God’s Littlest Angels

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!



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