January 16, 2010 2:00 pm
All of us at Joint Council extend our sincere condolences to the family of Molly Hightower of Port Orchard, Washington. Ms. Hightower was a dedicated volunteer working with Haitian orphans and hoped to work in intercountry adoption when she was killed during the earthquake in Haiti.
More information on Ms. Hightower can be found in this MSNBC report .
The Staff and Community of Joint Council
January 16, 2010 1:30 pm
It is Joint Council’s position that the U.S. government should immediately grant humanitarian parole to all children being adopted by U.S. citizens.
At present, Joint Council is appealing with the U.S. government, specifically the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to issue humanitarian parole for any child that has been referred to an American family. Humanitarian parole, if granted, would eliminate the need for a visa. Humanitarian parole would also minimize the paperwork and possibly eliminate the need to find documents, which have been destroyed in the earthquake. Given the urgent needs of the children, the fact that the Haitian government has lifted all exit requirements and that the children have adoptive families, we believe that humanitarian parole is the most humane solution to this crisis. Please note that Joint Council has not received confirmation for humanitarian parole but we are working diligently towards that end. When and if humanitarian parole is granted, we will publish the information widely.
From our many, many meetings with Members of Congress, the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security, you should know that your government is working diligently and with great compassion to find a solution which will help get the children into safe, permanent and loving families as quickly as possible.
Haiti Adoptive Families & Orphan Database
Thank you for helping adoptive families register with our Haiti Adoptive Families & Orphan Database. To date we have over 250 families registered. Please continue to publicize the database, even if you are not directly involved with Haiti. The wider the message is distributed the more families we will ultimately reach. The database allows us to keep the families and our government updated on the latest information and how the ongoing efforts effect the children we all serve.
We are also working with Members of Congress, particularly the offices of Senator Mary Landrieu and Senator James Inhofe, to get emergency relief to the often overlooked orphanages. We are compiling lists of orphanages including their location and providing this information to emergency relief organizations via Congress. Joint Council is collecting the information from a wide variety of sources including the information provided from families registering with our database. If you have information on the name, location and condition of an orphanage, please forward that information to Joint Council.
Updates and Information
Please continue to periodically check our website (www.jointcouncil.org), our Haiti webpage ( www.jointcouncil.org/haiti.htm), our blog ( http://betheanswerforchildren.wordpress.com/ ) and our Facebook page ( http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/pages/Joint-Council-on-International-Childrens-Services/125257530127?ref=ts ) . Yesterday alone we posted 4 updates. With limited time and resources, not all updates are distributed via all Joint Council outlets, so please continue to check all of our sites.
We hope that informing you of our collective efforts, particularly Joint Council’s appeal for humanitarian paroles, will provide you with at least a small amount of comfort and assistance. Our hearts and our daily efforts continue to go out to the adoptive families, the children and everyone in Haiti. It is why we all do what we do. It remains an honor for all of us at Joint Council to work with members of the public, our Member Organizations, adoptive families and our colleagues in the U.S. and Haitian governments and fellow child advocates as we struggle to save lives and unite children with families.