On June 11th, 2012, Haiti ratified the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. At this time we do not know the date that Haiti will deposit the instrument of ratification to the Hague Permanent Bureau and we do not know whether the Hague Permanent Bureau will accept the ratification. Ninety days after the instrument is delivered, if the Hague Permanent Bureau accepts their packet, Haiti will become a Hague country. We have been advised that it is possible that Haiti may hold off for a considerable period of time in depositing their ratification. There are still many unknowns at this point and a clear timeline of how this will unfold is impossible to foretell.
At this time the future effects of these changes for U.S. Citizens adopting from Haiti are unclear. An ABI representative has been told that Haiti is in favor of continuing international adoptions and has no intention of closing the adoption program. The current administration of IBESR looks forward to creating a better regulated system, with improved protections in place for Haitian biological families and children being placed for adoption. IBESR made the decision to temporarily stop accepting new adoption dossiers until August 1, 2012, making clear their intention to clear out their backlog of cases and to allow IBESR administration the time to implement new policies that would strengthen their system.
It is also unknown how the U.S. Department of State might react to Haiti’s ratification. Historically, even if the Department of State determines that a new Hague nation is not following the convention and therefore closes adoptions from that nation to U.S. Citizens, families in process – those who had filed a form I600-A – were allowed to complete their adoptions.
The Hague Permanent Bureau in their published Guidebook to Good Practices advocates gradual implementation and outlines recommended steps for this process that developing countries should take to strengthen international adoption practice but not prohibit the opportunity that intercountry adoption affords to many children in need. Many countries have prematurely deposited their articles of ratification and/or implemented the Hague Treaty tenets in such a way that what was intended for child protection becomes a weapon against them. We certainly hold out great hope that Haiti may hold off on depositing their ratification until sufficient law changes have been passed in Haiti and until their social welfare system has developed the resources to accommodate a system of protection that is actually reasonable, practical and able to be implemented.
We believe this presents a unique opportunity for the poorest country in the western hemisphere to serve as a valuable model for the best way to implement Hague. We ask that all pray continuously for the Haitian leadership involved to have wisdom and discernment as they move forward.
At this time, Haitian adoptions remain open and a legal option for U.S. Citizens. ABI advises all families considering a Haitian adoption to proceed with caution as we continue to investigate Haiti’s accession to the Hague Convention and what it might mean for future adoptions from Haiti for U.S. Citizens. Families must be accepting of the risks of pursuing an adoption from Haiti. We further advise families to check the Department of State's adoption notices for current information on adoption from Haiti and any publications of Joint Council on International Children's Services regarding Haiti.