Sunday, February 07, 2010

Haitian Adoption calls flood Penn Valley


Scenes of anguish from Haiti have led to a flood of calls to one local adoption center, but they're not likely to lead to a bunch of adoptions for sometime.

With Haiti's leaders declaring a moratorium on new adoptions after concerns about the process, Mardie Caldwell, founder and CEO of Lifetime Adoption in Penn Valley, said she's telling Mid-Valley couples they'll need to be patient.

"The images are so graphic, and I think that's what's causing the calls," said Caldwell, who said her agency is getting 20 to 30 calls a day from couples wanting to adopt an orphaned child from Haiti.

"I'm telling these people, you'll have to get on a waiting list," said Caldwell, who's spoken on national television about Haitian adoptions.

She's also making a suggestion to couples: consider adopting closer to home. Thousands of children in the U.S. also await adoptions, she said, but they're not getting headlines.
Slowing down the Haitian adoption process could have benefits, Caldwell said, because it allows more time for reason after an initial outpouring of emotion.

"It's a lifetime commitment," she said. "It's not like getting a puppy."

Children adopted from Haiti, she said, come with the additional experience of both the country's pervasive poverty and having lived through a devastating earthquake.

She added, many couples may not consider the cost, which is $20,000 to $30,000 for adoptions within the U.S., and more for international adoptions.

Story in California Newspaper, The Appeal-Democrat

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