UNICEFED

A couple weeks ago I had a talk with myself, where I said, "Hey grumpy lady, you need to stop ranting so much on your blog. Cool it with the UNICEF talk. You sound like a conspiracy theorist. Stick to safer topics that make you sound less crazy. Like poop."

But I find I just can't. The mistreatment of children makes my blood boil. The corruption of power makes my blood boil. The combination of these two things together, funded by the wallets of clueless and well-meaning Americans . . . is killing me. So, as a public service announcement, let's have a look at
This Week In UNICEFED.

(Hopefully not to become a weekly feature here. But I make no promises)

First, we find an article in Time magazine with the title
Unicef Against Orphanages. In it, UNCIEF is widely quoted, suggesting that orphanages are too dangerous, and that children could be subject to trafficking or child slavery if they were cared for at orphanages. There was a brief quote from a voice of reason, an American Christian missionary who helps run an orphanage in northern Haiti "You can't let a few misguided people like [the Idaho Idiots] cast a shadow over the genuinely good work others are doing with Haitian children."

Then the article goes on to say:

That's true; but the UNICEF registry, if it can really reach out to an appreciable number of Haitian kids, could at least show Haitians an alternative to their troubling tradition of discarding children in the face of poverty and all the country's other hardships.
This is where the author may have lost some critical thinking points. Because "registering" a child, while important, is not the same thing as "caring" for a child, nor does it solve the problem of children who have lost their parents. There could be a long, long wait between registering a child and finding a living person to care for that child. Why can't a child be registered, and then placed into the care of an already established orphanage until the parents are found? Why would UNICEF assume that reputable orphanages, registered with the Haitian government, can't be trusted to care for children? Adoptions in Haiti are closed, and registered orphanages are very aware of this fact.

Most people I know who do relief work would agree that a sign of an effective relief organization is its ability to work WITH already established and trusted charities, organizations and people already in the country. If I've ever seen a place where people need to pool resources, it's Haiti.

And yet, what is UNICEF doing with longstanding orphanages? The BRESMA orphanage has been highly publicized due to the dire condition their children were in after the quake. Their buildings were uninhabitable, they had no food and water, and many children were sick.





Their story was all over the news. Did UNICEF visit these children with relief? No. But once the children were taken to another orphanage that had space, UNICEF showed up. God's Littlest Angels had space, and beds, and these two orphanages made the logical decision to work together. Dixie Bickel is the founder of God's Littlest Angels. She has been in Haiti for 13 years and has a solid reputation. Here's what she said February 3rd:

I have really been praying about the problem with UNICEF. When I was downtown today, I talked to other schools and orphanages and they are having problems with UNICEF representatives too. It is like they have taken over in Haiti and appointed themselves as controllers of all activities for children! But I have given this problem over to God. I still feel some anger with them because of the injustice of having small children sleeping outside in poor conditions when there are orphanages that have empty beds waiting to take some children in, but I have given this over to God. He does not need my help in getting these children out of the camps and into childcare facilities! I have made everyone aware of the problem including UNICEF and IBESR staff. . . . . As the babies come in, we will do our best to care for them and keep them safe and healthy until their mothers can take them back with them again. I almost said...back home...but most do not have a home anymore.

And then on February 11th:

All I can think about is children and babies sleeping out on the ground in the rain. All I can say is PLEASE UNICEF and PLEASE Haitian Social Services, BRING THE BABIES TO GLA! They will eventually decide that they must do something with all of these orphans and place them in orphanages but how sick will the children be by that time?


I can feel Dixie's frustration, as someone who advocates for orphan care. It makes no sense. Her facility is top-notch for caring for sick babies. They have ample staff, incubators, and the ability to do IV drips. Why should children be sleeping outdoors in UNICEF camps when they could be registered and sent here until family is identified? Some of these children will be waiting so long. I'll show some pictures of UNICEF camps, too, but here is Dixie's facility. Again, remembering UNICEF's "against orphanages" stance:





And then this happened to Dixie on Friday:

I am angry today. BRESMA brought 32 children to GLA to get them inside and out of the weather. The children were getting sicker and sicker. Several had been in hospital and one had even died. The older children can tolerate being outside better than the babies. To save her children, the director of BRESMA made the decision to put them in GLA for 3 months until repairs could be made to her orphanage. Sounds simple, huh?

Well, UNICEF talked to Margarette and I on the phone Friday evening while Margarette was at GLA delivering the children. UNICEF knew that the children were being transferred to GLA. Today, UNICEF came on their own. No IBESR representative was with them. . . . Who is running Haitian Social Services? UNICEF? Can we not act to save our children and do what is best for them without the permission of UNICEF? All of these 32 children have adoptive families.

