Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Adoption Update

I've been hesitant to update on our adoption...waiting for the big "good news" to share.  But the wait has now turned into a prayer request.  I'll try to summarize our current standings as best I can.

We started our adoption in February.  The first step after applying with an agency is to put together a Dossier.  This is our very large batch of paperwork that gives the US and Haitian Government every detail of our lives.  It is our financial details, a home study done by a licensed social worker, references, medical information, back ground and criminal checks, psych evals, etc.  Once this is finished, we apply for pre-approval with US immigration.  We have completed all of this, along with having all of our paperwork authenticated by the US government and then translated into French.

Next, we received an accepted the referral of our boy- Christian Willy.  At this point, our Dossier is sent to Haiti for Authentication.  All this is done.

The next stage is for our Dossier and Christian's to be attached together and enter the Haitian system- starting with dropping it off in IBESR (Haitian social services).

Haitian social services closed at the beginning of May with the intent to clear out back logged Dossiers and reopen in August.  During this time, the Parliament of Haiti voted to ratify the Hague treaty.  Most third world countries who have ratified the Hague have ended up closing to adoption, because the US cannot allow adoption if they are in infringement of the treaty and most third world countries have a very hard time consistently meeting all the standards and jumping through all hoops that Hague requires.  (This is a very generalized summary and by no means an exhaustive explanation).  Haiti voted to ratify, but they have not yet done so.  Ratification requires dropping off official ratification notice in Switzerland.  Once that is done they have 90 days to be in compliance with the treaty.

Haiti has made some changes to it's adoption law.  However, knowing Dossiers were waiting to be accepted.  IBESR reopened on 8/16 and they said they would accept any Dossiers prepared between May and July through September 15.

We got an email on the morning of the 16th saying it was indeed open and we should have early file numbers because our facilitators were there first thing.  We didn't hear anything else that day.  We didn't hear anything the next day- Friday.  I emailed on Monday to see if I missed an email and was informed that Christians file was found to be missing a document- it sounds as if it was actually expired, not missing.  He needed verification of his abandonment signed by the mayor and they had an appt. Tuesday morning with the mayor.

This was signed and just needed the signature of the head of IBESR before returning to his file at which point we could officially enter our dossiers....and we are still waiting three weeks later.

We received an update today that the facilitator doesn't think it will be an issue, but we are well aware that 9/15 is Saturday.  There is a possibility it will not close, of course.

Please join us in praying that our paper work is submitted this week so we know we are officially in the system.  I feel quite teary today.  I just want to bring my baby home.  It is so out of our control.  We have to trust God who is bigger than circumstances and bigger than my fears.  We know he is able to do immeasurable more than all we can ask or imagine.

Though, we know it is improbable we continue to pray Christian is home by Christmas.

For those of you curious about the process once we are officially submitted to IBESR, here is the Current Adoption process (adapted from the blog of All Blessings International, our wonderful agency).

The Current Haitian Adoption Process

The many steps listed below are those all the Creche Directors of Haiti must follow for each and every adoption. Add to their number the extreme difficulty of accomplishing each one: every step must be accomplished in person and by hand.

Most of the offices listed do not have computers. There will be no communications by fax or email or even by official phone calls. Facilitators must visit each office personally to check on the status of each case, and carry it by hand through the traffic of Port-au-Prince to the next stage of the process.

While you are gathering your dossier and before your case ever enters IBESR, your adoption facilitator had to gather each of the following documents:

  1. Passport pictures of the child
  2. Birth Certificate
  3. Attestation of signature on Birth Certificate or extract from the National Archives
  4. Legal relinquishment of custody to the orphanage from the local judge
  5. Psychological evaluation
  6. Medical evaluation
  7. Laboratory tests
  8. Social history
  9. Proces Verbal (A legal document in which the biological family grants the creche the right to place their child with your family for international adoption. Can only be completed after your dossier is in Haiti.)
IBESR and Dispensation
Your dossier can now be submitted to IBESR. If your family does not meet the criteria of the law of 1974, your dossier can be pre-approved for Presidential Dispensation and delivered to the Presidential Palace by IBESR. Dispensations are published in Le Moniteur. Following Dispensation, IBESR will sign off on your dossier and grant an Authorization of Adoption.

