The recent natural disaster of Hurricane Matthew is estimated to have caused more than 1,300 total deaths including 46 in the United States and more than 1,000 in Caribbean island nations such as Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
The impact of natural disasters in third-world countries is especially drastic because the lack of infrastructure can permanently displace hundreds of thousands of people. As the need for aid rises, so does the need for willing parents to bring children into their homes. Your desire to help is genuine, but it is important to consider the legal barriers surrounding the adoption of an international child.
The State Department and international committees create laws
Because international adoption involves the movement of people from one country to another, the State Department is the first federal agency to involve itself in adoptions to the US. International representatives usually meet in The Hague, Netherlands to discuss worldwide adoption laws.
Natural disasters can change international adoption laws quickly
Natural disasters such as storms and disease outbreaks can result in short-term delays to international adoption. Governments are not quick to trust in these situations. Therefore, changes in the law ensure the health and welfare of persons both entering and leaving the country. Rushing the adoption process can lead to a child being separated from another suitable legal guardian.
You want to adopt for the best reasons. However, governments are concerned with the potential for unscrupulous individuals or even criminals who take advantage of an emergency for personal gain. To prevent the bad, good parents could face delays, stricter rules, or tougher approval processes.
Despite a complicated process, the joy can be indescribable
Six years before Hurricane Matthew, a devastating earthquake left many young children in the Caribbean without loving parents. Previously orphaned children were left without safe homes when the facilities they lived in were destroyed.
A young girl affected by that earthquake now lives in the United States with a family who loves her. She doesn't remember much about her life in Haiti, but she knows that good can come from those willing to open their hearts and homes.
When the girl spoke with ABC 6, she shared her hope for other families who are willing to help, whether their efforts were large or small.