Detained Orphans and Alternatives to Adoption

It’s a relief to hear that the group of six Haitian orphans stopped this week while leaving for their adoptive families in the U.S. will be in their new homes soon.  One line from today’s AP story on the matter particularly struck me:

“Police briefly detained the women [who’d been accompanying the children] and the orphans — ages 1-5 — spent three nights sleeping on the ground in a tent city.”

Notably, this is a situation in which the Haitian government, the U.S. government and the U.N. were all aware and involved.  Most orphans, of course, can hope for far less “accommodation.”

This story highlights vividly what is very often the real world alternative to inter-country adoption.  Adoption advocates should certainly put robust energy into backing a full array of in-country supports for orphans.  But individuals who support these efforts to the exclusion of adoption should keep in mind what it means to children to make them wait for years for far-off reforms:  sleeping on the ground in a tent city…and often much worse.