The Adoption System in Haiti is a Broken System

There are people at IBESR in Haiti who I truly enjoy sitting down with them and talking about adoptions.  They work hard at their jobs and they want to see the system work.  But unfortunately, these few are outnumbered by those who don't care and who never get out of the office and actually see the children on the streets or in the orphanages.  They do not see the benefits to the child and so take their time matching the children and working on their files.  They lose files of the children every day because they don't have a proper filing system in place.

I may get my hands slapped for giving my opinion here, but I have watched this system for 20 years and truly think the children being adopted are worse off then they were 20 years ago.  Yes, we have less trafficking of children and yes, biological families are more informed about what adoption means for their child, but the children placed for adoption used to stay in an orphanage for 3 months to a year at the longest and now they average 3 years in an orphanage setting and many of them stay longer!

My fastest adoption was in 2001 and took 6 weeks!  Today, we feel blessed if we get a child to their adoptive family in 2 years.  That is just crazy!  It truly should not take that long to declare a child adoptable and then approve their match in IBESR, but unfortunately, it is.

Foreign OAA's or Adoption Agencies, as we call them in the USA, keep sending files of adoptive families to IBESR.  IBESR receives money for each of these dossiers.  Right now, they receive approximately $300 US for each dossier.  We are assuming that there are thousands of dossiers waiting in IBESR for matches.  Maybe, 2,000 to 3,000!  That is a lot of money that has come in to IBESR and very few matches have been made through the adoption office.

There is not enough trained staff in IBESR to keep the files moving along in the system.  We get some proposals and then nothing for months because the staff is working on other things!  We take biological families for interviews and then they do not do interviews for weeks because the staff is working on something else!  They truly need to get this organized.  There is staff there but not enough are trained in adoptions and the process.

If agencies would not send dossiers and funds to IBESR, it might be an incentive to get things organized and running smoother.  If creches and orphanages did not take in any children for adoption for a couple of months, then that might also be an incentive to get the children already in orphanages matched!  We have children who have been here since 2010. That is an awfully long time for a child to wait for an adoptive family!

This is all so difficult because the creches/orphanages and the agencies all need funds to run their programs.  We must feed the children.  But, the broken system must also be fixed and we have to step back and say fix the system before we send you more money! 

Help encourage the creches/orphanages to stand firm and not continue to feed into this broken system of adoption. Support all of the creches/orphanages financially so that adoptions are not the major part of what keeps them running and the children fed.

I do not know what the answer is for the adoption system to improve, but what we are doing now is not the answer.  We were made to believe that adopting the Hague Convention was going to make everything run smoother and be for the benefit of the children.  There were knowledgeable people telling us that this wasn't true and they have turned out to be right.  A child having to sit in an orphanage setting for 5 years or more while there is an adoptive family waiting for them is not okay.  I won't even get started on the US Consulate and USCIS (Immigration) problems that just make adoptions even more difficult.

Please pray for the children, the Haitian Social Service system, IBESR staff, and the orphanages' staff who care for the children.  And let us especially pray that the broken adoption system will be repaired!



8 comments (Add your own)

1. James wrote:
AMEN! We're waiting on our children as well. We have 3 biological daughters who have been waiting for their brothers to come home for quite some time. We've made many trips to visit our children but continue to pray for the day IBESR gets their act in gear. Very hard to explain all of this nonsense to our families and friends as well. Thanks for writing this article.

Tue, October 13, 2015 @ 5:56 PM

2. Jo wrote:
Here is an idea....maybe IBESR Shouldn't be paid the full $300 right away. Maybe $50 when a dossier is logged in, $50 after each birth parent interview, $50 when a referral is used and $100 when a dossier exits! As someone who is currently adopting, I am breathing a huge sigh of relief I am done with Ibesr! Just an idea how it could be implemented.

Tue, October 13, 2015 @ 10:59 PM

3. Oliver wrote:
hi there,

Great comment/ article that - I guess - draws such a clear and understandable picture of the real Situation down there. My wife and I are from Germany and we are waiting for roughly 1.5 years now and literally nothing is moving at all... So frustrating...

Wed, October 14, 2015 @ 10:31 AM

4. Janice wrote:
I spent 2 weeks in Haiti a few days following the earthquake in 2010. It has been my dream to adopt from there, but the process is extremely difficult, you are so right. It has deterred my husband (who is 10 years older than me) because he wants a family asap. I sure wish there was something that could be done to speed up the process, so those precious little ones could be with loving families sooner. Thanks for sharing.

Wed, October 14, 2015 @ 12:01 PM

5. Jessica wrote:
What an eye opener this post is. My husband was adopted from Haiti 28 years ago and when I hear the story of his adoption I think about how much less stressful it is now for families as my husband was practically adopted via bribes. My husband and I are now in the process of adopting from Haiti and are just about to send our dossier to IBESR. Now I do not know what to do. I want to be apart of helping fix the system but I always want my children! I want to be apart of the solution and not feeding into the problem but I want my family all together. My child is waiting and so am I. So torn. What can we do besides pray? I am already praying everyday for my child and now I have more information on what to pray for in order to help the system. But what can we do? What should we do? So hard. you can bet we will be praying about that before we send in our Dossier for sure!

Wed, October 14, 2015 @ 8:28 PM

6. No Name wrote:
The frustration comes when the file clears IBESR (Finally!), then is blocked in court unless bribes are paid! SO SAD!!! We continue to pray too...

Mon, August 22, 2016 @ 1:09 PM

7. Dominique Mardy wrote:
I always wanted to adopt, but it is so hard to find an attorney in Haiti who really knows anything about adoption. It would be a honor to finally be able to start the process as soon as possible.

Sat, August 26, 2017 @ 6:13 AM

8. wrote:
We adopted our childsome years ago and all I can say: Yes the process is stressfull, it is hard, it is annoying BUT it is all worth it and it is the only way to give the children a better life, if a not even life at all - our child was 15 month old and had 5 kgs!
So fastening up the IBESR procedure will be neccessary but until then do not give up for the sake of the children!!

Mon, October 30, 2017 @ 5:14 AM

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