According to the Washington Post, the remaining children include many who might not technically be orphans but whose families could not afford to care for them, said Tom DiFilipo, president of the Joint Council on International Children's Services, a Washington-based child welfare organization that has taken the lead on negotiating their status with U.S. authorities.
So far there are no reports of deaths at the orphanages--more than 350 of them are in the country--but that is probably because everything in Haiti is chaotic as the country reels from a earthquake of a 7.5 magnitude. Water and food is scarce for everyone, and the children are in the precarious position of not having neighbors or nearby family members to look out for them. Most agencies have only a few workers taking care of many children.
To coordinate relief efforts, the Joint Council on International Children's Services has started a database of orphanages and known orphans on its Web site, http://www.jcics.org. The group hopes the list will eventually help it expedite moving the orphans from Haiti to the United States and Europe.
This is where it gets tricky: will there be a push for the wide-scale diaspora of the children? Obviously, yes. We understand the plight, but removing them from their homeland, from their extended families, from all that is familiar is not the simple matter that it at first appears to be. Experience has taught us that the wide-scale diaspora of children from their own culture is a much more complicated issue than the families who would adopt them, the social workers who facilitate the adoptions and the agencies who profit from them realize. There are plenty of reasons for tears here. It's almost certain that some children who have families in Haiti, and do not wish their children to be adopted, will be uprooted and transplanted in new families. The Post story continues:
In an e-mail Friday, Matthew Chandler, a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security, said, "We understand the deep concern these prospective adoptive parents feel about the welfare of these children, and we are actively working to identify available options in light of the recent tragedy."We are giving what we can to Doctors Without Borders.
And for more on the story, see The Daily Bastardette.