French families to adopt 318 Haitian children

More than 300 Haitian children are preparing to fly to Paris with their new French adoptive families, just in time for the holidays.

French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie said on Saturday that 318 children had been cleared for adoption and were being allowed to leave the Caribbean country, which is still reeling from a January earthquake and now experiencing a deadly cholera epidemic.

Authorities chartered two airplanes so French families can pick up the children. The flights will leave Paris on Tuesday and Thursday, Alliot-Marie said in a statement.

The French Embassy in Port-au-Prince – with support from Haitian authorities and the UN mission – will bring the children to meet the families before they all head to the airport, the minister’s statement said.

On arrival in France, the families will be met by doctors and psychologists, along with administrators to help families through the technicalities of the adoption process.

International adoption is a sensitive subject in Haiti, and several incidents since the earthquake have heightened Haitian authorities’ concerns. In one case, a group of US missionaries tried to take 33 Haitian children out of the country without papers, claiming they were orphans when in fact all had at least one living parent. — AP

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