CWLA Statement on the Adoption of Tsunami Orphans
Children without parents due to natural disasters or war have always brought out the best in the American people. The Child Welfare League of American (CWLA) has heard from many families willing to open their homes and hearts to children who have lost their families due to the December 26 earthquake and tsunami, which affected 12 countries and resulted in the loss of nearly 200,000 lives.
Adoption of children from other countries by U.S. citizens is regulated and monitored by the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Agency. India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are all parties to the Hague Convention on International Adoption and as such hold that children and families should be protected from illegal, irregular, premature, or ill-prepared adoptions by citizens of other countries.
The nations and individuals affected by this tragedy have to overcome disease, homelessness, loss of family members, and dire poverty due to fragile infrastructures. Hopefully, for families in these countries, support consistent with their culture, heritage, and religious beliefs will prevail as the nations secure food, shelter, and medical supplies.
We also hope most children will be reunited with nuclear and extended family members as soon as possible. If family is not yet available, a foster type of placement should be developed. Adoption to another nation should be the last resort, as it will lead to not only the loss of the love of their family, but additional losses in virtually all other aspects of their lives--their diet, language, culture, community, and more than likely their religion.
Interested, concerned U.S. citizens are encouraged to support those charities taking the lead in helping to organize assistance so these children can remain in their own nations and be adequately protected from further harm.
For those few children who do come to this country as a result of this catastrophe, CWLA believes it is imperative that all laws, rules, and regulations of the sending countries are followed. Americans may adopt children from South Asian countries only when the countries of origin make them available; some countries, due to their religion or customs, do not consider adoption as an option.
We suggest checking with the following agencies and websites for additional information about adoption:
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