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Hundreds of American couples were in the process of adopting children from Haiti when the catastrophic quake hit the country last week, putting all inter-country adoptions in limbo. Over the weekend, more than 250 supporters at Change.org and many concerned parents asked Congress, DHS, and the State Department to fix this, winning humanitarian parole for the kids who have loving homes awaiting them in the United States.
In a press release, Secretary Napolitano noted that this was part of the ongoing efforts to help Haiti and “while we remain focused on family reunification in Haiti, authorizing the use of humanitarian parole for orphans who are eligible for adoption in the United States will allow them to receive the care they need here.”
The humanitarian parole policy is applicable on a case-by-case basis for the following children:
- Those who have been legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by Haiti and are being adopted by U.S. citizens.
- Those children who were previously identified by an adoption service provider or facilitator as eligible for intercountry adoption and have been matched to U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents.
Napolitano also left the door open for unaccompanied minors and Haitian orphans who do not already have adoptive parents to be brought to the United States under special procedures.
Thank you to everyone who took action. In the past week, we have successfully taken action to halt deportations to Haiti, get temporary protected status for Haitian immigrants, and now won humanitarian parole for orphans. However, there is still much work left to be done. Hop over to the Social Entrepreneurship blog to see how you can help Haiti from home.
Photo Credit: JoseJose