In the wake of the tragic earthquake in Haiti, Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado joined 44 of his colleagues in Congress in a letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton urging the State Department to consider the needs of Haitian orphan children in its relief efforts. There were approximately 20,000 children living in Haiti's 187 licensed orphanages prior to the earthquake.
"Orphans are among the most vulnerable populations, especially in dire circumstances like these," Bennet said. "Bringing help to these children needs to be a top priority in our relief efforts in Haiti."
In the letter, Bennet thanked the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security for working together to extend humanitarian parole to Haitian children who have been legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption and are being adopted by U.S. citizens.
Bennet also called on the departments to ensure that orphans are a high priority in all U.S. evacuation and relief plans and to develop a coordinated strategy to ensure the safe and timely rescue of these orphans. He also called on the Departments to connect them with their adoptive families in the United States.
U.S. citizens with pending adoption cases in Haiti should contact the State Department at AskCI@state.gov for information about their adoption case. The e-mail should include the following information: parents full name and contact information, the child's name and date of birth, the orphanage's name and contact information, and the status of the adoption.
Coloradans concerned about a specific orphanage, can send the orphanage's name and contact information to Bennet's offices. The information will be added to a congressional list submitted twice daily to organizations involved in relief and search and rescue efforts.