My entire life I have seen and heard things about UNICEF, always thinking that they were a great organization. "Trick or treat for UNICEF" is a phrase that I recall. I have recently learned much more...and they were in Haiti last week meeting with government officials, which has made many waiting Haiti parents a bit nervous. They say that they only put pressure on governments to pass laws that comply with the international conventions, but it seems that it goes much further than that. Many attribute recent delays in Guatemala and Haiti to UNICEF. When you hear that there are adoption delays in a country, do a little digging - it may be due to the influence of UNICEF. (Let me clarify that this is not the case for China's delays.)
Here is a quote from a Palm Beach Post article, regarding the newly orphaned children of the tsunami in 2005: "'If a child has already lost everything, we feel there is no point in making things worse by imposing a new country, customs and language on it,' said Marc Vergara, another UNICEF official." Here is a link to UNICEF's statement regarding international adoption.
Interesting that I happened to post on dirt cookies/mud cakes last week, because an article was just published this week on the topic. There are more details of how Haiti has landed in this crisis situation. I fully recognize that similar things are happening in Ethiopia, Africa and other places. There is just something about Haiti being a two hour flight from Miami that makes it more sickening to me. That Haiti is the poorest country in the Americas. That it is the only Caribbean island that is not a vacation destination. (Try to find a travel book on Haiti at the local library or bookstore.) That when you hear about starving children and poverty, you don't hear about Haiti; you hear about Africa. Haiti, in my estimation, is overlooked, both by those reporting the news and by those adopting.
We were one of the couples who didn't even think of Haiti when we discussed adoption. We found these blogs from Greg and Cara before we were even adopting from Haiti. We didn't pick the country and then decide to adopt though. God simply directed us to Patricia (and then Philippe), who just happen to be in Haiti. It isn't a short process, and people want a short process. I don't blame them. I hear that Ethiopia is growing in popularity for international adoption because of the short waits. I just pray that there is far more to their decision than the speed of the adoption process...
Anyhoo, if you don't have time or interest to read the article, please just look at the photos and ask yourself if you would like to live in Haiti. I wonder if UNICEF officials would like to live there! I will leave you with one last story. People we knew from our former church adopted from Ethiopia. Their car broke down in a village on their way to the airport. When people in the village realized that they were adopting a little girl and taking her to America, they pushed their children up to the car and asked if they could take their kids to America, too. It is not that the parents don't love their children. It is that they love them so much that they would let them go, so that they can have hope, opportunity and so much more.