Corruption in international adoptions

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Images of Haiti  

Resources & news specific to Haiti's children after the
2010 earthquake

U.S. Government Resources
Additional Resources
News Reports
News Reports of Adoption Irregularities


United States Department of State

U.S. Department of State Page: 2010 Earthquake in Haiti

U.S. Department of State Office of Children's Issues Intercountry Adoption Page

U.S. DOS Intercountry Adoption Alerts Page

Briefing by Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley, Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs, February 9, 2010.

Update regarding the 10 American missionaries detained for allegedly abducting Haitian children.

Briefing by Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs P.J. Crowley, Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs, February 5, 2010.

Update regarding the 10 American missionaries detained for allegedly abducting Haitian children.

Preview to Annual Meeting of the President’s Interagency Task Force to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, Luis CdeBaca, Director, Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, February 3, 2010.

Ambassador Cdebaca: “I think now we’re starting to see that countertrafficking responses need to be built in from the beginning, and especially in a place like Haiti, where, as our report in 2009 pointed out, there was a large child trafficking problem before the earthquake hit."

Anti-Trafficking Efforts in Haiti, Philip J. Crowley, Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs, January 28, 2010.

"The disaster in Haiti has displaced many people and separated numerous children from their families, posing great risk and higher vulnerability to human trafficking. The Department has acted swiftly to mobilize coordinated efforts both on the ground in Haiti and here in Washington to prevent and combat trafficking in persons..."

Update on Developments in Haiti, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, January 20, 2010.
Michele Bond, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Overseas Citizens Services:

"I really look forward to working closely with colleagues in the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services on this critically important mission. Together, I am confident we will successfully expedite the process of bringing to the United States children who are in line to be adopted by American citizens while closely following and respecting international standards for intercountry adoption."

Interview on the Situation in Haiti and the Adoption of Haitian Children, Michele T. Bond, Department of State, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Overseas Citizens Services, January 19, 2010.

Children Affected by the earthquake in Haiti, U.S. Department of State Office of Children's Issues Intercountry Adoption Page, January 22, 2010.

"We understand that other Americans, moved by images of children in need, want to open their homes and adopt other Haitian children who had not been identified for adoption before the earthquake. The State Department advises against this course of action at this time. Intercountry adoption involves strict safeguards and legal requirements that must be met to protect children from illegal adoptions, abduction, sale and child-trafficking as well as to ensure that any adoption is in the best interests of the child."

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Questions & Answers: Information for U.S. Citizens in the process of adopting a child from Haiti, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

How to Schedule an Appointment for an Orphan Screening at the U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Updated January 29, 2010.

Secretary Napolitano Announces Humanitarian Parole Policy for Certain Haitian Orphans Fact Sheet, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Updated January 18, 2010. See also: Haitian Orphans in Adoption Process Allowed to Enter U.S., Jeffrey Thomas, America.gov, January 19, 2010.

Haitian Relief Measures: Questions and Answers, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Updated January 18, 2010.

Memorandum to Field Officers: Initial Relief Efforts for Aliens Affected by the January 12, 2010 Haiti Earthquake, from Director Alejandro N. Mayorkas, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, January 15, 2010.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Important Update in Entry Requirements for Travel from the Caribbean, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, January 21, 2010.

"As part of the U.S. government's ongoing support of international recovery efforts after last week's earthquake, [Customs and Border Protection] is taking every step possible to ensure proper screening procedures are followed to protect the safety and well-being of children impacted by the earthquake in Haiti. Appropriate screening for unaccompanied children will help identify and protect victims of human trafficking as well as ensure the integrity of the adoption process."


Better Care Network

Preventing further trauma in Haiti: International community call for use of International Guidelines to ensure maximum protection of children, January 22, 2010.

Call from numerous NGOs for humanitarian response to uphold recommendations set forth in the Guidelines for Alternative Care in regards to care for children in emergencies, preventing family separation and promoting family based care in their community of origin where possible.

Child Protection Working Group Guiding Principles: Unaccompanied and Separated Children Following the Haiti Earthquake January 2010, January 19, 2010.

"Experience has shown that most separated children have parents or other family members willing and able to care for them.  Long-term care arrangements, including adoption, should therefore not be made during the emergency phase."

The Hague Conference on Private International Law

Information Note to States and Central Authorities: Haiti earthquake and intercountry adoption of children, HCCH, January 20, 2010.

"Following the earthquake, many children have become separated from their families and may find themselves without shelter, food, water or other basic necessities. They may also be at risk of illegal adoptions, abduction, sale and child trafficking."

Save the Children

Save the Children Statement on Adoption in Haiti: Every Child To Be Given Best Possible Chance of Being Reunited with Family Members, January 23, 2010.

