Recent Press Releases

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano encouraging support for efforts to unite children in Haiti who have been approved by the Haitian court system with their adoptive families in the United States. On January 12, 2010, Haiti was devastated by a 7.0 earthquake.

“This is a time of extreme hardship for the people of Haiti and we need to do all we can to help the relief efforts that continue,” said Thune. “To that end, there are loving families in the U.S. who have already opened their hearts and are waiting to open their homes to children in orphanages that are now badly damaged. While supplies and relief efforts must remain our top priority, the needs of these children must also be a priority. Uniting children who have already been approved by the Haitian court system with their families in the U.S. will also free much needed space in orphanages and other resources for those children who await adoption and those who may have lost homes or their families in this disaster.”

Senator Thune and his staff have assisted South Dakotans who have adopted children from Haiti and he is an original co-sponsor of a bill that would make the tax credit of up to $12,150 for adoptions permanent. He is also a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption.

The full text of the letter follows:

January 15, 2010
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Secretary of StateSecretary of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of StateU.S. Department of Homeland Security
2201 C Street NW301 7th Street SW
Washington, DC 20520Washington, DC 20528

Dear Secretary Clinton and Secretary Napolitano:

The recent earthquake in Haiti has captured the attention of the world as news coverage brings endless pictures of destruction and despair into homes across America. In addition to the staggering numbers who have lost their lives, thousands of Haitians have lost their homes, material possessions, and in some cases their whole family.

In the middle of a natural disaster, it is easy to forget about those who are unable to voice their needs. Thousands of Haitian children need a loving family to provide physical care and emotional support to heal from the wounds brought by the earthquake. Fortunately, some of these children have a loving, adoptive family in the United States waiting for the arrival of their child or children. These families are ready to provide the love and support necessary for the children to overcome the physical and emotional trauma they have experienced.

In light of the unprecedented need to assist Haiti, I ask that the Department of State and the Department of Homeland Security jointly evaluate the circumstances and grant humanitarian parole, emergency visas, or similar emergency immigration assistance to children whose adoptions have been finalized by the Haitian judicial system. I also ask that you work closely with the Haitian government to establish an agreement to allow for the quick dispensation of the judicial requirements for children who have been matched with an adoptive family but whose adoptions have not yet been approved by the Haitian government.

While it is extremely fortunate that many of the approximately 67 licensed crèches and 100 licensed orphanages were undamaged by the earthquake, the same cannot be said of the Haitian government agencies which handle international adoptions. Because of the devastation, it is impossible to know the length of time these children would be waiting to join their adoptive families in the United States without your intervention on their behalf.

Additionally, many orphanages in Haiti are at capacity, and accelerating the final steps of adoption for children who have been matched with families will allow orphanages to improve their ability to care for the children who lost parents in the earthquake and now need care.

I commend you on your quick action to address the urgent needs in Haiti and stand ready to assist regarding the placement of these children. Thank you for your consideration of this important issue.


U.S. Senator