Are you considering international adoption? Have you looked into adopting from Haiti? As an internationally accredited and Haitian government approved adoption agency, Building Arizona Families is here to help you better understand the Haiti adoption process so you can feel confident in the next steps to take.
Taking the First Step, Choosing Your Adoption Agency
Adopting a precious child from Haiti is an amazing, life changing decision. All children deserve the love of a family and the opportunity to thrive. Haiti adoption allows these children to find love, safety, and security in their forever home.
Finding an adoption agency you trust is the first step of beginning the Haiti adoption process. Building Arizona Families is a non-profit, Hague accredited adoption agency (required for legal international adoption) and is one of just 19 U.S. adoption agencies permitted to work in Haiti. Our agency would be honored to support your family on this amazing journey and watch as your family grows through adoption!
Step by Step Haiti Adoption Process
The Haiti adoption process takes about 24 months. After contacting Building Arizona Families, these are the next steps in the adoption process:
• Complete a home study. This can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months. During a home study, there are different interviews that will take place to get to know the adoptive family. A social worker will also take time learning about your home and seeing the environment your child will live in.
• Apply for adoption eligibility. This typically takes up to 3 months and determines if requirements are met to adopt from Haiti.
• Waiting for referral. With a longer time frame, this can take about 6 to 8 months due to Haitian legal intricacies.
• Socialization period. For two weeks the adoptive family travels to Haiti to complete their socialization period with their adoptive child.
• Gaining Haitian government approval to adopt. This can take up to 8 months for the Haitian government to give final approval of adoption.
• Bringing your child home! The final trip is a six day bonding period where you will bond with your child before taking them home. At the end of the six days the family can return to the USA with their new child!
How Building Arizona Families Helps You
At Building Arizona Families, we strive to help families grow through the beautiful gift of adoption. We provide the highest level of service and communication. With over 12 years of experience in Haiti, we have hands-on connections that benefit our adoptive families.
Building Arizona Families takes the time to guide you through the Haiti adoption process. As a licensed, non-profit, Hague accredited adoption agency, we are able to work with families in any state through our Haiti adoptions program.
Contact Lisa Peterson, Haiti Adoption Program Manager, for more information on the Haiti adoption process HERE, or call her at 623-692-4424.
As some of you may have known, I was in Haïti last week. It was a very productive week in Haiti. I’m so grateful we have been warmly welcomed once again by our US Embassy and IBESR. All Blessing, Wasatch, Building Arizona Families, and Nightlight, came together to “thrive together instead of survive alone.” We all have common goals of doing what is best for Haitian children – all children. We spent time listening to many creche (orphanage) directors, IBESR agency representatives, our Embassy adoption team and IBESR staff members as we discussed the many aspects of adopting a child from Haiti and the overall welfare of Haitian children.
Our first meeting was an informal gathering for us to hear from creche directors and others involved in caring for children in Haiti. There were many concerns raised. Overall, we left this gathering with the conclusion that communication and rumors remain problematic for everyone. We continue to encourage all stakeholders in Haiti who care for the best interests of children to schedule regular meetings and to share information so that rumors can be dealt with quickly. Everyone we met with during the week wants to do what is best for Haitian children. Although there are differences in perspective on what is best, including the issues surrounding adopting a child from Haiti, there are many more areas of agreement.
Our next meeting was with our US Embassy. Michelle Milardo, Chief of the Adoption Unit, is on a medical leave of absence. During her absence, Megan Kenny, is acting Chief. Megan is just as passionate and responsive as Michelle. Michelle and Keith attended our later meetings with us. Megan brought a few concerns to our group that we believe important to share with you in regards to adopting a child from Haiti.
1. Clarification on the Visa medical appointment and vaccine requirements. The embassy follows the CDC guidelines for vaccines. However, parents can choose to waive vaccines for children under 10. Children over 10 must have vaccines. The medical appointment for children over 10 is $450. The medical appointment for children under 10 whose vaccines are waived is now $200.
