Bishop Pierre-Andre Dumas, president of Caritas Haiti, criticized the attempt by Baptist volunteers to take a group of Haitian who were not orphans out of the country.
Bishop Dumas said thousands of Haitian children have been left orphans and need to be adopted by parents around the world, but that the path of adoption “should be an ordered and legal process that should be handled urgently by a commission.”
“Taking children out of the country without paperwork and without checking on their current family situation is crazy,” the bishop said.
He also said the Church in Haiti is willing to participate in a commission “together with the state and competent civil organizations” in order to address the pressing issue of the adoption of Haitian children.”
Ten Baptist volunteers from the U.S. were detained in Haiti on Jan. 29 for attempting to cross into the Dominican Republic with 33 children.
Pastor Drew Ham said the Baptist volunteers were not attempting to kidnap the children but rather to “offer them a safe place where they could receive food and medicine” and to save them from being peddled by human traffickers.
“It’s unthinkable that someone would believe these citizens were kidnapping children,” Rev. Ham said. Haitian officials insist, however, that the volunteers knew they were acting illegally.