Photo from Crossing Borders Project
Jeff and I decided to adopt a child from Haiti last fall. We had completed our homestudy and most of our dossier for Ethiopia and we knew that we wanted to adopt not just one child internationally but two. Originally, we wanted to adopt a second child from China but we found the wait to be almost unbearable. (The wait as of last fall was 7 years and counting.) We were given a tip by a friend that our adoption agency, America World (AWAA), would soon be adopting children out of Haiti, so we joined that “pilot’ program in hopes of bringing home a child sooner than if we would’ve if we stayed with China. Jeff and I were eager to get the ball rolling for our second child, so we started the paperwork process with Haiti.
As recently as this past April, we were told by our Haiti coordinator at AWAA that she had our referral. (In adoption lingo, a referral is basically your child.) In fact, in a phone conversation with our coordinator, she said she had our referral’s information in a folder on her desk. We were so excited to know that our child in Haiti was already born. And yet, our coordinator could not give us any photos, medical information, etc on our referral due to the fact that she was waiting on official paperwork from Haiti. That was March. It is now June. We still have not received our referral’s information.
This is common with Haiti. Haiti is a country that marches to the beat of her own drum. And that goes for adoptions too. I am a person that likes structure and order. I’m not a fan of chaos and I’m especially not a fan of unknowns. So when Jeff and I decided to adopt in Haiti, we knew that we would have to be okay with the fact that there was no structure. In a way, I was relieved by this because it reminded me that God is bigger than chaos and ultimately, He is in control.
Well – this past Monday, Haiti made a monumental step towards creating order for international adoptions. Monday, June 11th, Haiti ratified the Hague convention. What does that mean? For the little that I know, this means that Haiti is now going to revamp their entire adoption process to make sure that it aligns with the Hague Convention. (The Hague Convention is created to insure that there is no child trafficking and that all orphans are indeed orphans.)
On Tuesday, we received an email from our adoption coordinator regarding Haiti’s changes. Below is a small snippet of the email she sent us:
So how does this affect you? We will have to wait (and pray) to see how the Haitian government and the IBESR handle the changes that come with becoming compliant with the Hague convention rules and regulations.
So in a nutshell, Haiti is in the midst of becoming compliant with the Hague Convention and everything is in limbo now. I’ve done a lot of research on other countries who have become Hague compliant and from what I’ve seen, families who already have their dossier submitted are “grandfathered in” and can continue with their adoption. Families without submitted dossiers, however, have to wait until the country makes all the changes to become Hague compliant.
Jeff and I have most of the components ready to submit our dossier, but with the Hague Convention being ratified, it puts us in serious limbo.
We are torn. On one hand, we have been told that our child is alive and ready to be “assigned to us.” And yet, on the other hand, if we do go forward with pursuing our Haitian adoption, it may take many more years than we had anticipated, or worse, the Haitian government could just shut down our adoption indefinitely.
In the end, Haiti’s steps to become complaint with the Hague Convention is a GOOD thing. They need steps to follow for international adoptions to prevent corruption and child trafficking. For us, however, it’s another hurdle in the process of bringing home our child. The good news is that both our future and our child’s future are in the loving hands of a heavenly Father who knows our every thought, every anxiety, every fear, and has promised that He will never leave or forsake us. For now, we rest in that promise and look forward to see how He will work it all out in His own timing.