France fast-tracks Haiti adoptions

21st January 2010, Comments 0 comments

Over 270 children who had been matched with French parents for adoption will be repatriated to France immediately.

Paris – France will immediately take in 276 children from quake-hit Haiti who had been matched with French parents for adoption, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said Wednesday.

Hundreds of French families have been asking the government to speed up procedures and help them bring home children who were in the process of being adopted.

"We will repatriate them to France as quickly as possible, that is to say, immediately," Kouchner told parliament.

Belgium and Spain followed the United States and The Netherlands this week in deciding to fast-track repatriation of children adopted in Haiti, where there are shortages of water and food after last week's devastating quake.

France however had taken a more cautious approach with Kouchner warning that the government did not want to be accused by Haitian authorities of "kidnapping".

In a sensitive case for France, six members of a French aid charity were convicted in 2007 of trying to traffic to France 103 Chadian children whom they said were refugees from the war in Darfur.

Christine Vigneresse, a French woman in the process of adopting a three-year-old girl from Haiti, said Tuesday that about 40 children chosen by French families were stranded in a Port-au-Prince orphanage.

"We are not abductors of children, but people who have already taken steps with the Haitian authorities to carry out these adoptions," said Vigneresse, who called on Paris to remove bureaucratic hurdles.

Belgian authorities on Tuesday moved to speed up the adoption of 14 Haitian children and the Netherlands sent a plane on Monday to fetch around 100 children being adopted by Dutch families.

Spain also said it had sped up the paperwork for those have completed the adoption process.

Kouchner said there were 904 French families adopting children from Haiti and that the 276 who will come to France were in the final stages of the process.

AFP / Expatica

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