Unfortunately, the 10 American missionaries seem to have cast suspicion on everyone. But Dixie has been in Haiti for years, and is registered with IBESR (the Haitian version of social services). It's unbelievable to me that she would be treated this way, instead of being used as a resource for the THOUSANDS of displaced or orphaned children.

Then on Saturday, six children who were legally adopted and bound for the United States were stopped with their caregivers at the airport. A riot broke out when some Haitian men saw the children and assumed they were being kidnapped. These children had papers from the US Embassy and signed papers from the Haitian prime minister. They have been waiting to go home to their parents for weeks. Instead, the caregivers were detained and questioned for eight hours, and the children sent to a UNICEF camp. Now, obviously the riot is not UNICEF's fault. But why are this children being kept in a camp, instead of released back to their orphanage caregivers? The orphanage responsible for these kids is Children of the Promise. They have a great reputation and have been operating in Haiti for a long time. They are furious that the children are being held at this camp in these conditions. Here are some photos they posted of the children in the UNICEF tent. They report that there were no bottles or diapers for the babies and very few adults. The tents are hot and the babies are being cared for by older children.




Hopefully, the situation for these children will be resolved soon, and they will travel to the US to be with their families. But for the thousands of children orphaned or displaced in the quake - they will not be so lucky. If UNICEF continues to call the shots, child will live in these conditions indefinitely - sleeping in crowded and sweltering tents while IBESR registered orphanages have empty beds . . . all so UNICEF can maintain control.

I am beyond frustrated that they are wielding political power in ways that put vulnerable children at risk, and I'm angered that it is being done in the name of social justice.

25 comments:

  1. Rant on!!!! People need to know how unreasonable UNICEF really is.

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  2. Keep on telling everyone girl, people need to know! I am so glad that I now know the truth about UNICEF, I will be telling as many people as I can about how corrupt they are, and praying for everyone involved in all of this! Those poor children, God save them!

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  3. I am glad you rant, because I would have no idea what was going on over there with UNICEF otherwise!

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  4. thank you for continuing to provide information about the care of the orphans in Haiti. my heart has been so burdened for them and I continued to monitor the latest on BRESMA but there are so many precious little souls that still need saving over there. joining in the prayers of so many...

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  5. Irene6:41 AM

    Very well written. So sorry to hear that Unicef is not taking advantage of the resources already existing!! And I really don't understand their rhetoric - first they agree (as scientific studies have shown) that instituzionalization is detrimental to children's brain development - and of course a host of other aspects of development - and then they prevent children entering nice small group homes and prevent them from being legally adopted???

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  6. You are not crazy! Continue to speak out. My blood is boiling too, and has been for a long time, ever since I started to better understand Unicef's overbearing and corrupt power that it wields over poor and underdeveloped countries, and its whack stance on international adoption. As an organization, Unicef has become more of a mouthpiece and a talker and less of a helper and a doer. They are far more interested in control and policy than helping children, which is so very sad and unconscionable. I had a 15-minute argument on the phone two years ago with a brain-washed Unicef nit during my Guatemalan adoption, when Unicef inserted itself into the Guatemalan government and adoptions were being shut down and hundreds of children in process were left stranded. It was like talking to a brick.
    On another note, glad to see that things are settling a bit and that Kembert is thriving! You guys rock!

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  7. Dorie7:34 AM

    Thank you for posting this. My blood boils and tears well up when I see those children in the Unicef tent when they should be home with their families. I also lose more and more sleep wondering how we will ever get our daughter home. Everything at the State Department and USCIS seems to have slowed to a crawl. Why slow down for these remaining 300 children?

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  8. I am so, so angry at the whole situation and thankful that people are spreading the word instead of ignoring it. Our little guy came from COTP and what UNICEF has done to Maria is horrible. Just SO angry.

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  9. Thank you for posting and sharing. This is horrendous.

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  10. Anonymous9:54 AM

    I just contacted UNICEF and complained and told them I would be sharing the truth over every social networking site...enough is enough!!! Good for you for bringing attention to this!

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  11. Kristen, thanks for posting this. I may link it to my facebook status since you followed the chain of events so well.

