Thought I would give some random updates here today! Sorry the Adoption News is so long! Warning there is a lot of ! marks in my blog today because I’m passionate about these things!!! LOL
The container of food and orphanage supplies was packed on Monday is now on it’s way to Haiti! It was an all day effort and thankfully a lot of volunteers and staff were in Colorado getting it all sorted and packed so that every available inch of that container is full! It left by semi-truck and then was put on a train for the port of Houston where it would be put on a boat. The boat will go through the Gulf of Mexico and around the tip of Florida and across the Atlantic to Port-au-Prince, Haiti! What a trip!
We received $6475 toward donations to help with the transportation and custom fees here in Haiti. We figured it costs about $5 per mile to get a container to Haiti and out of customs. We have applied for a franchise which will allow us to receive donations without having to pay a tax but the Haitian government has not given us this special status yet. We hope to have it before the next container will be sent.
We have enough funds to send the container to Haiti but not quite enough to get it out of customs and pay the customs fees. If you are still thinking of helping with this expense, please send a donation soon!
I told everyone about 12 families whose children would sit home this year if we could not find sponsors for them. I needed 12 sponsors so that at least 1 child out of each family could attend school. We have almost 80 children this year that were not sponsored for various reasons but these 12 families have been been sponsored for many years and this year their sponsors had to stop for one reason or another.
I wanted to update you that since I sent out a plea yesterday that we have had 6 more sponsors sign up and we now have 8 sponsors for these families! We just need 4 more sponsors so that these families can at least send one of their children to school this year! I know that is not the ideal thing and nothing must be more difficult than to have 3 children and only be able to send one to school, but unfortunately that is the reality here in Haiti.
We need to pray that next year maybe we can apply for a grant or find a group who will sponsor some of the children for the year. Times are tough for everyone and finding sponsors is getting harder every year. But it breaks my heart to see these children not attending school, sitting at home, and forgetting things that they learned the year before!
It has been awhile since I have given any adoption news. This mainly because there are rumors on top of rumors and on top of more rumors! We are told things by the main lawyer from IBESR and then I get emails from other orphanages and foreign agencies telling me that is not what they were told by their directors in Haiti just the day before, so I decided to wait and when something is published then I will report it! So sometimes what I will actually blog about might be old news to some of you, because I waited for confirmation before blogging about it!
Here is some news that came out of a meeting between the Joint Council Haiti Caucus Meeting and IBESR:
1. The procedure for declaring a child adoptable will remain the same at IBESR. The birth parents or guardian of the child must go to IBESR for multiple meetings to be sure they understand adoption and that they are making an informed consent about giving their child for adoption. They will make a total of 3 or 4 trips to IBESR before the process is finished.
2. The family will also need to appear in front of the Children’s Judge where they will sign away their parental rights and from that point forward they cannot return and ask for the children to be returned to them.
3. IBESR once they have had their meetings with the family and written their reports, they must prepare the dossier of the child for the court. They call the creche to come and get the dossier and we must take it to the court clerk. The court staff will work on getting the document typed that needs to be signed by the birth parents or guardian and then they call the creche again to bring the birth parents to the courts to sign the document in front of the judge. It is a detailed and time consuming process but once it’s finished, we can have confidence that the birth family understands what it is doing by giving the child for adoption.
4. We know nothing yet about what the US Consulate will do for the birth parent interviews which they still require during the adoption process. I am really hoping that after all of the above process, that the US Immigration staff will accept the final judgement of the court that declares the parents rights are voided. If they require the birth parents to come at the end of the process to the US Consulate and give their approval for the adoption, then it confuses the birth parents about their rights toward that child and the Haitian judicial system. It will be interesting to see what happens with this.
5. IBESR will be doing the matching of all children. Supposedly the creche will be involved, but nobody knows quite how at this time.
6. A Multi-disciplinary team at IBESR will be utilized in the matching process, but this team is not formed yet and they hope to plan the goals and functions of the team by early 2015.
7. Beginning with dossiers accepted after 1 October 2014, it was confirmed that an adoptive family may receive a referral from any of the creches that are accredited by IBESR. Once a family is matched, the adoption agency’s representative in Haiti will be contacted and it’s the reps responsibility to be in contact with the creche pertaining to the referred child.
8. IBESR is currently working on the backlog of submitted dossiers, with the intention of working on the dossiers submitted longest ago first.
9. A family and its agency will be able to submit a letter of intent to IBESR indicating their desire and appropriateness to adopt a child with special placement needs. This letter will be approved or denied by IBESR, and if approved, the family will be allowed to submit their dossier for that particular child.
10. The fees given to a creche to care for the children is being reduced by a couple thousands of dollars. IBESR has told us that we are to raise funds to care for these children by other means. We personally think an adoptive family must be responsible for the care of their child during the adoption process. We do not want to compromise the care of any of the children in the creche. We want the same education, medical care, social worker review, amount of staff, food, that they receive now.
Each creche will receive the same amount of funds for child care. It does not matter if they are lacking in staff, food, education or medical care, they will get the same as other creches who do provide good education and medical care for their children. We personally do not think this is fair to the children. There are Haitian orphanages who have no way to raise funds outside of Haiti. Even for GLA raising funds is difficult and depends on so many factors in the economy. We are hurting financially right now because there haven’t been any adoption matches for GLA since December 2013! That is a long time and the matches help provide food and care for all of the children not just the ones that are matched!
With these changes, we must pray for God to show us our role in Haitian adoptions. I will not sacrifice any child’s care because IBESR has decided a child in an orphanage only needs so much money each month for food, medicine, schooling, baby formula, nursing care, diapers, etc. It would help if the IBESR staff who made these fee decisions had ever been to the different creches and saw the quality of care provided and asked to see our budgets! Then they could decide a fair fee to give us, but they have not been here.
Please keep all of the creches and children in your prayers. We will see less and less children adopted out of Haiti and there will be some that die waiting for a family. I agree with all of the articles about economical orphans but unfortunately I’ve seen severely malnourished “economical” orphans on the point of death whose parents just could not care for the child even with a little help! To save the life of those children, yes, I believe adoption is a better option than long term orphanage care in Haiti! I agree there are some children that need to go back home with their parents and thankfully, the new IBESR process will weed some of these children out of the creche and return them back to the parents.
I have talked to many directors of creches who have said they will close their doors to adoptions before they allow blind matching of their children and not have a say in which adoptive family or agency that takes their children. Some have said they will have to close their doors due to lack of funds. Others say they just see more and more confusion and delays at IBESR.
For me, I’m just sitting waiting and watching and praying for God to have his hand in this process and show GLA what we are supposed to do. If at any point we see children being hurt by the process then our decision will be made for us. That is one thing I will not accept…rules before what is good for the child!