Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Happenings at the U.S. Embassy in Haiti...

Currently, approximately 50 children are waiting for their visa appointments in the U.S. Embassy in Haiti. Some have waited as long as five months now for their visa appointments. Adoptive parents are frustrated and anxious to get their adopted children's visas. Unfortunately, in addition of waiting for such a long time, there has been a certain level of unprofessional treatment that families and adoption professionals have received by embassy personnel. This makes it even more difficult in light of the long wait.

Currently, every adoption is scrutinized and the embassy personnel starts examining adoption files with the assumption that all documents are fraudulent and that the adoptions in Haiti are illegal. Working backward from that assumption, basically adoption professionals have to prove the opposite in an unfriendly environment.

Additionally, embassy personnel searches the internet, including blogs and yahoo discussion groups in an attempt to find damaging information regarding adoption professionals, orphanages, etc.

"Witch Hunt" is the term that has been repeatedly used to describe the current visa process.

Today, I read the following article on regarding adoptions in Guatemala and Vietnam.

Please read the article because then it will make more sense to you what is happening in Haiti right now. The visa personnel is basically trying to prove that the same irregularities as in Vietnam are happening in Haiti, with the goal to shut down U.S. adoptions in Haiti.

Here is the specific portion of the Vietnam adoptions discussed that apply to Haiti.

'Serious irregularities' in Vietnam

Similar concerns of corruption recently emerged in Vietnam, where investigators had found "serious adoption irregularities," according to a report by the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi.

Documents had been forged or altered, the embassy said, and some parents were paid, tricked or forced into giving up their children for adoption. In some cases, the embassy said, children were offered for adoption without the knowledge or permission of their parents.

The Vietnamese government has denied the accusations.

Even so, it said in April that it would terminate its adoption agreement with the United States, saying it won't accept applications after July 1. The program is scheduled to end September 1.
Parents in the United States who were matched with an adoptive child in Vietnam before July 1 will be allowed to adopt that child. Prospective parents who had invested time and money, but had not been matched with an adoptive child, appear to be out of luck.

Private adoption agencies insist that nearly all adoptions from Vietnam are problem-free, and they want the adoptions to continue.

"It's hard to let go, because we know we can advocate for these children and make a real difference," said Linda Brownlee, executive director of the nonprofit Adoption Center of Washington, which places children for adoption from Russia, China, Cambodia and Vietnam.

She hopes the United States and Vietnam reach an agreement so that adoptions can continue.
"Without it, I think children are going to be harmed. They are going to die needlessly, and there is going to be trafficking," Brownlee said.

If the U.S. government follows the same path in Haiti as they are doing in Vietnam, then children will die needlessly in Haiti as well. Also, child trafficking for domestic slavery and sexual exploitation will even become worse.


Anonymous said...

Why are they doing this? Because Haitians are considered undesirable by these U.S. officials? Do you think that all of this is coming to pass due to a few individuals in the U.S. embassy who have an agenda? My experience has been that the Canadian/Quebec officials bend over backwards to help - if I could only get my waiting child's Haitian passport.

The Haiti Lady said...

It infiriates me that they do this. I know for FACT the life path my 4 Haitian children would have had if they had not been adopted...what a waste.
Love ya,

Anonymous said...

What is most frustrating to me is that there doesn't seem to be any research to support the allegations made. If you look at it from an objective viewpoint, you must use data to back up your position. In all the things put out by the media, there are not statistics used or studies cited. The only type are ones that don't really prove anything other than that US families are adopting foreign children. Whomever is putting out this data should be asked to provide a number of children who are almost or have been unethically/illegally adopted into the US. What percentage are we talking about? While I don't want any child or parent to be manipulated and mistreated, the truth is no one can create a system with 0% corruption. And as has already been said, the real child traffickers are not adoptive parents. (While I won't deny there is the ability of agencies/orphanages to manipulate that could really be solved by increased oversight into agencies/orphanages rather than increased scrutiny on the whole process of adoption. Improved oversight of agencies/orphanages would certainly help weed out those agencies that are ethical and doing things legally. Haiti may not have the resources to do that so UNICEF and other aide organizations should step up to the plate and help create a solid system that would ensure the protection of all children in Haiti not just those who are in orphanages.) Common sense says that the majority of people who are the bad guys are not using adoption as a way to traffic children; there's way too much scrutiny. Instead governments/UNICEF should focus on the common placement of restevecs and the underground, out of sight criminal world. Unfortunately, what is being passed on to the public and other government officials is a message that international adoptions are plagued by corruption.

Anonymous said...

Who can we contact or what can we do to have a voice in this?

Anonymous said...

This is pure paranioa. The Haitian gov't is not orginized, period. The don't have the resources (man power and money) to dedicate to 'scrutinizing' documents (the American gov't cannot get it together to provide a USCIS clearance/other adoption doc's in a timely fasion to adoptive why do we think that the Haitian gov't has the ability or orginization to be so 'careful'..and Anericans have more money than Haitian people).

This post places rumor and fear into adoptive parents. Adoptions take a long time. Lots of paper to move from one side of a desk to another, lots of people involved, lots of money that exchanges hands.

If you are posting that the Haitian officials are reading blogs and message boards then why are you writing about their hold ups. In France it can take up to 1 year to get out of IBESR.. Americans have no patients.

Adoptions are hard. Adoptions are unpredictable, no matter where you adopt from.

Anonymous said...

Regarding previous comments left, the original post is not about how long it takes to process a Haitian adoption. It is about the problems that are occurring with getting your child an American visa. No one is suggesting that Haiti currently has the resources to effectively manage a system that would systematically prevent corruption, misuse of power, and abuse. What is being reported is one person's viewpoint regarding the way US immigration officials and, at times, the way US policies, do not serve the best interests of newly adopted children. My child has been legally adopted under Haitian law for over a month. We are at least 3 months away from a homecoming. And 3 months would be a minor miracle. To me, this seems to be a problem, that a child no longer has Haitian parents and instead has American ones but it takes around 3-6 months for him to get the necessary documents to come to America. He should be a US citizen with the same rights afforded my natural born children, but he's not in part due to the scrutiny American officials are placing on all international adoptions, especially those completed in countries who have been deemed centers for corrupt adoptions by the American government.

Anonymous said...

It is crazy. Canada adopted a new law this year that would make all adopted children Canadian citizens as soon as they became the legal children of Canadian parents, therefore avoiding MOI and technically getting a Cdn passport from the embassy in PAP. This is not the case. We are still forced to go through MOI and wait for a Haitian passport because the Haitian officials will not let us bring our kids home on Cdn about screwed up.

Anonymous said...

I noticed that many adoptive families made their blogs private shortly after this post was made. My question is- Is that fear warranted? Should we all be guarding our blogs?

I am hesitant to do that because I've met some wonderful people via our adoption blog. In fact, our interest in Haitian adoption was initially piqued by an anonymous blog comment. Now here we are adopting 2 little Haitians we love like crazy.

What is your opinion regarding the privatization frenzy?