A message from PEAR's President on the Fast Tracking of the Families for Orphans Act in Response to the Situation in Haiti:
According to recent stories in the press, Senator Mary Landrieu is pushing the Committee on Foreign Relations to release the Families for Orphans Act, S.1458 (also in the house as HR3070) for full vote in response to the crisis in Haiti. The senator has stated to prospective adoptive parents of children in Haiti that enactment of this legislation will ease the adoption process for them. http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/26/eveningnews/main6144362.shtml ; http://www1.voanews.com/english/news/americas/US-Lawmakers-Call-for-Legislation-to-Promote-Adoptions-of-Haitian-Orphans-82778522.html ; http://www.cnn.com/2010/ POLITICS/01/26/haiti.orphans/index.html?eref= rss_politics&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_allpolitics+%28RSS%3A+Politics% 29&utm_content=Google+Reader
I am not sure why Senator Landrieu and others are pushing to get the FFOA enacted in order to help with the situation in Haiti. Rather than speed the process up, enactment of this legislation would impede the processing of all international adoptions while the government reorganizes itself to comply with the Act. Parents currently attempting to get their adopted and referred children out of Haiti would see absolutely no benefit in having this legislation pushed through.
Enactment of FFOA requires the establishment of a new office at DOS (the Office of Orphan Policy), new staffing requirements, new procedures (requiring additional legislation), and a new way of offering aid to impovershed countries dealing with difficult choices in alternative care for children.
Unfortunately, I believe that the drafters and supporters of the FFOA are taking advantage of the Haiti crisis and attempting to get this act through by tugging on the heartstrings of current families in process and promising it will ease the adoption process. There is no proof that adoptions will be any easier by creating a new division in the DOS. And most certainly, the adoption process will not be easier, in fact may become more difficult, for those families currently in process. And, for the families and children in sending countries, the FFOA could be a complete disaster as it forces legal and social standards unfamiliar and out of the reach of many families making difficult choices for the care of children.
In my opinion, FFOA has more to do with providing humanitarian aid in exchange for opening or re-opening International Adoption programs than it does with streamlining the adoption process for adoptive families or benefiting original families. The major benefactors of this legislation are not children, adoptive families, or families of origin, but rather those who enjoy financial gain from international adoption services. More than 2/3 of the proposed $16M budget for FFOA will go to individuals and organizations that rely on international adoption for their financial wellbeing.
Numerous adoption advocates and those concerned with ethics in adoption and foreign aid are opposed to this legislation. To see why, please feel free to visit the following:
PEAR's position in opposition of FFOA:
http://pear-now.blogspot.com/search/label/Families%20for%20Orphans%20Act and full text at:
Ethica's position in opposition to FFOA: http://www.ethicanet.org/international-adoption-ethica%E2%80%99s-positions-\on-pending-legislation
Voices for Vietnam Adoption Integrity:
Blogs from individuals in the adoption triad opposed to FFOA:
Adult Adoptee and Social Worker:
International Adult Adoptee and Author:
International Adult Adoptees and Advocates for Children:
Birthmother and Adoption Reform Activist:
As president of PEAR, as an adoptive mother, and as a human being concerned with the welfare of children, I urge all of you to carefully consider the implications of the FFOA. Read it for yourself (http://www.opencongress.org/bill/111-s1458/show), look into the so called family preservation and re-unification provisions, and read the commentary from all sides. Take a look at the major supporters of this legislation. What do they have to gain by it passing? Why is so important to them to push this through while the attention of the American people lies elsewhere? Take a look at the people opposed to the legislation. What do they have to lose by it passing?
If you agree with me that this legislation is not beneficial to families and vulnerable children, vote in opposition to this legislation at: http://www.petition 2congress. com/2/2881/ petition- to-halt-fast- tracking- proposed- legislation- known-as- fami/ and please contact your Senators and Representatives and make your voice heard.
Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.