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23/01/2010

"Adoption is a last resort" L'adoption est le dernier recours. La priorité, sur place, est donnée au regroupement familial, retrouver un oncle, une tante, des cousins.

adoption is a last resort.JPGFlying planeloads of newly orphaned children out of Haiti is “reprehensible”, an adoption expert tells swissinfo.ch.

"L'adoption ne doit être que la dernière chance"


Marlène Hofstetter, head of international adoption at Lausanne-based organisation Terre des Hommes – Child Relief, warns of the dangers of rushing adoption procedures and says Swiss regulations are unsatisfactory.



The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12 may have killed 200,000 people, with aid agencies estimating that tens of thousands of children had been orphaned.



Even before the quake, Haiti - one of the world’s poorest countries - had 380,000 orphans, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).



Some children lost their parents in previous disasters, including tropical storms and hurricanes that hit in 2004, 2005 and 2008.



Others were abandoned amid the Caribbean nation’s long-running political strife, which has led thousands to seek asylum in the United States – without their children – or by parents who were simply too poor to care for them.



swissinfo.ch: Is the adoption of Haitian children now going to boom?



Marlène Hofstetter: People are making enquiries into how they can adopt a child from Haiti – especially from countries where adoptions from Haiti had already been made.



swissinfo.ch: Wouldn’t it be a good thing for Haitian orphans to be able to escape poverty, homelessness and violence and come to a Swiss family?



M.H.: First of all you have to clarify that they are in fact orphans and don’t have other family members – uncles, aunts and so on – who could look after them.

You also have to check what condition the children are in. If they’re traumatised, it’s not necessarily advisable to whisk them out of the country and place them with a new family.



swissinfo.ch: On Thursday a Dutch adoption agency flew more than 100 children out of Haiti to start new lives in the Netherlands.



M.H.: I find it reprehensible when planes full of children fly out of Haiti. From what I’ve heard, only 55 of these children have been involved in an adoption proceeding. For some of the others, adoptive families haven’t even been proposed.



swissinfo.ch: Belgium wants to facilitate the adoption of Haitian children for families who had begun proceedings before the earthquake. Switzerland is also prepared to speed up adoption processes already in motion. Is that a good idea?



M.H.: It always depends on what you mean by speed up. In any case the situation of every individual child must be thoroughly examined – including now, after the earthquake.



There must be cooperation with the Haitian authorities. We can’t go about things like the Dutch, simply removing children from Haiti. The authorities must approve every adoption, so that children have the necessary papers for their adoption.



swissinfo.ch: The French foreign minister has warned rash adoptions could lead to accusations of “abduction”.



M.H.: In France there is talk of more than 1,000 children being involved in adoption processes – and it’s clear that such a number can’t leave Haiti all at once. The French authorities have also explicitly stated that they want to work with the Haitian authorities. The process will thus last a while.



French families wanting to adopt are certainly exerting a lot of pressure on the government to enable the children to leave Haiti. Paris initially said that for the time being all adoptions had been stopped – they’ve now changed their stance a bit.



swissinfo.ch: Haitian children are as a rule black. Does this create problems in Switzerland?



M.H.: I don’t think so. When they grow up it’s another story. It’s obviously not written on their forehead that they’re adopted and Swiss.



Of course they’ll have to reckon with xenophobic comments, but that comes from the fact that they are different, which can apply to any child whether they’re from Nepal, India or Thailand. It needn’t necessarily be a question of skin colour. But sure, anyone who looks different will encounter racism, be they adopted, an immigrant or an asylum seeker.



swissinfo.ch: In that case should we not refrain from adopting children with different colour skin or from other cultures?



M.H.: Adoption is a good solution and should in principle be employed to protect a child when there really is no other solution in his or her country – when the only alternative is growing up in an orphanage. In that case international adoption is a good solution, but only as a last resort.



You also have to bear in mind the age of the child and whether he or she is traumatised. It’s not advisable to remove traumatised children from their homeland and bring them to “well-ordered” Switzerland, where no one can imagine what they have gone through.



swissinfo.ch: Are Swiss requirements sufficient for potential adoptive parents?



M.H.: No. In many European countries parents have to attend preparatory courses, which can last several months, where it is explained in detail what adoption is and what they can expect to face.



That’s not the case in Switzerland. Yes, there’s a bit or preparation during the clarification process carried out by the cantons, but this varies greatly. Detailed preparation isn’t really carried out here.



Jean-Michel Berthoud, swissinfo.ch (Adapted from German by Thomas Stephens)


swissinfo.ch | 23.01.2010

 

- Séisme Haïti. Le point sur l'adoption avec La Voix de l'enfant.
Martine Brousse. Directrice de La Voix de l'Enfant.
aufeminin.com 25.01.2010

 

- Haïti : l’adoption, une question publique et pas seulement privée
Trouver le ton juste s’agissant du sort à réserver aux enfants orphelins d’Haïti n’est pas chose aisée. Il semble que les pouvoirs publics y parviennent. On s’en réjouira.
Bien évidemment chacun a été littéralement sidéré par l’ampleur du drame supporté par une grande partie du peuple haïtien qui n’avait pas besoin de cela pour avoir déjà eu son lot de catastrophes en tous genres dans le passé venues en rajouter aux accidents politiques qui ont fait de ce pays une des zones les plus pauvres du monde. Comment ne pas être sensible au sort des enfants de Port au Prince, mais aussi des villes plus éloignées de la capitale quand tant d’orphelinats ont été frappés, et tout simplement quand tant d’enfants qui ont survécus après la formidable secousse sont désormais orphelins. Il faut s’en préoccuper.
Pour autant l’adoption est-elle la réponse adaptée ? Même si on peut y aspirer pour ne pas se prendre la tête, il est impossible de répondre par un simple mot à cette délicate question.
L’adoption n’est qu’une réponse parmi d’autres, elle a sa place pour les enfants sans parents ; elle n’est pas LA réponse.
Lire la suite sur "Les droits des enfants vus par un juge des enfants", le blog de Jean-Pierre ROSENCZVEIG. 24.01.2010.

 

- Haïti. Pour un progrès durable
La réponse à la situation en Haïti développée par Women’s Health & Justice Initiative (WHJI) et INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence. Elles posent la question: "Comment pouvons-nous soutenir intentionnellement la viabilité à long terme et l'autodétermination du peuple haïtien?"  [Outlandish Adoption doesn't help]
Donner à Haïti du secours et lui permettre un progrès durable ne se fera pas en «important» ses enfants et ses forces vives. Mais en y exportant de la logistique, du capital et ce qui sera bientôt tout aussi essentiel: des emplois. [Mario Roy, La Presse]
Via Fabriquée en Corée. 24.01.2010

 

- The Dangerous Desire to Adopt Haitian Babies.
I'm a foster care adoptive parent. I can't speak for all of us, since we're a diverse bunch. Some of us have also adopted internationally and support international adoption strongly. Others despise the institution, and are angry about what the perceived hypocrisy of parents who walk past the foster kids in their own cities and states so that they can adopt from a far-away country. I'm somewhere in the middle, but definitely leaning more towards the anti side, especially after this week.
Upside-down Adoption | 23.01.2010

 

- La meilleure place pour les enfants d'Haïti est dans leurs familles et pas dans un autre pays.
Children are best left with their families.
The Sydney Morning Herald. 21 janvier 2010.

 

- Il y a 5 ans : Les orphelins du tsunami.
Témoignages. 11 janvier 2005