We won. Simple as that. God is good!!
Margarette and I head over to IBESR, where we will spend the whole day doing what a Haitian facilitator does – waiting. We’ve been promised a letter for a special case in which the Mayor of the town where a little boy was found abandoned signed a relinquishment authorizing a child for either simple or plenary adoption. Apparently USCIS in Haiti is having some trouble with the meaning of the word, “or”. This is one of those situation that gives me ulcers.
I leave Margarette downstairs and go upstairs to explain to an IBESR staffer that Haiti does not have to issue an official letter to DOS for Hague cases before they issue the referral to the adoptive family. That is backwards. They need to issue the letter after the family has accepted the referral. I am absolutely, positively certain that this message has been conveyed repeatedly to IBESR because I know the person at DOS who conveys it, and she is a plain speaker. Maybe Kreyol will work better than French, so I give it a shot and ask her to please, please release the referral letter for one of my families adopting teenage boys already. We’ll see if my explanation did any good.
Back downstairs where at last I catch a glimpse of the elusive Me. Andolphe Guillaume, principal legal counsel to IBESR. Naturally, he comes in while Margarette has stepped out to talk to someone else. I’m on my own and praying with all my might that it is not my lousy Kreyol and desperate hopefulness that make it sound like he is repeating all of my own legal arguments back to me as he explains that plenary means plenary, that a judge has the discretionary right to name a Haitian child however he wishes (including making her original Haitian surname her new middle name) and that everything I dared hoped for is going to happen.
A bi-lingual colleague helps me out as I make him repeat everything as if speaking to a very stupid small child. I can’t afford not to understand fully what he is saying. Our government personnel heard this news yesterday, but they are absolutely forbidden to tell me, person to person, what the outcome of their meeting was. It wouldn’t be fair, and the US Government releases critical information in memos examined and approved by committee. IBESR is less formal, and that is why I can tell you today that if your child has a plenary relinquishment, all is probably going to be okay. Hallelujah!!!
Margarette and I wait out the whole day, and six hours later we leave clutching the lever we’ll use to open the door for every other child – a legal opinion from Me. Guillaume explaining why a plenary adoption is a plenary adoption. And also an explanation of what the word “or” means.
I just might sleep tonight, and I hope all of you who waited and suffered will too.