Monday, November 17, 2008

Sorry...been away from the computer...

Sorry, I had been away from a computer for a while...but I promise to post updates.

IBESR - files are being signed out. I have received lots of emails during my absence that were in regards to files being stuck in IBESR for months. Please keep in mind that 8 months had been an average wait time in the past. Things did start to go faster for a while, but things go in cycles in Haiti. Some offices/departments will work faster for some time, then slow down again, etc.

U.S. Immigration/Consulate - Adoption visas continue to be denied. It breaks my heart because many of the children's visas that have been denied would have been approved just one year ago.

As many of you know, the U.S. became in Hague country in April 2008. Since that time, the U.S. Department of State has become the official adoption authority for the U.S. It is also the U.S. Department of State that staffs the personnel who are the visa approving personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

In preparation to becoming a Hague Country and since April 2008, it has become more difficult for adopted children to obtain a visa to enter the U.S. to live with their adoptive parents. There is a general fear of the U.S. government that children adopted from non-Hague countries (such as Haiti) might have been "stolen" or obtained under questionable circumstances.

Also, there is an opinion that some adoption related documents are fraudulent and/or that adoptions were processed under fraudulent means.

Thus, there is heavy scrutiny regarding adoption related visas. Add to that, that the U.S. Embassy personnel in charge of processing the adoption related visas is still only working part-time on adoption visas.

For example, most recently a child's visa was denied under the following circumstances. When the child was relinquished to the orphanage, both mother and father were living. However, the mother died while the child was being adopted, so that only left a living father. When the child was ready to obtain a visa to join the adoptive family, a DNA test was requested and it turns out that the father was not the biological father! Nobody knows who the "real" father could possibly be. The mother is dead, so nobody can ask her. --- The child who now has no mother and no father is stuck in Haiti and cannot join the adoptive family.

Another example... the U.S. Embassy personnel show up at the orphanage unannounced to see a child who has an adoption visa application filed. The orphanage director is not there and the security guard won't let the officials into the orphanage. The director, contacted via telephone, asks for the officials to come back when she is there. The officials do not come back. During the visa interview, the child is asked questions in non-kid friendly language. For example, the child is asked if he/she knows "Madam _____" (the orphanage director's formal name). Of course, the child does not know who that is because he/she only knows "Mama ____"! Result? Visa Denied!

I can keep writing about other examples...

Make sure that if you are adopting a child in Haiti or you are planning to adopt in Haiti, that you work with somebody who is proper in their paperwork, who knows the Haitian adoption law and the U.S. Immigration law rules.


Leslie said...

That is so distressing, Vera. If the I600 was filed in Haiti and approved, could this still happen when they go to apply for the visa?

Anonymous said...

I desespère. I thougt the new IBERS boss would like signe, but every sing get slowly now

Major Mom said...

This makes me sick to my stomach. The need is just so great for these children to join their families.

Greg's Wife said...

This visa denial issue is very upsetting. I am heartbroken for the parents and children who wait years for one another only to have the rug pulled out from under them in the last hour. How unspeakably cruel! The question now is- What can be done about it? Is there someone we can write to about this problem? Do those whose visas are denied have any recourse?

J Benedict said...

Regarding IBESR, are you saying that although files are being signed out, it is moving slower than it was a few months ago? Do you know what the estimated timeframe for new files is?