Monday, November 17, 2014

Whirlwind Day

My head is spinning from one of the most frenetic days I have ever spent in Haiti!

 In the morning, Margarette and I reported back to the Consulate to discuss a few challenging cases with DOS and USCIS.  USCIS directed me to this notice, of which I had been completely unaware!

 I expressed my concerns regarding security for families adopting from crèches with which we are not familiar that are far enough from Port-au-Prince that families will be staying in unfamiliar lodgings.  It’s something we’ll all have to consider carefully.

 We then proceeded to IBESR to discuss the same challenging cases with Mme. Villedrouin and Me. Paul Cadet, one of the examining attorneys for the PAP bar association.  He’s trying to help a few families with similar difficulties.  Our meeting became rather – er – energetic as Me. Cadet and a lower level IBESR bureaucrat discussed the law versus procedure, but as usual Mme. Villedrouin came through on the side of child welfare and the law.  I believe that our stuck families will exit IBESR at last, after a delay of well over year for most of them.  Hallelujah!  I’m not sure if it was persistence or stubbornness, but I think we’re going to win this round.

 In a second and much less challenging meeting, the Chief Legal Counsel of IBESR conveyed a few important facts.  IBESR will eventually have a database of ‘hard to place’ children.  Agencies will be able to search for and recruit families for these children.  Naturally, IBESR will make the final determination if they will approve any family we might recommend for a particular child.  All children who qualify under the Haitian law as having special needs will qualify for the program.  This will allow far more agency and crèche participation in making suggestions of which families might best serve older children, siblings, and those with medical, psychological, or developmental needs.

 The second important change since the full enforcement of the Hague and the new policies issued this summer is that pre-identified child adoption will be even more strongly discouraged for dossiers submitted to IBESR following October 1, 2014.  Unless it is an intrafamilial adoption or a US family has been living in Haiti for an extended period of time and is connected to a child who is legally free for adoption in that way, pre-identified adoptions will generally not be possible.  A possible exception might be a US family who has an adopted child and then a sibling of that child becomes legally free for adoption.

 It has been an exhausting but productive day, an exhausting but productive trip, and I am ready to go home.  Until next time.

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