2. We discussed the inconsistent timeline with dossiers processed in MOI and subsequent passport processing. This has been a challenge for us because the passport department tells the embassy passports take one week. We know they have taken 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, etc. We know that families are “at the end of their rope” by this point in the process of adopting a child from Haiti. We want to make sure this step becomes more predictable in terms of timing. We brainstormed different solutions and the embassy took note to present to the administrators at MOI who have, in the past, been very receptive to putting their input into practice.
3. The Embassy discussed the challenges of social media and the Facebook pages’ influence over parents. She said she knows when a rumor is posted because she receives communication at once from several families who are concerned. This has always been a concern and something we constantly have to manage and do damage control. Facebook is a blessing and a curse – bring any and all rumors/concerns to your ASP. Transparency on all sides is crucial in this hard and long journey to bring your child(ren) home. The embassy pointed out that they too have a Facebook page and American Citizen Services has a Facebook page. The embassy team is happy to dispel rumors, but they ask that families come to their adoption agency first with these concerns and we will work with the embassy to solve any problem they might not be aware of.
On January 23, 2019, was a meeting at IBESR (with the embassy team) and it was filled with new information about the welfare of Haiti children, as well as how it impacts adopting a child from Haiti. Agency representatives who have been working in Haiti 15+ years state they have never seen IBESR create the amount of change they have in the past year. Local and international organizations have partnered with IBESR to administer regulatory supervision over 569 orphanages. Using electronic surveys, the orphanages (and creches) were inspected by committees and rated based on administrative caregiver rankings. You have probably heard of the color system that creches are now under (green, yellow, and red and there is a red+). IBESR explained the goal of the creche rating system, how orphanages and creches are color coded and the steps and timeline in which creche are being asked to improve their facility to make it “green”. It became apparent quickly that outside resources have come in to support IBESR in this huge undertaking. IBESR is prioritizing the safety of children and seeking that all creches have appropriate discipline plans for the children in their care. There is a movement to de-institutionalize Haiti and move children back into their original families or into foster care. They are calling it the “DI Process.” There is also another subgroup of creches considered “red plus.” These creches will be shut down due to abuse concerns.
We (the agencies) expressed our concerns to every group that this must be done with extreme caution, slowly and with an abundance of education and transparent communication. It is clear that international adoption will remain as a solution for permanency for Haitian children – that adopting a child from Haiti would ideally be a last resort.
How does this affect your plans for adopting a child from Haiti? Only green creches can submit new child dossiers until creches are re-evaluated between now and July. If yellow or red creches have child dossiers already in IBESR, those can be matched/processed still. Agencies are still receiving referrals and IBESR states that they have matches prepared for many of the families who have been waiting the longest for a match. If a creche that was yellow or red did not have a child’s dossier completed and turned into IBESR by the beginning of January they may not turn in the child’s dossier until the creche is coded as green. I know many of you are waiting on referrals for special needs and older children and at this time I do not know, and will not be told, what dossiers were turned in while we wait for the referrals.
(What made a creche not “green”? There was a list of criteria a creche needed in order to maintain a positive coding. At this time there are 35 green, 139 yellow. The main target of the project was abuse. For example, if a nanny was spanking a child, that nanny had to be fired in order to correct the issue.)
We also discussed recent changes to the quota. After our discussion, it was determined by IBESR that agencies can continue to submit 12 parent dossiers per year for adopting a child from Haiti that is non-special needs. In addition, BAF can submit 10 parent dossiers that are special cases including kinship, children over age 6, sibling sets of 3+ and medical special needs. This quota, which we support, is to prevent a backlog.
This brings me to our next item of discussion: advocating for special needs/older children. IBESR is researching a few database programs that will help them manage, regulate and track children in their care. With this, we hope to receive more information on these cases so that we can advocate for children who are more difficult to place. In the meantime, as I become aware of a child that is considered special needs I can make you aware of the needs of that child or sibling groups.
