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‘Too Soon’ to Allow Tsunami Adoptions

January 6, 2005

by Kevin Caruso

Many families are waiting to adopt tsunami orphans, but officials want to make sure that every possible action is taken to find and unite the children with family members or relatives before adoptions will be considered.

"The international standard among adoption professionals in a crisis is to keep children as close to their family members and community as possible," the U.S. State Department said in a statement. "Staying with relatives in extended family units is recognized as a generally better solution than uprooting then child completely."

Several months will need to pass before adoptions will begin.

"We cannot assume that all the children who cannot find their parents have lost their entire families," said Carol Bellamy, executive director of UNICEF. "There are parents, aunts, uncles and cousins desperately looking for their children and young relatives [so] every effort must be made to assist families and children to reunite before adoptions can be considered."

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