Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Haitian Adoption 101

This was posted on our Haitian Adoption Group and I thought I would share to give you all a glimpse of what this lengthy & complex process will entail. Caution: your head may start spinning upon reading!

First things first - gather information for your home study & dossier.

Dossier: This is a packet comprised of all the forms necessary to complete an international adoption. Most dossiers require birth and marriage certificates, background check clearances, fingerprint clearances, approved home study, employee letter, INS Clearance, medical evaluations, and photos. These forms must be translated and legalized. This is the official document that goes to the government of the foreign country.

Home study: (adoption study) An investigative study of the family and home usually completed in 3 visits with a social worker. The homestudy will approve or deny the adoptive family for continued adoptive services, including placement of a child.

  1. Dossier arrives in Haiti at the orphanage.

  2. First Legal: Any document that had to be authenticated by the Haitian Consulate has to be taken to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for further legalization. They legalize the signature of the Haitian Consular Officer that legalized your dossier at the foreign Haitian Embassy in your country.

  3. If the child to be adopted is already identified and/or as soon as the child is identified, the child's portion of the adoption dossier has to be compiled. This dossier portion includes the social history on the child which is prepared by a Haitian Social Worker, a Psychologist report, a Medical report and a Lab Report is made. Additionally, the child's birth certificate, parent's death certificate or relinquishment papers are added to the dossier at that time. Additionally, any birth or death certificates have to have Archive Papers attached to the document. This certifies that the signature on the birth certificate and/or death certificate corresponds with the signature of the official who signed it.

  4. When all the papers are back from Legalization and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the child's paperwork is finished, the dossier is prepared for the National Office of Social Welfare (IBESR) and sent to the lawyer. The dossier consists of one original document dossier and three copy dossiers.

  5. Dossier is given to IBESR. The dossier has to get approval from three offices within the IBESR office. *About 500+ dossiers from various countries (U.S., Canada, Spain, France, Netherlands, Belgium, etc.) are in IBESR at any one time.

  6. Once the dossier is approved at IBESR, it must be studied and signed at the Parquet Office.

  7. Courts (2nd Legalization): Once the dossier is released from the Parquet, the dossier comes back to the lawyer. The court papers are typed and turned in to the court for the finalization of the adoption process. There are several steps that have to happen: (1) Attestation of the signature on the act of adoption. This is when archives in Haiti says that the signature on the act of adoption corresponds with the signature of the judge who signed it. Just legalizing the signature. (2) Legalization at the Minister of Justice Office. Papers must be legalized here for all countries, saying that the signature is the legal signature of the Judges involved on ALL papers. (3) legalization at the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Legalizing the signature of the Minister of Justice.

  8. Application for the child's Haitian Passport. The Orphanage representative submits a "mini" dossier that contains all the adopted child's and adoption documents to the Ministry of Immigration. From there, the dossier is sent to the Ministry of Interior (MOI). Dossier goes to the Minister of Interior for study and approval. This is the portion in the current process that has been very slow. The average wait for the MOI portion is about 4-5 months but hopefully that will change soon. Inside of MOI the Approved Dossier is sent back to Immigration from MOI. The orphanage (creche) submits some additional paperwork so that the the passport can get printed.

  9. Child is taken to have a Visa Medical Examination which is required as part of the visa application. Usually the medical exam has to be done after the passport is issued because the Embassy Doctor has to ensure that he/she is examining the child who is applying for the visa.

  10. At the same time that the passport application is in the works, the U.S. Immigration process must be completed:- Haitian adoption papers are translated into English, so that an I-600 can be filed in the United States or in Haiti if the adoptive parents come to Haiti. As soon as the family receives the I-600 approval in the mail from USCIS, the orphanage needs to get a copy of it so that the U.S. Immigration Office in Haiti can finalize the orphan investigation process, which is necessary for the granting of the child's visa that allows him to travel as an immigrant to the U.S.

  11. The Orphanage submits the Visa Application with copies of certain documents to the U.S. Consulate. Mr. Jeff Duffy at the U.S. Consulate reviews the completed dossier before approving the visa.

  12. The adoptive parents' have their appointment in Haiti to receive the visa.

  13. Get on the plane and go HOME with your child!
I've heard said that adoption is not for the faint of heart. I believe you will see from what you read above that it is certainly true! I know when we hold our beautiful girl in our arms it will all be worth it! Your continued prayers for the financing of this adoption is appreciated. Blessings!


The Fry Family said...

True, Stephanie! Adoption is not for the faint of heart (!!!!!) but through long months of long waits, we've held tight knowing our children are waiting for us and believing God has purposed us to be together. We know the wait will be worth it soon!
And you'll soon know the joy of checking off items on that long list to bring your newest daughter home. I'll be watching and praying.
God Bless!

dreamingBIGdreams said...

I enjoyed your timeline!

We are in the begining stages and are working diligently on our dossier.


Salzwedel Family said...

We are only at the very beginning stages of this adoption, but know in our hearts that God has a special plan for our lives that includes our little girl from Haiti. We are excited about what God is going to do in our lives through this child and know we can use this experience as a testament to His greatness.

Kristie: Your comments are a real source of encouragement for me. I pray D, A, & M will be with their mama & papi soon.

Jamie: Your sweet Amos is a doll. I am excited to follow your adventure to bring him home.

Blessings to you both!