Friday, May 2, 2008

I have received a lot of emails with questions about the adoption process in Haiti. I had posted this post on my "old" blog, but I thought that it might be worthwhile to post it again. Obviously, there are lots of steps to take before your dossier is ready to go to Haiti to start the adoption process there...

Here are the steps:

1. Dossier arrives in Haiti at the orphanage/facilitator or lawyer's office. Adoptive parents should send 1 set of originals and 4 sets of copies of the entire dossier, including the French translations.

2. Any document that had to be authenticated by the Haitian Consulate in your country 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. The social worker interviews the birth parents to not only get the family's history, but to also ensure that the birth parent understands what adoption is. For some cases this step can take a while because some families or mothers live out of the PAP area and travel is always challenging and can take a long time.

For the Psychological report, the child sees a psychologist who conducts different developmental testing with the child.

The Medical Report and Lab Report is basically a standard physical exam and all children are tested for HIV and other illnesses. Most orphanages also test the birth mother for HIV (though that test does not become part of the dossier).

Additionally, the child's birth certificate, parent's death certificate or relinquishment papers are added to the dossier at the time. Also, any birth or death certificates have to have Archive Papers (certification) attached to the document if the certificate is less than one year old. This certificate is called a "half-page" and certifies that the signature on the birth certificate and/or death certificate corresponds with the signature of the official who signed it.

If the birth or death certificate is more than one year old, then a "full-page" Archive has to be applied for at the Archive Office. This office types the information from the registry book onto a full page document. This "full-page" replaces the hand-written birth or death certificate.

Sometimes, obtaining a full-page Archive Document can take a long time. Most recently, the Archive Office has changed its stamp and is also using a computer instead of hand typing the documents. This new stamp is supposed to be "fraud proof". It is yellow in appearance on the paper. It replaced the old blue ink stamp.

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.

Some orphanages use a lawyer to put together the dossier for submission, others use their staff or facilitators to put the IBESR dossiers together. 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. That is where the actual adoption decree is issued.

Additionally, prior to that step, if the child has birth parents, they appear in front of a "Tribunal" - Justice of the Peace - to get counseled what adoption means and once the Justice of the Peace is satisfied that the birth parent is in agreement with the adoption and understands, he issues the "Minute de Graffe" (that is what it has been called, but I know that there is an offical term for it that I do not recall right now).

7. Courts (2nd Legalization) The adoption decree is legalized at Parquet. All the adoption documents are then sent to the Foreign Affairs Ministry for further legalization (legalizing the signatures from the court, etc.)

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 The dossier is picked up by the Lawyer.

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 had been very slow, but it is much faster now. The average wait for the MOI portion is about 4-5 months if there is an "issue" with a document (i.e. a mistake on the document where a new document has to be obtained) but if there is no "issue" with the dossier documents then the wait time is less than 30 days.

The orphanage representative has to come to MOI and provide additional information for a two-page form that has to be filled out and is kept on file at the MOI office.

A lot of information is copied from the dossier documents, but here is a summary of information needed from the adoptive parent:

1) 2 passport photos of each adoptive parent (single adopting parents need 4 photos) and a copy of a government I.D. card
2) Place of residence & telephone number
3) Name of employer, address, & telephone number
4) Profession
5) Religion
6) Social Security Number (or other number for non-U.S. adoptive parents)
7) Marital status
8) Reason for adopting.

Information about the birth parents:

1) Photo copy of the NIF card - they will copy the number onto the form
2) Name, birthdate, and marital status

Information about the adopted child:

1) 2 passport photos
2) Name, birth date, address
3) Health status
4) Schooling information

Inside of MOI, there are 3 steps, a lawyer studies the documents for authenticity and correctness, the "interview form", the approval letter issued to Immigration that a passport can be issued for the child.

The approved dossier is sent back to Immigration from MOI. The Orphanage submits some additional paperwork so that the the passport can get printed.

Process for U.S. Adopted Children:

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. Consulate 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 the U.S. the U.S. Consulate Office is in charge of approving the I-604 ("orphan investigation").

If the I-600 was applied for in Haiti, the USCIS office is in charge of approving the I-604 ("orphan investigation").

Rumors are that the U.S. Consulate is going to be conducting all I-600 approvals and I-604 investigations whether the I-600 was applied for in Haiti or in the U.S.

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

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

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

Process for children adopted by families from the Netherlands: After the file comes from MOI the O. director applies for passport printing. When the passport is printed, the O. director (or a staffmember) goes to the Dutch Consulate to apply for a MVV (Machtiging Voorlopig Verblijf).

For this the passport has to be send to the Dutch Embassy in Santo Domingo (DR). The MVV is a stamp with photo from the child in the passport which proves that the child is allowed to stay in The Netherlands for 3 months.

When the paspport including MVV comes back in PaP, the adoption parents can come to Haiti. The O.director makes an appointment for them at the American Embassy to get a transit visa. As soon as the transit visa is ready parents can leave Haiti with their child.

After arrival in The Netherlands parents have to apply for a permit stay (mostly for 5 years). Within this 5 years they have to start the process for acknowledgement from the Haitian adoption. After this the child will get the Dutch nationality and can get a Dutch passport.

It would be nice to post the visa process for the French and Canadian families - I am familar with their processes, but not familiar enough to post their processes.


french girl said...

"This is the portion in the current process that had been very slow, but it is much faster now. The average wait for the MOI portion is about 4-5 months if there is an "issue" with a document (i.e. a mistake on the document where a new document has to be obtained) but if there is no "issue" with the dossier documents then the wait time is less than 30 days."I am very surprised by these deadlines because in my orphanage there is little or not errors in the files and it is necessary to await 3 months their exit of MOI... said...

The time line not only depends if there is no issue with a document correction. As you state, your orphanage's documents do not have mistakes on them, thus none have to be corrected. Nonetheless, you say that they are taking 3 months.

Are you saying three months from submission to passport issuance or are you saying 3 months in MOI?

Also, orphanage reps have to go to MOI with the proper power of attorney to do the "interview" - complete the two-page form with an MOI worker that has information about the adoptive family, birth family and the child. If you are adopting multiple children, each child has his/her own file and both have to have the forms filled out.

So it depends how often the orphanage rep goes to MOI to get these interviews done. If an orphanage has 30 files in MOI, then it is going to take longer because you can only do a few interviews per day per orphanage. So, if they are allowing 3 interviews per orphanage per day, then it would take 10 days of going to MOI to complete the interviews.

On the other hand, if the orphanage only has 3 files, then the interviews can get done in one day.

Additionally, there have been delays for some files because the orphanage did not have passport photos of the adoptive parents and/or the child.

Anonymous said...

Hello Vera, I do not see any file which left in 30 days and in any orphanages. How that may it be? Thank you for what you do. A French woman