Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pictures of Isaac! Such a blessing!

We have had the best couple weeks getting many updates, pictures and videos of Isaac. It first started with the NBC show Rock Center with Brian Williams who aired a story about a couple's journey to Haiti. Part of that interview was conducted at the creche where Isaac lives. We got to see him on national TV!!!! Then as other parents visit, they are nice enough to take pictures of our kids to share with us. We can't thank the DeMura's enough for spending time with Isaac during their trip. One of my favorite updates from Chad DeMura: "He is a beautiful child! Great eyes and lashes, real lady's man!!" Then this week another adoptive mom, Dominique was able to take some more amazing pictures of Isaac. It is such a blessing to see his face and hear that he is happy.

We also had the opportunity to send laminated pictures to tie to Isaac's crib and a personalized blankie.  I took a picture of Elizabeth and Eric with the items and it was so special to see Isaac holding them the very next week!
Elizabeth and Eric with Isaac's pictures and blankie

The blanket has Isaac's given name Marvens. Then is says "I Love You" in Haitian Creole.

This is Isaac's crib (sorry I can't get this picture to turn for blog)

The first time we have seen a SMILE!!!

We just can't stop looking at him!  As far as an update on our progress.......WE JUST WAIT! There is no predicting how fast or slow each step of the process will go from here.  We just have to focus on raising the extra money we need to travel to Haiti as soon as it's time to go to court. Really looking forward to that trip!

Love, Stacey and Keith

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Why does it take so long????

This is our most asked question!!! I found this adoption process description which helps explain why it takes so long.  There are so many steps and our paperwork has to go through so many hands. Our Dossier entered IBESR on December 28, 2011. Please pray that it moves fast so that Keith and I can make a trip to see Isaac and go to court. (I have also included our adoption timeline on the right side of our blog.)

The Haitian Adoption Process

Haitian adoptions are highly complex and challenging to complete. The many steps listed below must be followed for each and every adoption. Add to their number the extreme difficulty of accomplishing each one: every step must be accomplished in person and by hand.  Most of the offices listed do not have computers. There will be no communications by fax or email or even by official phone calls. Facilitators must visit each office personally to check on the status of each case, and carry it by hand through the traffic of Port-au-Prince to the next stage of the process.

Before an adoption case can be presented to IBESR  the adoption facilitator must gather all of the following documents:
  1. Passport pictures of the child
  2. Birth Certificate
  3. Attestation of signature on Birth Certificate or extract from the National Archives
  4. Legal relinquishment of custody from the biological family to the orphanage from the local judge
  5. Psychological evaluation
  6. Medical evaluation
  7. Laboratory tests
  8. Social history
  9. Proces Verbal (A court process in which the biological family grants the creche the right to place their child with your family specifically for international adoption. Can only be completed after your dossier is in Haiti.)
IBESR and Dispensation
Your dossier can now be submitted to IBESR. If your family does not meet the criteria of the law of 1974, your dossier can be pre-approved for Presidential Dispensation and delivered to the Presidential Palace by IBESR. Dispensations are published in the Haitian legal journal Le Moniteur. Following Dispensation, IBESR will sign off on your dossier and grant an Authorization of Adoption.

Parquet Court
The 'step' we refer to as Parquet court is actually a very complex series of steps and processes involving multiple offices and repeated trips between them.
  1. Attorney addresses a Request for Judgment to the Chief Justice of Parquet Court
  2. Birth parents are interviewed in Parquet Court
  3. Parquet Court signs off on "approval judgement for adoption
  4. Facilitator takes approval to DGI for stamp of authorization
  5. Back to Parquet for enforcement of the approval judgement
  6. Authorization and redaction from the Civil Registrar Officer for legal Adoption Decree
  7. Verification in Parquet of the adoption documents by the Civil Registrar before signing the adoption decree
  8. First Legalization of the Adoption Decree, in Parquet Court
  9. Second Legalization of the Adoption Decree, at the Ministry of Justice
  10. Third Legalization of the Adoption Decree, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  11. Obtain attestation of Adoption Decree from the National Archives
Ministry of the Interior
All international adoption cases are reviewed by the Ministry of Interior. In order to obtain authorization to request a passport, the following documents must be submitted for each child:
  1. Four passport sized pictures
  2. Birth Certificate
  3. Attestation for the Birth Certificate
  4. Extract from the National Archives for the Birth Certificate
  5. Relinquishment
  6. Proces Verbal of adoption
  7. Adoption approval judgement
  8. Adoption Decree
  9. Attestation of the Adoption Decree
  10. Power of Attorney for creche director and/or attorney
  11. Stamp from DGI
  12. Notary letter for the passport
  13. Identification card of facilitator and/or attorney on the case
  14. Biological parents' identification cards
  15. Adoptive parents' MOI form, identification, and passport photos

The Ministry of Interior will grant authorization to submit the dossier to Haitian Immigrations for a passport.

Haitian Immigrations
The facilitator will submit authorization to apply for a passport to Haitian Immigrations. This is generally a quick process - one to two weeks, if all equipment is working properly.

US Immigrations
Parts of the US Immigrations process can occur concurrently with the Haitian process, however USCIS cannot sign off on the case until they have verified the final Adoption Decree and the child's passport. DNA may be requested at any time.

Approximately three to four weeks following completion of all USCIS investigations and adjudication of the I600 for the child, the case will be forwarded to the Department of State for issuance of a Visa. The Department of State also has the right to request DNA testing for birth parent and child. Adoptive parents need not be present for the Visa appointment.

Parents who can prove that they visited their child prior to the issuance of the Adoption Decree by Parquet Court will be issued an IR-3 Visa. Their children will be automatically granted full US Citizenship upon arrival in the US.

Families who did not visit their children prior to the date of the Adoption Decree must file for citizenship for their children. Failure to file for citizenship will leave the child as a legal immigrant and unprotected by the rights of full citizenship. Please refer to the USCIS website for form N-600 and instructions on how to file.

These steps were provided by Margarette Saint Fleur of BRESMA orphanage. All legitimate adoptions facilitators must follow each one of them, and must do so under extremely difficult conditions.

Haitian adoptions take far, far too long. Children wait in orphanages for months and even years while the adoption proceedings drag on. And yet, when we look at the immensely complicated process, we must realize what a miracle it is when each child comes home.

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