Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 18th 2015 Contents TENDER NOTICE
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Monday, May 18, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Anne-Marie Saintou walks with a
megaphone along the dusty lanes of
a Haitian fishing village, imploring
people not to make the same mistake
"Ladies, say NO! she shouts. "We
will not give away our children any-
Saintou is part of a public awareness
campaign that reflects a growing dis-
enchantment with international adop-
tion in Haiti.
Women are going out daily to warn
poor Haitians about recruiters for
orphanages who roam the countryside
offering money, or false promises, to
desperate parents struggling to raise
children in the Western Hemisphere s
most impoverished country.
She speaks from bitter personal expe-
The 42-year-old year old, walking
the unpaved streets in a long skirt and
blouse with two companions, said she
placed her three-year-old daughter,
Mikerline, up for adoption 12 years go
with the understanding that the child
would get an education and come back.
She received photos and a letter but
lost contact after three years.
"I never heard from her again."
An overhaul of the child-welfare sys-
tem is drawing wide praise for address-
ing serious flaws.
Some were exposed in the chaotic
aftermath of the devastating January
2010 earthquake, and others by
accounts from people like Saintou, vic-
timised by spotty regulation in a coun-
try that has become a favoured choice
for Americans seeking a child.
The Haitian government, through its
Institute of Social Well-Being and
Research, has prohibited private adop-
tions, restricted the number of foreign
adoption agencies accredited to work
in the country and set a quota that
limits the number of children who can
be adopted internationally per year.
It also imposed regulations aimed at
addressing longstanding complaints
that Haitian parents were too often
pressured or manipulated into giving
up children for adoption without fully
understanding the ramifications.
Experts in child welfare say the
changes, which went into full effect as
of April 1, 2014, when Haiti became a
signatory to the Hague Convention on
International Adoption, have gone a
long way to cleaning up a murky and
Since the earthquake, which killed
more than 300,000 people according
to the official estimate, the government
has worked with UNICEF to rewrite
the adoption code and bolster social
services in a country where 60 per cent
of the population gets by on less than
US$2 a day.
Continues on Page A38
Haiti fixes adoption system,
but some fear too few adopted
In this April 6, 2015 photo, Navilia Fantelus, left, sits with her daughter Magalie Cine, 21, and 18-month-old
grandson Edson Multy during an interview at the Mercy & Sharing residential centre in the community of
Williamson, Arcahaie, Haiti. Fantelus managed to recover her grandson from an orphanage in Port-au-Prince
after her daughter put him up for adoption. The Mercy & Sharing residential centre helped them get their
baby back after the orphanage initially refused to relinquish him. AP PHOTO
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