A few key points in the draft of policies:
- Independent adoptions will in fact no longer be allowed.
- All adoptive parents must be working with an agency approved by the Central Authority of their country of citizenship. In the United States, this means Hague Accredited agencies.
- IBESR must also approve foreign (U.S./Canadian/etc.) adoption agencies to work in Haiti. A limited number of adoption agencies will be approved
- Children must be found eligible for adoption by IBESR prior to commencement of adoption proceedings.
- An IBESR multi-disciplinary committee will meet with any biological family considering relinquishment to consider all possible alternatives for family preservation prior to making an adoption plan.
- It is prohibited for the prospective adoptive parents have contact with child's biological parents or anyone else that could influence the consent of the person authorized or engaged with the institution in the adoption process, unless the adoption is intrafamilial.
- Biological families may not give voluntary consent for adoption proceedings for children under one year of age.
- Minors of either gender are adoptable in the following priority:
- 1) Orphans
- 2) Children with physical disabilities
- 3) Children with developmental disabilities
- 4) Children declared legally abandoned
- 5) Children whose parents have consented to the adoption.
In the personal opinion of this writer, which does not necessarily represent that of All Blessings International or any other group or organization, the new policies represent an enormous leap forward in international adoption policy and children's protection in Haiti. The strong emphasis on children's safety, family preservation, and post-placement supervision are very much in line with the intentions of the Hague Convention.
This policy plus the passage of a new adoption law that designates adoptions as plenary rather than simple may go a long way toward Hague compliance.