Lawmakers Cross Party Lines for Haiti's Orphans

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It can be tough to get Republicans and Democrats to agree in Washington, but when it comes to helping Haiti's orphans it seems the spirit of bipartisanship is alive and well.

Nearly 40 members of the House and Senate are pushing for a new orphan policy to ease the frustration of adoptive families.

At airports around the country, moments of joy are emerging from the pain and suffering in Haiti, as children with nowhere else to go find new families.

"Honestly, I've been wanting a little sister for years," said Taylor Fitzpatrick, who now has a new adopted sister. "Since I was 10 years old, I prayed to have a little sister."

Haiti had an estimated 380,000 orphans before this month's devastating quake and the number may have doubled or tripled since.

As a result, lawmakers from both parties are upset that too much government red tape could keep these children from families who will care for them.

"That's what we're up against is an old fashioned, out of date, risk averse 'can't do it because it's never been done' mentality," Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu said. "And we're about to push that over when it comes to orphans in this world."

Bethany Christian Services is an adoption agency that helps families take in children from around the world, including Haiti.  CBN News spoke with Jeff Nitz of the group.  Click play for his comments. 

"I talked to a high-ranking official in the State Department, and I said, 'When are you going to be able to get the forces together to provide security to get the orphans collected so they can be transported to their waiting families?'" Sen. Kit Bond recalled. "And I was advised that it was under consideration by the highest levels of the State Department."

Tuesday's call for less paperwork and more action should help more children like 2-year-old Claudia through the bureaucracy. Her adoptive parents waited years to bring her to Iowa.

They were supposed to meet with the birth parents before the adoption went through, but they haven't been heard from since the quake.

*Originally published January 27, 2010.

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John Waage

John Waage

CBN News Sr. Editor

John Waage has covered politics and analyzed elections for CBN News since 1980, including primaries, conventions, and general elections. 

He also analyzes the convulsive politics of the Middle East.