Who Are These Precious Children?
The Republic of Haiti is a Creole- and French-speaking Caribbean country. The overall population in Haiti is 95% black with 5% mulatto or white. Haiti is two-thirds mountainous, with the rest of the country marked by great valleys, extensive plateaus, and small plains. The country boasts a long and storied history and therefore retains a very rich culture, a mix of primarily French and African elements and native Taíno with some lesser influence from the colonial Spanish as well as minor influences from colonial Portuguese. Haiti is world-famous for its distinctive art, notably painting and sculpture. The capital of Haiti is Port au Prince.
Haiti remains among the least developed nations in the world, ranked 146th out of 177 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index (2006). About 80% of the population is estimated to be living in poverty with about a 60% unemployment rate and 53% literacy rate. Due to these very difficult economic issues in Haiti, there is a high rate of infant mortality.
Children in the Crèche/Orphanage
In light of economic struggles in Haiti and families’ financial hardships, some Haitian parents make the difficult decision to place their child with a local crèche/orphanage, or transitional house, with the expectation that their child will be adopted, most likely internationally. The birth parents are able to visit their child once a month as they wait for them to eventually be placed with their adoptive parents. The birth parents are very grateful to have a home for their children while awaiting adoption where their child can be fed, cared for emotionally and medically, and ultimately placed with a forever family.
When a child comes to live in the crèche/orphanage, a full examination of the child is performed and there is routine medical care provided to the child.. The child will receive routine check-ups and any necessary medical treatment in the crèche/orphanage or in the local hospital.
The population in Haiti has a high rate of TB, so families are encouraged to have their child tested after they are home.
The children are tested for sickle cell, VDRL (syphilis), and Hepatitis B when they enter the crèche/orphanage.
Additionally, there is a portion of the population with HIV/AIDS and the children are tested upon entry, as well.
Most of the children who have been in the care of the crèche/orphanage are close to being on target developmentally or only slightly delayed in their growth and development.
After a child is matched to an adoptive family, CCAI will receive updated information periodically from the crèche/orphanage, which will be shared with the adoptive family as soon as it is received. At times, updated photos are also received and shared.
A matched family will have an opportunity to meet their child/ren and see the crèche/orphanage when they travel to Haiti to file their I-600.. This meeting will provide adoptive families with a chance to see their child/ren’s environment as well as possibly meet their child/ren’s birth parents. A family will be able to obtain some additional medical history of their child/ren’s birth parents, if they are known and available.
Children’s Health at Placement
CCAI wants families to have a realistic expectation of their adopted child and what their first few weeks together may be like. It is important to remember that an orphanage is not a
home, so some of the children may have:
- physical or mental developmental delays
- molluscum (a mild skin disease)
- bug bites
- possible lead exposure
- effects from water and/or air pollution
For more information on known health risks in Haiti, please visit the World Health Organization’s website at www.who.int>. Despite these issues, most children have had their basis needs met and will flourish once they become a part of your family.