“We are looking for families for children, not children for families.”
Haiti Adoption Program
Adoption-Link has partnered with a wonderful organization in Haiti called Foundation de L’Enfant Jesus (FEJ), since 2007 and placed over 50 children. They have two beautiful facilities located near Kenscoff and Lamardelle, Haiti that are home to healthy children and HIV+ children. Many of the children are under 3 years old; however older children and sibling groups are served as well. FEJ is the only orphanage that we partner with, which creates a unique bond between our adoptive families. Many of the children remember one another from their time at FEJ. Adoptive parents often travel together and make lifelong friendships.
Adoption-Link is currently accepting applications from prospective adoptive families interested in adopting from Haiti. However, if you are considering adopting from Haiti, it is important to keep in mind that Adoption-Link and FEJ are dedicated to ethical adoption practices which include ensuring a child’s true orphan status before considering an adoptive placement. As Lucien Duncan of FEJ has stated, “We are looking for families for children, not children for families.”
Hague Adoption Convention
Haiti began the process to implement the Hague Adoption Convention in July of 2012. Since that time, Haiti has made impressive efforts to address the needs of their children and monitor those who serve children. Adoption agencies have been accredited; orphanages have been identified, rated, licensed and some, if applicable, have been closed. The Haitian government has changed their child welfare policy, implemented a new law and established IBESR as the Central Authority. In December 2013, Haiti completed the last steps of the Hague Adoption Convention process. March of 2014 the US State Department conducted an in-person assessment of Haiti’s Hague compliance, and returned with glowing reviews. Haiti became a party to the Hague Adoption Convention on April 1, 2014!
Two trips are required. For adoptive couples, both parents are required to be present. Parents stay at an FEJ facility. Room, board and in-country transportation is provided by FEJ and billed per night.
The first trip is 14 days long. During this trip the parent(s) meets the child they are matched with, files the I600 at the U.S. embassy and completes a bonding assessment with the Haitian Central Authority.
The second trip is 7 days long. The parent(s) attends the Visa appointment, the child transitions into the care of the parent and is brought home to the US.
Additional trips are encouraged, dependent upon availability of the sleeping accommodations at FEJ.
Matching and Process:
The Haitian Central Authority (IBESR) now facilitates matching in Haiti. The Central Authority provides an official match letter to adoptive families. Families will be provided with a photo, social history, developmental or psychological evaluation, and a medical report.
The entire adoption process for our Haiti Program involves the following:
- file preparation and submission into IBESR
- IBESR matching and approval
- Parquet Court and Ministry of the Interior review
- Passport Issuance
- I600 approval
- Visa issuance
Navigating this process requires skill, persistence and a child-focused ethical philosophy—something our program and partnership has proven many times over.
The approximate wait time between completion of the dossier and child’s arrival home is 15-22 months. We do not base timeframes on the time of matching, but rather dossier completion. We are estimating that parents could wait 6-12 months after dossier completion for a match letter from IBESR. We are hopeful that these wait times will decrease once IBESR becomes more efficient and equipped to carry out their duities as a Central Authority. The approximate wait time between the first trip and placement is 9 months.
Family requirements for healthy children include:
- 1. Must be married or provide strong proof of relationship for at least five years. Proof consists of letters from reference and bills showing cohabitation. Adoption-Link does have a 1 year marriage requirement for couples adopting.
- 2. Open to single women between the ages of 35-50.
- 3. For couples, at least one parent must be 30 years of age. The upper age limit for adoptive parents is 50 years of age.
- 4. No criminal convictions permitted
- 5. There are no religious or minimum income requirements, aside from the USCIS guidelines.