All in all, I can confidently report that intercountry adoption from Haiti will remain a permanency option for Haitian children. The opportunity to adopt a child from Haiti will continue and I will advocate for each family and each child. As all these changes take place we will continue to see the time-frames from 24-36 months until you bring a child home. If you are waiting to be matched with a child under 5-years old the wait times will be longer than a family wanting an older child or sibling groups.
Many of you have asked for reading suggestions while you wait. Here are a few I would suggest. Some are religious in nature, but regardless of your background, they are educational. Miracle on VooDoo Mountain, Restavec, When Helping Hurts, Mountains beyond Mountains, and Toxic Charity.
Adopting a baby or an older child from Haiti is a wonderful way to grow your forever family! It provides a future for a precious child who otherwise would have very little possibility of living a prosperous life. Below is some information that you need to know about Haitian adoption requirements.
Haiti is the most impoverished nation in the Western Hemisphere and has had additional substantial negative impacts from recent hurricanes. Children living in Haitian orphanages desperately need loving families to open their hearts and homes to them.
Haitian Adoption Requirements Include Several Restrictions
It you are interested in adopting a child from Haiti, it is important to know that the Haitian government has determined Haitian adoption requirements. They include age, marital status, and income to name a few of the requirements. Age restrictions include one parent being at least 30 years old, but not over the age of 50. Additionally, parents must be at least 14 years older than the adopted child.
Couples adopting a child from Haiti must be married at least five years or have five years of cohabitation. Single women who meet the age requirements are also welcome to adopt children from Haiti. Additionally, there is no restriction on the number of biological and adopted children a family has as long as the family is able to financially provide for the newly adopted child.
Providing Criminal History and Medical History Are Haitian Adoption Requirements
Another requirement is that families adopting a baby from Haiti may not have a criminal history. From a medical history perspective, adoptive families must not have a past or current diagnosis of a life-threatening or communicable disease. Additionally, they can not have any other medical condition that negatively impacts their ability to parent, including significant mental health issues or substance abuse challenges. Adoptive families are also required to undergo a psychological evaluation.
Building Arizona Families offers informative adoption seminars on adopting a child from Haiti. For more information on the process of adopting a child from Haiti and to find out about upcoming adoption seminars, please call or e-mail Lisa Peterson, Haiti Adoption Program Manager. She would be happy to any additional questions you might have. You can e-mail HERE, or call her at 623-692-4424. We also offer informational seminars online, and have helpful information on our website HERE. Building Arizona Families is looking forward to serving you on your joyous forever family journey!
Do you want to build your forever family with a child or children who face a dismal future without your safe home and loving care? Please consider adopting a child from Haiti. As the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, there are thousands of Haitian children living in orphanages that urgently need loving, safe forever families where they can have a bright future. Could that be you? Haiti adoption is not a simple process, but changing a child’s life forever is certainly worth it!
The Haitian government provides the guidelines on who is eligible to adopt. Adopting a child from Haiti requires the parent to be at least 21 years older than the child. Married couples are required to be between 30 and 49 years of age and to have been married at least five years. There is no marriage requirement, but single people must be between the ages of 35 and 49 years old. Additionally, anyone with a criminal history is not eligible to adopt. A Haiti adoption can take between 24 – 30 months to complete with several steps in between.
The process of adopting a child from Haiti includes pre-adoptive training, building a dossier of required documentation, child matching, visiting/bonding with your prospective adoptive child, US Embassy paperwork, and then waiting for approvals. Building Arizona Families, a licensed, non-profit, Hague accredited adoption agency is one of just a handful of adoption agencies that has the privilege of serving Haitian children. We have Haiti adoption specialists who will walk beside you through the process of aHaiti adoption.
Building Arizona Families offers informative adoption seminars on adopting a child from Haiti. For more information on the process of adopting a child from Haiti and to find out about upcoming adoption seminars, please call or e-mail so that we can answer any additional questions you might have. You can e-mail us HERE, or call 623.936.4729. We also offer informational seminars online, and have helpful information on our website HERE. Building Arizona Families is looking forward to serving you on your joyous forever family journey!