Overhaul of adoption in Haiti means fewer kids go overseas

Published 9:25 am Monday, May 11, 2015

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Anne-Marie Saintou walks with a megaphone along the dusty lanes of a Haitian fishing village, imploring people not to make the same mistake she did.

“Ladies, say ‘NO!’ she shouts. “We will not give away our children anymore.”

Saintou is part of a campaign by a nonprofit organization to warn poor Haitians about promoters and recruiters for orphanages who roam the countryside offering money, or false promises, to desperate parents struggling to raise children in the Western Hemisphere’s most impoverished country.

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She speaks from bitter experience.

The 42-year-old year old, walking the unpaved streets in a long skirt and blouse with two companions, said she placed her 3-year-old daughter, Mikerline, up for adoption 12 years go with the understanding that the child would get an education and come back. She received photos and letter but lost contact after three years. “I never heard from her again.”