"In the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, extreme caution must be used and time taken to carefully verify the situation of children. Only once the family tracing effort has been exhausted and it is determined that children cannot be reunited, and after proper screening, should international adoption be considered."

Save the Children UK and World Vision UK

Chief Executives of Save the Children UK and World Vision UK respond to Times UK article"The paperwork can wait: everybody wins with adoption," Jasmine Whitbread and Justin Byworth, January 21, 2010.

In response to "The paperwork can wait: everybody wins with adoption," Melanie Reid, January 21, 2010, Times UK Online.

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Helping Haiti's orphaned and separated children find their families, Guy Hubbard, UNICEF, January 29, 2020.

"We are exhausting all the efforts we have to find their parents or their extended family," says UNICEF Regional Child Protection Specialist Caroline Bakker.

‘"It's only when we have exhausted all the options," she adds, "that we will look into other forms of alternative care for those children, and inter-country adoptions or national adoptions are options."'

News Note: UNICEF Humanitarian Operation in Haiti Zeroes in on Unaccompanied Children, January 27, 2010.

"Unaccompanied children are especially vulnerable to disease, malnutrition and exploitation, including trafficking and need urgent assistance as well as, in many cases, long term support."

Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman on the situation of children in Haiti, January 19, 2010.

"Every effort will be made to reunite children with their families. Only if that proves impossible, and after proper screening has been carried out, should permanent alternatives like adoption be considered by the relevant authorities. Screening for international adoption for some Haitian children had been completed prior to the earthquake. Where this is the case, there are clear benefits to speeding up their travel to their new homes."

Field Diary: Supplies and protection for unaccompanied children in Haiti, Tamar Hahn, UNICEF Dominican Republic, January 19, 2010.

"Illegal adoption was an issue of concern before the earthquake. Amidst the chaos that followed it has become a concern for Haitian authorities who fear children may be taken out of the country without proper legal procedures being followed."


"Fools Rush In," E. Benjamin Skinner, guest blogger on The American Interest for Walter Russell Mead, who is a Henry A. Kissinger Senior Fellow for U.S. Foreign Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations, Feb. 23, 2010.

The New York Times "Room for Debate": "Haiti's Children and the Adoption Question," with commentary by E.J. Graff and other prominent experts in the field, Feb. 1, 2010.

PRI's The World interviews Senior Fellow E. Benjamin Skinner on the subject of "Haiti's Child Slaves," Feb. 1, 2010.


"After Haiti Quake, the Chaos of U.S. Adoptions," Ginger Thompson with reporting by Erin Siegal, August 3, 2010, The New York Times.

U.S. Dept. of State Adoption Notice: Haiti, April 27, 2010

Haiti’s adoption authority, the Institut du Bien-être Social et de Recherches (IBESR), has informed the U.S. Government that they are now accepting new adoption applications for Haitian children who were either documented as orphans before January 12, 2010, or relinquished by their birth parent(s) since the earthquake.

"US missionaries: Lessons from Haiti adoption or 'child kidnapping' case," Sara Miller Llana, February 18, 2010, The Christian Science Monitor.

"Angelina Jolie: 'It’s wrong to adopt Haiti orphans'," Andrei Harmsworth, February 17, 2010, Metro.co.uk.

"Adviser to Detained Americans in Haiti Is Investigated," Mark Lacy and Ian Urbina, February 11, 2010, NYTimes.com.

"Clinton brokers deal over Haiti orphan abductions," Tony Allen-Mills, February 7, 2010, TimesOnLine.com.

"Bleak Portrait of Haiti Orphanages Raises Fears," Ginger Thompson, February 6, 2010, NYTimes.com.

"Saviors or kidnappers?" February 4, 2010, The Economist.

"Child trafficking a growing concern in Haiti," Juan Forero, February 3, 2010, NPR.

"Americans may go on trial in US for Haiti adoption attempt," Inigo Gilmore and agencies, February 2, 2010, The UK Guardian.

"Examining adoptions from Haiti," Juan Forero and Melissa Block, February 2, 2010, NPR.

"Family embraces Haitian boy after long adoption wait," Will Higgins, February 2, 2010, IndyStar.com.

"Haitian adoption tough for some parents," February 2, 2010, WoodTV.com, ABC 8 Grand Rapids, MI.

"Haitian girl recounts tearful bus ride with supposed orphans," Anna Mehler Paperny, Updated February 2, 2010, Globe and Mail.

"Arrest of Americans deepens Haiti adoption debate," February 1, 2010, NPR via the Associated Press.

"Detention of Americans in Haiti renews adoption concerns," February 1, 2010, PBS NewsHour.

"Haiti 'orphan' rescue mission: Adoption or child trafficking?," Matthew Clark, February 1, 2010, The Christian Science Monitor.            

