Press Release


Media Advisory: For Immediate Release


NEW YORK, January 15, 2010 – The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute offers its deep condolences to the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been lost, devastated or irrevocably altered by the earthquake in Haiti, and urges that priority be given to the protection and care of the children who are most vulnerable during this time of crisis.

In addition to causing untold deaths and wreaking enormous physical destruction, this natural disaster has resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, sparked lawlessness, and destroyed elements of basic infrastructure such as health, education, water and sanitation. As a consequence, it has greatly heightened the risks to children by robbing them of the protective environments of family, community and government.

“All of our hearts are aching and we all are doing whatever we can by opening our homes and our wallets to those whose lives have been ravaged,” said Institute Executive Director Adam Pertman. “Those are essential first steps, but we now have to focus clearly and learn from our past experiences. And that means we have to pay special attention to the boys and girls who are most vulnerable – emotionally, academically and in every other way.”

Although the full extent of this historic tragedy has yet to be realized, the Adoption Institute urges that lessons from prior emergencies help to guide current relief efforts as they relate to the welfare of children.

In April 2005, the Institute issued a Policy Brief outlining some of the unique threats posed to children as the result of major disasters. “Intercountry Adoptions in Emergencies: The Tsunami Orphans” suggests best practices for both the immediate and long-term needs of children during times of complex human crisis, including: priority to the safety and security of children and families; comprehensive efforts to unite and trace family members; concurrent planning for children without identified caregivers; and the need to address the widespread trauma caused by witnessing and directly experiencing brutal events.

To read or download the complete Adoption Institute Policy Brief, “Intercountry Adoptions in Emergencies: The Tsunami Orphans,” please visit our website at For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact April Dinwoodie at 212-925-4089 or

The Adoption Institute is the pre-eminent policy, research and education organization in its field. It provides information and leadership that improve the lives of everyone touched by adoption – especially children – through better laws, policies, practices and attitudes.