Pre-Identified Adoptions

All Blessings International receives frequent requests from families seeking to adopt pre-identified children – children that they have either met in Haiti or heard about from friends or family who have visited Haiti. A pre-identified adoption is one where a prospective adoptive parent ("PAP") begins the process with the adoption of a specific child or children in mind and they are not biologically related to that child or children.  In almost all cases, non-familial pre-identified adoptions are forbidden.
Here follows our understanding of how pre-identified child adoptions will be managed. This is not to be constituted as legal advice or as official instructions or sanction from IBESR – it is simply our evaluation of the written and verbal information given to our staff members and colleagues in Haiti. It is possible that the following information could be inaccurate, or that the procedure or policies may change at any time in the future without notice.
Pre-identified adoptions will be allowed in very rare and specific instances, and each case must be presented individually to IBESR for consideration. The new IBESR policies describe how a child may become eligible for adoption and what kinds of adoption are permitted.

An excerpt from Title Three, Section Two of the new IBESR policies can be translated as follows:

30. Is and remains forbidden:
  1. Private adoption;
  2. Individual and / or independent adoption;
  3. That the biological parents or legal guardians of the child decide expressly who will adopt their child, except when it comes to adoption of the child of a spouse, of an inter family adoption and in the case where the foster family who had previously welcomed the child wishes to adopt him, or if a member of a sibling group has already been adopted;
  4. That the prospective adoptive parents have contact with the biological parents of the child or any other person that may influence the consent of the authorized person, unless the adoption takes place between members of the same family;
On a practical level, we interpret these policies to mean the following situations are strictly forbidden by law:
  • An American family doing work in Haiti befriends a Haitian family, and they decide to pursue an adoption of the child(ren) of that Haitian family.
  • An American family doing work in Haiti befriends a Haitian family, and they encourage friends or family to pursue an adoption of the child(ren) of that Haitian family.
  • A Haitian family relinquishes children to a crèche with the express intent of a specific American family adopting those children (unless siblings of the child are already in the care or custody of that adoptive family).
As a generalization, if a prospective adoptive parent has met or been told about a child who is or was in the custody of his biological family at the time that the PAP met or heard about the child, and the child has not since been orphaned, such an adoption is not permissible.

Another common situation is for a PAP to meet a child already residing in an orphanage and wishes to adopt that particular child. IBESR does not approve of such pre-identified adoptions. They are likely to be approved only under extreme circumstances, such as the prospective adoptive parents having spent extensive time in Haiti and the child having serious special needs.

Adoptive families residing in Haiti who have had a child placed with them by IBESR may request to adopt that child should he be found legally free for adoption.

Again, our interpretation is just that – our interpretation. It is not to be considered a substitute for legal advice or directives from IBESR. It is simply how ABI is addressing requests from families seeking to pursue an adoption of a pre-identified child.

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