Monday, February 01, 2010

Haiti and Adoption

As the world turns its heart to Haiti's horrible plight, much attention has turned to international adoption.  This is mostly good, as any attention opens a door for more people throughout the world to consider international adoption.  However, much of the media coverage and resulting discussion by people around me and on the web has made me cringe.  I must address a couple of the things I've heard.

First, for today:  It is completely UNTRUE that Haiti bars LDS families from adopting its children.  

This is the policy of one adoption agency, only concerning their Haiti program and most likely based on the religious policies of the particular orphanage with which the agency affiliates in Haiti.  This idea has been spread around the web as some kind of regulatory truth.  It is FALSE.  One of the many misunderstandings about international adoption is that all agencies have the same policies about each country.  This is not true:  as long as they are within the policies set by the US State Department and that country for international adoption, they can add some of their own specific policies.  For example, many agencies will add that families can only adopt children younger than their youngest child in the home, because they believe it is best not to disrupt birth order.  Other agencies will limit the number of previous children a family may have, even if the country doesn't limit it.  

Also, in most countries each agency must partner with an individual orphanage system, or sponsor its own. These orphanages are mostly privately run, and can institute their own policies about how their orphans can be placed--again, within the bounds of government regulation.  

It is also completely UNTRUE that the LDS church has any policy which demeans people of color.  On the contrary:  the church and its scriptures preach love and equality for all, including women and people of color--take it from a strong LDS woman who has experienced full support in adopting interracially.  As many American institutions in the 1960's, the LDS church did once have a policy that restricted members of color from holding certain positions.  Church leaders ended this policy in 1978, immediately and completely.  In the 30 years since, the LDS church has grown throughout the world, including millions of members in South and Central America, Africa, and the Pacific Islands  People of color in those nations and in the US leadership can and do hold the highest and most sacred positions.  There are now more LDS church members outside the US than inside the US--mostly in multiracial countries.  In fact, I imagine the LDS church has more non-white members than many of the churches who regularly attack it.

Click this link for Haiti's official adoption requirements, as published by the US State Department.


Lisa said...


Emily said...

Really great strong points, particularly the last sentence. You go!

Brooke said...

I'm glad that you have cleared things up for those who might not otherwise know.

I also love your new "look". Great job Emily.

Sovic Clan said...

Great post! Things like that need to be cleared up!! Love the new picture of the kids!

Tania said...

As a member of the LDS church, I can't THANK YOU for clearing up these myths. It seems I'm always trying to correct people on the notion that the church thinks less of people of color. I've been asked several times why I would dare adopt a black child when my religion hates blacks! UGH. Thanks for spreading the word.