"No, you can't just take children," Joshua Keating, February 1, 2010, Passport: A blog by the editors of Foreign Policy Magazine.

"‘Orphan Rescue' attempt hits nerve among Haitians," Frank Bajak, February 1, 2010, Boston Globe via the Associated Press.      

"Protecting Haiti's children from 'cowboy adoptions'," Kathryn Westcott, February 1, 2010, BBC News.

"Lost children: Why they should stay in Haiti," Nicole Baute, January 31, 2010, The Star.com.

"Orphan-trafficking fears rise in Haitian camps," Andrew Mayeda and Ian MacLeod, January 31, 2010, The Montreal Gazette via Canwest News Service.

"Racing to gather Haiti's lost children," Tamara Keith, January 31, 2010, National Public Radio.  

"Haiti arrests 10 Americans, accusing them of trafficking children," January 30, 2010, The Maryland Human Trafficking Task Force via Reuters.   

"Adopting children from Haiti, your questions answered," Chris Fransescani, January 29, 2010, ABC's Good Morning America.

Relief Organizations Race To Find Unaccompanied Children in Haiti, Barry Newhouse, January 29, 2010, News.com | Voice of America.

"State Department: U.S. working to prevent child trafficking in Haiti," Charley Keyes, January 29, 2010, CNN.

"Aid agencies in Haiti race to save ‘orphans' from child traffickers," Martin Fletcher, January 26, 2010, The Times UK.

"Fears that child traffickers are targeting Haitian orphans in quake chaos," David Williams, January 26, 2010, MailOnline.

"HAITI: 'Adoption not the best choice for quake orphans'," A.D. McKenzie, January 23, 2010, Inter Press Service News Agency.

"Haiti earthquake: aid agencies fear child trafficking," Esther Addley, January 22, 2010, The Guardian UK.

"Haiti's orphan adoption debate," Jacqueline Head, January 22, 2010, Aljazeera.

"Moved to adopt Haitians? It's not always best, experts say," January 22, 2010, CNN.

"Aid groups urge halt to new Haiti adoptions," January 21, 2010, CNN.                  

"Haiti earthquake: Groups urge adoption freeze, believing kids' kin may be alive," Rich Schapiro, January 21, 2010, NY Daily News.         

"UNICEF fears child trafficking, opposes foreign Haiti adoption," January 20, 2010, World Bulletin via Reuters.

"53 Haitian orphans are airlifted to U.S.," James C. McKinley Jr. and Sean D. Hamill, January 19, 2010, The New York Times.

"Earthquake leaves adoption in limbo," Justin Conn, January 19, 2010, Herald-Review.com.

"Orphaned Haitian children to be allowed into US," January 19, 2010, BBC News.

"Haiti's abandoned children," Mike Thomson, December 4, 2009, BBC News.

News Reports of Adoption
  Irregularities in Haiti

"Human traffickers sell children to paedophiles," April 15, 2011, TheLocal.de.

“Combating Child Trafficking and Abuse in Haiti,” February 5, 2008, HaitiInfo.
“Haïti/ Enfance: Conférence-Débat sur la situation des enfants en institutions et sur l’adoption internationale,” November 21, 2007, Alterpresse.

“Haïti-Enfance : Bientôt une loi sur l’adoption,” November 9, 2007, AlterPresse.

“Trafficking Case Exposes Child Servitude,” October 24, 2007, Tehran Times.

"Haiti: Officials Rescue and Return to Their Parents 50 Trafficked Children; 100 Others Await Rescue,” Desiree Smolin, October 3, 2007, Fleas Biting.

“Haiti : Après 2 ans d’enfer dans un orphelinat…,” August 21, 2007, Alterpresse.

“Ordeal of Children Victims of Trafficking for International Adoption Revealed,” Geslet Bordes, August 17, 2007, International Organization for Migration.

“Trafficked Children Returned Home,” Geslet Bordes, August 10, 2007, International Organization for Migration.

“Haiti Children Leave ‘Rogue’ Adoption Centre,” August 10, 2007, Reuters Foundation Alert Center.

“Haitian Children Saved from Rogue Adoption Center,” August 10, 2007, Associated Press, The Free Library. 

“About Orphanages in Haiti,” Tim Collie, December 3, 2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

“Situation préoccupante des enfants d’Haïti, selon le rapport mondial de l’UNICEF,” February 22, 2005, Alterpresse.

NOTE: This page from the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism website offers documentation of and background about serious irregularities in international adoption. For the systemic analysis of corruption in international adoption, please read “The Lie We Love,” Foreign Policy magazine, Nov./Dec. 2008, and visit our webpages dedicated to international adoption. For ideas about fairer policy solutions, please read “The Baby Business,” Democracy Journal, Summer 2010.

© 2008-2014 Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, 02454. All rights reserved.

Last page update: February 23, 2011