What will happen to Haiti’s orphans?

As Haitians struggle to survive and aid teams wrestle with a shattered infrastructure in the leveled country, the plight of orphans now left to even more dire circumstances has been a concern of many people across the world.

Searches on “how to adopt” orphans from Haiti and some centering around the fate of children in pending adoptions are skyrocketing. No larger initiatives are in place to find homes for the children, many of whom resided in now destroyed orphanages with caregivers who were killed or severely injured in the quake and chaotic aftermath. Although the immediate impulse may be to move the children to safety in other nations, the possibility of destroying families or poorly and hastily arranged adoptions is a concern, too.

53 orphans were flown from Haiti to Pittsburgh today, most already in the process of being adopted and almost all under the age of 4. 53 beds await the kids in a children’s hospital in Pittsburgh, each with a single teddy bear. While that number may seem high, there were an estimated 380,000 orphaned children in Haiti before the quake hit. The fate of the hundreds of thousands of children not in the process of being internationally adopted remains unknown. No current plans are in place to place the children, who number many more with quake death tolls estimated at around 200,000.