Quake Aftermath Complicates Adoptions in Haiti

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The U.S. government has promised to expedite immigration papers for Haitian children who were already in the process of being adopted, but some adoptive parents are learning "expedited" does not mean easy. WNYC’s Marianne McCune has more.

REPORTER: Yves-Merry Telemaque headed to Florida on Friday expecting to meet and bring home a one-and-a-half year old she began adopting in September. But she waited all weekend and waited all day Monday. And the child, Addison, did not arrive.

TELEMAQUE: There's no words for what has happened, you know. I left my job, and everything I had, took care of my responsibilities in New York to come to Florida, only to go home disappointed and empty handed, without any answers.

REPORTER: Though the U.S. wants to expedite adoptions like hers, U.S. and Haitian officials are struggling to make sure each adoption is legitimate. And with so many documents destroyed in the earthquake, it’s difficult. Last night Telemaque learned the Department of Homeland Security needs a copy of the biological mother’s renunciation of her parental rights before Addison can travel. And when she does arrive in Florida, she could be held for days in a refugee resettlement home while officials check Telemaque’s background and the adequacy of her home.

Telemaque is a Haitian-American attorney and she says she’s documented everything possible on her end. She's canceled all appointments this week and is trying to get on a flight from Florida to Haiti to make sure her adopted daughter is allowed to come.


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