    I went with Dixie the first morning she went to IBESR to let them know she had room for more children, especially those that were sick or malnourished. The reply from IBESR was that adoptions were on hold! Of course they are! That is why Dixie went to them to tell them she could care for these displaced children for however long it took her staff to find their families. GLA has experience caring for children of all ages and health status. Dixie is respected by IBESR. In the past they have called HER when there is an sick and/or abandoned baby that needs care and attention. Now with UNICEF in the country seemingly running IBESR, suddenly GLA is not 'good' because they have done adoptions in the past. GLA fully acknowledges and respects that adoptions in Haiti are on hold for an indefinite amount of time. Dixie's reputation is well known in Haiti for following the country's rules when it comes to children.

    Why because of UNICEF is this all changing?

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  12. please keep writing. i so appreciate your opinion....

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  13. Is there anything we can do besides pray?

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  14. Don't stop writing about the truth. This makes me sick.

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  15. Can't tell you how many bad words I just said....

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  16. Gretchen in HB12:22 PM

    Yahoo! says six babies from Children of the Promise are coming home!
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/cb_haiti_americans_detained

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  17. Well written and thoughtful...I too don't want to be on an anti UNICEF rant but sometimes the lack of common sense is almost criminal. And if UNICEF worked hard to publicize their work with resteveks and general work to improve the Haitian system so that abuse/neglect could be prosecuted, their reputation would be greatly inhanced. Instead, almost every comment either directly from UNICEF or about UNICEF is about putting kids into UNIEF care or is in an article on adoption with UNICEF making a comment on child trafficking. So either they aren't doing the work that needs to be done in the situations I mentioned or they are and just don't care how this other junk affects their reputation. I'd like to believe the last but am more inclined to believe the first.

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  18. Thank you for writing about this and getting the word out. I would love to hear if there is more to do than pray and get the word out. I wish that someone could intervene so that UNICEF would be put in its place!

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  19. Tragedy is big business for relief organizations. Not to sound cynical (although I am), the big guys need to throw their weight around to remain relevant. If GLA and other legitimate organizations/orphanages take over the care of Haiti's children, there goes the job of countless UNICEF officials. Same for other big relief organizations. I am not impressed by large NGO's that have been in Haiti for decades and have made no significant changes to the country. It seems smaller groups have made a bigger impact. Large organizations that are long established tend to lose their way over time, but they would like us to believe otherwise. The big guys do all they can to discredit the small players and things remain the same or get worse for the people who need help. I'm tired of UNICEF and I'm tired of the Red Cross, et. al. It is time for them to step aside and let other groups give it a try. Things can't get any worse.

    Keep ranting!

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  20. Thank you for helping to get the word out about GLA and the six children from COTP.
    As for UNICEF, I vote with my pocketbook. They, and similar organizations, will never get a penny of my voluntary donations. They are worse than useless at easing the suffering in this world.

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  21. It is TRULY outrageous. Rant and Rave until people get it. Don't stop.

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  22. So glad to have found a kindred spirit. I have blogged on this in the past (http://www.creatingafamily.org/blog/adoption-domestic-adoption-international-adoption-embryo-adoption-foster-care-adoption/334/), and like you , I may have to rant on again in the future. Those of us who care about kids and child welfare need not be in opposition. Our goals are the same. No one is talking about adoption of these children now, we are talking about care of these children.

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  23. Anonymous3:20 PM

    Chidlren in Haiti are money in the bank for UNICEF and other large giving entities. Children in Haiti are not going to be cared for with any sense of decency until the United Nations and their organization, UNICEF, is reprimanded for their actions! Contact should be made to the Clinton-Bush fund, President Obama and any other organization or governmental agency in the US asking them to not send further money to UNICEF until they become responsible for their actions!

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  24. Keep voicing your concerns. I have been doing the same on my blog. I live and work in Haiti. I adopted two Haitian children back in 2006 and 2007, they have been U.S. citizens since then. They are in Haiti with me. When I tried to leave Haiti for a break in February with my two children, UNICEF kidnapped them from me. They are U.S. Citzens with U.S. Passports, they have my last name, they have stamps in their passports where they have traveled to the U.S., Haiti, Canada and Europe with me. Yet, the UNICEF employees insisted that they had custody of my children and demanded to see adoption papers! They physically took my children from me and left with them!!! You can believe the fuss and the screaming! Fortunately, I speak Kreyol and I was able to tell UNICEF and the Haitian Police that I was calling the U.S. Ambassador personally on my cellphone because they were kidnapping two U.S. Citizens. (I was bluffing since I do not have the U.S. Ambassador's cellphone number on my cellphone, BUT it worked.) The police officer in charge had some sense and started arguing with the UNICEF reps that they could not take my children. After about 40 minutes, I got my kids back... But the fact remains UNICEF kidnapped my children! U.S. Citizens!

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talk to me.

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