US (according to UNICEF). UNICEF does not care about the needs of children. These poor kids, who would’ve been adopted, are either going to grow up in orphanages or die from preventable diseases.

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