Thursday, October 11, 2012

What Do All These Changes Mean?


In response to many questions regarding the new IBESR deadline of October 31st for the deposition of dossiers under the existing policies, I am going to share some general information as I understand it. Please note that this information does not come from IBESR, Joint Council, or even ABI as an agency: it is simply an explanation of what I have understood from the various meetings I have attended as one of the Haiti Caucus co-chairs for the Joint Council of International Children's Services.
For families who already have an IBESR file number, or receive an IBESR file number prior to 10/31/2012: cases are in no way affected by the upcoming policy changes. They will continue through the process exactly as cases have done in the past.

Following the implementation of the new IBESR policies:
  • ‘Independent’ adoptions will no longer be permitted. All adoptive families must be represented by a Hague accredited agency that has been licensed by IBESR to perform adoptions in Haiti
    • IBESR has not announced which U.S. agencies it will choose to license to work in Haiti. IBESR has stated that the choices will be announced ‘soon’. No specific date was given. In June, Mme. Villedrouin told me that she intended to choose four or five U.S. agencies
  • Pre-identified child adoptions will be considered on a case-by-case basis. This information was delivered to Diana Boni second hand but by a reliable source following her meeting with IBESR.
  • All children must be pre-approved for adoption by IBESR following an interview with the biological relatives, if any.
  • IBESR will examine adoptive families’ dossiers and approve them prior to the crèche being allowed to suggest a referral.
  • As we currently do, crèches/agencies will present IBESR with a suggested match of child and adoptive family, which IBESR may approve or deny.
  • Agencies may not present referrals to families until the match has been evaluated and approved by IBESR officials.
What about the pending new adoption law?
During the IBESR meeting on the 25th of September, IBESR announced that the bill should be put before the Senate for a vote sometime this month, and that the new law should be Hague compliant. It remains to be seen if this will occur, and when the new law will come into effect. In the draft issued May 6th, 2010, the following were included in criteria for adoptive families:
  • Single women age 35 and over, with no biological children.
  • Single men age 35 and over, divorced or widowed, with no biological children.
  • Heterosexual couples married five years or more or where one partner is over age 30.
  • Cohabitating, opposite sex couples must have been together for at least ten years.
  • There is no limitation on the number of biological children a family may have.
  • Married or cohabitating adoptive parents cannot be over age 50, except in the cases of intra-familial adoption. (In the version we have, there is still no age limit for a single adoptive parent!)
We do not know exactly what the version that is passed will dictate regarding criteria for adoptive parents.

Hague Ratification:
I returned from the IBESR meeting filled with hope about Haiti’s future under the Hague convention. The government of Haiti is now well aware that their current law is not Hague compliant. A committee is working to ensure that the new law is fully Hague compliant. The bill ratifying the Hague Convention is on President Martelly’s desk awaiting his signature to become law. President Martelly is fully aware that Haiti is not yet Hague compliant and aware of what premature ratification could mean.


For Families Considering Haitian Adoption:
ABI is addressing new PAPs as follows:
  • We are still accepting applications for our Haiti program. However, all new families are being warned repeatedly that we are NOT accredited to work in Haiti. It is possible that we will not be chosen. If that is the case, families understand that we will assist them in completing their dossiers and participate in transferring to an agency which did win accreditation.
  • We are advising all families to read the criteria of the current and the new law. We are not accepting families that do not legally qualify for adoption under the existing Haitian law. ABI believes it is unethical to accept any money whatsoever from a family that does not legally qualify to adopt at the time of application.
    • We are warning families with a parent over age fifty that choosing to pursue a Haitian adoption at this time is very high risk, as their dossier could be rejected should the new law actually pass soon.
  • We are not accepting applications of families seeking to adopt pre-identified children at this time. It will be necessary to discuss such cases individually with IBESR, and as we do not know that we will be accredited, it would be unethical to offer services to a family (in this case, lobbying for their case with the Haitian Government) that we do not know that we can deliver.
    • We are advising families seeking to adopt pre-identified children to wait until IBESR announces which agencies are accredited, and proceed with an approved agency at that time.
I hope this information is helpful for those of you at the beginning of the process, or still making a decision regarding adoption from Haiti.  It is my belief that the upcoming changes are highly positive and will help in protecting the rights and safety of Haitian children and their birth relatives, as well as the hearts and finances of adoptive families.


3 comments:

  1. Thank you Diana, Very informative and exactly what my wife and I were looking for to break down the current situation in Haiti. I am hopeful that you guys will be selected and then I will be in contact with you regarding adoption of a little one from Haiti. God Bless you and the work that you are doing in Haiti.

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  2. Any idea if IBESR actually opened and is now proceeding under the new law?
    Thank you,
    Naomi

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  3. IBESR is indeed open, and cases submitted prior to the deadline are being processed. However, as no OAAs have yet been approved, and no new cases can be submitted until they are properly licensed.

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