What is a “pilot program” and when did America World start a program in Haiti?
The term “Pilot” is our way of distinguishing that this is a new program and there are uncertainties about the process that we are currently working through. The Haiti program opened in September 2011 after AW staff visited several potential orphanage partners in Haiti and met with government and law officials. We are honored to work with several partner orphanages in the Port-au-Prince area that have been processing adoptions for over 10 years and are committed to working with agencies to bring more children home.
What is the timeline for an adoption from Haiti?
The adoption process timelines are subject to vary per family and to change as the family moves through each stage of their adoption process. The total timeframe it will take each family to complete their adoption will depend on the following:Family Document Collecting- the average document collecting or “paper-chasing” takes 4-6 months, though some families may take longer. Referral Wait Time: Once your home study is completed and your family is approved to review or accept a referral, the wait time for when you will receive a referral to review depends on if there is a child in one of our orphanage partners waiting for a home, or if you join a list of families who are waiting for a referral that is not currently in an orphanage. Many times there are toddlers or older children waiting for families, but there may be several families waiting for an infant under the age of one year. A Family Coordinator can discuss these wait time dynamics over the phone or email in more depth. It is possible for a family to be matched with a referral within 6 months of their completed home study, depending on the family’s referral requests and the referrals available for adoption at the time of that request. Approval Wait Time: Your dossier and the child’s referral will wait in line in the Haitian government “IBESR” and will need the necessary approvals to move through the process to then later receive approval by the court and U.S. embassy. Families who need a presidential waiver must keep in mind this is an additional approval process and will add time to the overall processing timeframe.
What is a Presidential Waiver of Ineligibility?
The Presidential Waiver of Ineligibility is a special consideration for families that do not meet the requirements set forth by the Haitian Adoption Law (i.e. length of marriage, parents’ age and number of children in the home). This waiver is applied for and submitted along with your dossier to the IBESR, the Haitian Adoption Authority. This document requires your dossier to obtain an additional signature before it is approved by the IBESR.
Do both parents have to be American citizens?
No, both parents do not have to be American citizens, but at least one must be. If neither parent is a citizen of the US, they are not permitted to adopt through US agencies, but they may want to look into the countries where they have citizenship to see if they have agencies that work in Haiti.
Can American citizens who live abroad adopt through America World?
Yes. We will work with these families on a case by case basis.
Are single women allowed to adopt from Haiti?
Yes, single women are allowed to adopt from Haiti. There must be a minimum of 15 years between the adoptive parent and child.
What is the age range of children that are available?
The ages of children available range from infants to teenagers. Families should contact a Family Coordinator to learn more about the children currently waiting for families and for other estimates of referral wait times.
What is the Waiting Children Program?
America World strongly believes in advocating for waiting children and is privileged to assist hundreds of waiting children to be united to their forever family each year. A “waiting child” is a child who has been determined to be adoptable and has the necessary paperwork to be adopted; however there is no family that has accepted their referral. They may be waiting due to their age, health status, or just a lack of families eligible or interested in their adoption. In the Haiti orphanage partnerships, many of these children are healthy toddlers or older children, or sibling sets. Please contact a Family Coordinator for more information about the application approval and referral review process.
Are families permitted to adopt more than one child or sibling groups?
Sibling groups of all ages and number of children are available in Haiti. Unrelated children may also be adopted on a case by case basis.
Why do families abandon their children?
Some of the children in orphanages in Haiti are true orphans in that they have lost both of their parents to death. Others are abandoned because of poverty, parental abandonment and neglect.
How much information is available about the birth parents?
The amount of information available about the child’s birth parents varies depending on circumstance. Often times, little information is available. You will be provided with all the information available from the orphanage at the time of referral.
Are the children healthy?
Yes, the children are generally healthy, but may have easily treated illnesses. There is no guarantee that a medical condition might not come up later, as could be the case with a biological child. Children in the orphanages are seen by a medical doctor before referrals are given to families and are tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and TB.
How are travel arrangements handled?
America World staff will arrange for your travel, accommodations, in-country transportation and translators while you are in Haiti. While traveling to a foreign country poses risks, America World uses transportation and guides that we have used ourselves during staff trips to Haiti.
Do both parents have to travel?
Yes, both parents have to travel on the first trip to meet the child. America World staff and orphanage staff strongly encourage both parents to travel for the second trip and court appearance.
How soon after I accept my referral can I go to Haiti?
Families have the option of visiting their child at their orphanage while waiting on the appropriate government approval and trips will be arranged on a case by case basis with orphanage approval. The child must stay in orphanage care until all adoption approvals have been completed.
What does a typical adoption trip look like?
There are two official adoption trips. Each trip is 2-5 days and will vary in types of adoption appointments and paperwork to complete. You will arrive at and depart from Port-au-Prince, the capital city, and stay in that local area. There will be some optional sightseeing as time allows.