Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Haitian Children in the Process of Adoption

The Department of Homeland Security (Citizenship & Immigration Services) and Department of State have announced that Haitian children in the process of adoption will be granted immigration visas or humanitarian parole to the U.S. Those eligible:

Category 1
Children who have been legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by the Government of Haiti, were in the process of being adopted by Americans prior to Jan. 12, 2010 and meet the below criteria.

Required Criteria
Evidence of availability for adoption, which MUST include at least one of the following:

Full and final Haitian adoption decree

Government of Haiti Custody grant to prospective adoptive parents for emigration and adoption

* * *

Category 2
Children who have been identified by an adoption service provider or facilitator as eligible for intercountry adoption, were matched to prospective American adoptive parents prior to Jan. 12, 2010 and meet the below criteria.

Required Criteria
Significant evidence of a relationship between the prospective adoptive parents and the child AND of the parents’ intention to complete the adoption, which could include the following:

Proof of travel by the prospective adoptive parents to Haiti to visit the child

Photos of the child and prospective adoptive parents together

An Adoption Service Provider “Acceptance of Referral” letter signed by the prospective adoptive parents

Documentary evidence that the prospective adoptive parents initiated the adoption process prior to Jan. 12, 2010 with intent to adopt the child . . . .

Evidence of the child’s availability for adoption, which could include the following:

IBESR (Haitian Adoption Authority) approval

Documentation of legal relinquishment or award of custody to the Haitian orphanage

The departments have struck a line that is likely to make many unhappy. This is no Operation Pierre Pan where all orphans are scooped up for airlift to the U.S.. Only children whose orphan status has already been fairly well established, and who likely already have some relationship with the adoptive parents, are eligible. But is also not free from the potential for fraud, since much relies on the complete honesty of the fractured, overtaxed Haitian government and adoption agencies who, for good or ill, are strongly motivated to get Haitian children regardless of orphan status out of the country.

Still, this seems like a supportable middle ground, especially for children in Category 1, and some in Category 2. Category 1 children seem to have a legal right to enter, just like any other Haitian children with relatives in the U.S. CIS is already expediting relative petitions for children in the quake area. I'm also less troubled about bringing Category 2 children who already know their prospective adoptive parents to the U.S. -- at least there is that basic familiarity with their new caregivers that might help to offset the trauma of already traumatized children being removed from everything familiar.

My fervent prayer is that the U.S. with grant humanitarian parole to entire families from Haiti if they can be better cared for out of the country. We mived whole families from New Orleans after Katrina, recognizing the value of keeping families together. I hope we can do the same for Haitian families. All the children of Haiti are suffering, whether orphaned or not. Let's do our best to support all Haitians in this time of crisis.

1 comment:

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

I think that the process is a good one and the criteria is sound. I was so concerned for parents and children who had already waited so long to be together, and with the disaster it seemed like the adoptions might never finalize. So happy to see there is movement!