Posted by: Cathy | December 19, 2009

“Why does it take so long???”

"Delmace Makak" - my silly monkey boy...

People keep asking me when Delmace is coming home – and why this whole process takes so long…  Those are hard questions to answer – because it seems that every case is different…  I am currently at the very beginning of the Haitian part of this process.  That means that all my US paperwork is done, and my adoption dossier is in Haiti – in the hands of the person who will be pushing it through the various steps.  Delmace’s part of the dossier is now been compiled – and then my stuff and his stuff get combined.

Last week, Diana (my adoption case worker) hosted a conference call for a number of her families at this stage of the process.  During the call she outlined all the things that need to happen for the adoption to go through – and explained why this takes such a long time.   She also posted this info on her blog.   Rather than try to summarize what she said/wrote,  I am just going to quote her:

The Current Haitian Adoption Process – Diana Boni

The many steps listed below are those all the Crèche 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.

Pre-IBESR

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 crèche 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 judgment for adoption
  4. Facilitator takes approval to DGI for stamp of authorization
  5. Back to Parquet for enforcement of the approval judgment
  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 judgment
  8. Adoption Decree
  9. Attestation of the Adoption Decree
  10. Power of Attorney for crèche 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.

Summary

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.”

So – that’s the “process”…  no small task to accomplish – and things can go awry at any point along the way…  Each of these steps happens in “offices” with no computers, no copy machines, limited phone service, limited electricity, and a general lack of resources.  And yet – the cases do get through, and the kids do come home – it just takes a lot longer than everyone would like.

Delmace and I may not be together this holiday – I’m still hoping for next Christmas – maybe we’ll get lucky…  Maybe we won’t…  But if he’s not home by next December, it won’t be because people weren’t trying.  We are lucky to have a bunch of dedicated people helping us – and when things are finally finished, I will never ever be able to thank them enough for everything that they will have done.  There are a few people that I need to extend extra “thanks” to – because without them, we wouldn’t have even gotten this far…  So – THANK-YOU Diana, Renee, Margarette, Jenn, Martha, and Benoit…  And THANK-YOU to everyone at Wings for taking care of D…  Mesi, mesi, mesi…

Delmace and his car collection...

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