Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Haitian Adoption Process

As to the timelines --- some of it depends on the active pursuit of paperwork by the orphanage worker but a lot of the timeline depends on what is happening in Haiti currently (i.e. changing of the rules in mid-process, etc.)

The Haitian adoption process is a lot like the stairway in the Harry Potter movies, where the stairs move around at random and things change constantly.

Obviously, there are lots of steps to take before your dossier is ready to go to Haiti to start the adoption process there...

The process takes a long time and here are the steps:

1. Dossier arrives in Haiti at the orphanage. Adoptive parents should send 1 set of originals and 4 sets of copies of the entire dossier.

2. Any dossier 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. (1 month)

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 who interviews the birth family and/or relatives of the child in order to prepare the report, 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 (<--- no longer need that - please note: unconditional & irrevocable relinquishments are illegal in Haiti, however currently, the U.S. Embassy requires those kinds of relinquishments in order to issue a visa. This has to be sorted out within the Dept. of State and USCIS. USCIS no longer requires the relinquishments because they are against Haitian law. Apparently, that message has not reached the U.S. Consulate visa department though...) are added to the dossier at the 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. (1 month - 2 months)

4. When all the papers are back from Legalization from 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 send it to the lawyer. The dossier consists of one original document dossier and three copy dossiers. (1 -3 days)

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. (3 - 18 months)6. Once the dossier is approved at IBESR, it must be studied and signed at the Parquet Office this the actual court and that is where the adoption decree and minute de graffe are issued. (1 - 12 months - currently there are about 300 adoption files located in the main court of Port au Prince because the Chief Prosecutor - judge - is refusing to sign the decrees of adoptive parents with biological children.)

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 Department of Justice and then also to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the legalization of the adoption related papers. There are several steps that have to happen.- 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.- 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.- Legalization at the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Legalizing the signature of the Minister of Justice. (1 - 2 months)

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 (as I posted before, there are 4 steps). (1 - 12 months - depending if the MOI finds a typo or mistake on the Haitian adoption documents.)

- Approved Dossier is sent back to Immigration from MOI. The Orphanage submits some additional paperwork so that the the passport can get printed. (1 week - 2 months)

9. 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. Consulate in Haiti, Mrs. Nancy McCarthy, 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. (If the family participated in the Adjudication Orphan First Pilot Program, the orphan investigation has already taken place.)

-- Also, if the I-600 was applied for in Haiti at the USCIS office, the entire I-600 approval process and orphan investigation is completed by the Port-au-Prince, Haiti USCIS office. Once the approval is finished, usually when the child's Haitian passport is issued and the orphanage rep has brought the passport to the USCIS office to show the passport to the USCIS personnel in charge of approving the I-600, the approval is given and the file is forwarded to the U.S. Consulate.

10. The Orphanage submits the Visa Application with copies of certain documents to the U.S. Consulate. Mrs. Nancy McCarthy at the U.S. Consulate reviews the completed dossier before approving the visa.

-- 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.

11. The adoptive child has his/her appointment in Haiti to receive the visa.

12. Get on the plane and go HOME with your child!


Tim & Sarah said...

I cannot wat to get on that plane with my child. We are currently in IBESR, as of 1 1/2 ago!!!

The Haiti Lady said...

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. (1 month - 2 months)

As you said above, one thing I have found is that once the paper is attached they are then questioning the validity of the acutal archival document...found this out myself last week x 2...

dreamingBIGdreams said...

This is great information.


We are currently waiting in IBESR (9 weeks now)



Hi, My name is vanessa Bonner. I was adopted from Haiti in 2001. the family that adopted me abused me and beat me and i am no longer in contact with them, i just find out they never filled out the I-600 so i was wondering if you know how i can get a copy of the Dossier to me here in the United states. Thank you!