Time lines for this step have been highly inconsistent in the past year.
Parquet Court
The 'step' we refer to as Parquet court is actually a very complex series of steps and processes involving multiple offices and repeated trips between them.

  1. Attorney addresses a Request for Judgment to the Chief Justice of Parquet Court
  2. Birth parents are interviewed in Parquet Court
  3. Parquet Court signs off on "approval judgement for adoption
  4. Facilitator takes approval to DGI for stamp of authorization
  5. Back to Parquet for enforcement of the approval judgement
  6. Authorization and redaction from the Civil Registrar Officer for legal Adoption Decree
  7. Verification in parquet of the adoption documents by the Civil Registrar before signing the adoption decree
  8. First Legalization of the Adoption Decree, in Parquet Court
  9. Second Legalization of the Adoption Decree, at the Ministry of Justice
  10. Third Legalization of the Adoption Decree, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  11. Obtain attestation of Adoption Decree from the National Archives
Ministry of the Interior
All international adoption cases are reviewed by the Ministry of Interior. In order to obtain authorization to request a passport, the following documents must be submitted for each child:

  1. Four passport sized pictures
  2. Birth Certificate
  3. Attestation for the Birth Certificate
  4. Extract from the National Archives for the Birth Certificate
  5. Relinquishment
  6. Proces Verbal of adoption
  7. Adoption approval judgement
  8. Adoption Decree
  9. Attestation of the Adoption Decree
  10. Power of Attorney for creche director and/or attorney
  11. Stamp from DGI
  12. Notary letter for the passport
  13. Identification card of facilitator and/or attorney on the case
  14. Biological parents' identification cards
  15. Adoptive parents' MOI form, identification, and passport photos
The Ministry of Interior will grant authorization to submit the dossier to Haitian Immigrations for a passport.
Haitian Immigrations
The facilitator will submit authorization to apply for a passport to Haitian Immigrations. This is generally a quick process - one to two weeks, if all equipment is working properly.

US Immigrations
Parts of the US Immigrations process can occur concurrently with the Haitian process, however USCIS cannot sign off on the case until they have verified the final Adoption Decree and the child's passport. DNA may be requested at any time.
American families are advised to work closely with their agencies to ensure a smooth and efficient US Immigrations process for their child.
Approximately three to four weeks following completion of all USCIS investigations and adjudication of the I600 for the child, the case will be forwarded to the Department of State for issuance of a Visa. The Department of State also has the right to request DNA testing for birth parent and child. Adoptive parents need not be present for the Visa appointment.
Parents who can prove that they visited their child prior to the issuance of the Adoption Decree by Parquet Court will be issued an IR-3 Visa. Their children will be automatically granted full US Citizenship upon arrival in the US.
Families who did not visit their children prior to the date of the Adoption Decree must file for citizenship for their children. Failure to file for citizenship will leave the child as a legal immigrant and unprotected by the rights of full citizenship. Please refer to the USCIS website for form N-600 and instructions on how to file.
These steps were provided by Margarette Saint Fleur of BRESMA orphanage. All legitimate adoptions facilitators must follow each one of them, and must do so under extremely difficult conditions.

Haitian adoptions are taking far, far too long. Children are waiting in orphanages for months and even years while the process drags on. And yet, when we look at the immensely complicated process, we must realize what a miracle it is when each child comes home.
When you travel to pick up your child at last, thank the people who made your adoption possible. No amount of money could ever cover the exhaustion and frustration they endure for each case, and most of them work for very little or no pay at all. Their reward is seeing the children they live for go home with families who will love and cherish them for the rest of their lives.
Thank your facilitator by telling her how grateful you are for her work, and thank her by sending her pictures over the years of your child growing up safe and happy. It is their sacrifices that make our adoptions and our families possible.


  1. I'm misty with you, friend! Praying for paperwork, praying for peace and praying for our sweet babies!!! You are so right, His plans are bigger than ours ... Hugs!

  2. praying for you all as you wait on Him