US State Department Recognizes Haiti as Hague Partner

28
Mar

Haiti US Hague PartnerMLJ Adoptions is pleased to report that the United States has officially designated Haiti as a U.S. Hague Partner, even before the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Convention) has gone into force in the country.

As MLJ Adoptions has previously discussed, the Convention will enter into force in Haiti on April 1, 2014. At that time, though we were cautiously optimistic as Haiti and Institut du Bien-Être Social et de Recherches (IBESR) have shown a commitment to Hague compliance standards, we acknowledged that there was some uncertainty surrounding whether Convention adoptions would be permitted between Haiti and the United States following the implementation of the Convention because the U.S. Department of State would need to make the determination that Haiti is Hague compliant.

As hoped, on March 26, 2014, the U.S. Department of State announced that the United States will be able to process Convention intercountry adoptions from Haiti that are initiated on or after the date the Convention enters into force, April 1, 2014. IBESR has also announced a plan for transition cases, agreeing to process cases in which a Form I-600 or I-600A is filed prior to April 1, 2014, provided that matching occurs by April 1, 2016, and no I-600A extension is necessary.

Haiti’s success in achieving what many developing countries have had difficulty in realizing, a seemingly smooth, uninterrupted transition to the Convention, is commendable. Such a transition requires significant preparation and planning and we applaud Haiti’s initiative and diligence. We look forward to seeing the stability and transparency that Hague will bring to international adoptions from Haiti.

MLJ Adoptions, a Hague approved adoption service provider, is approved to work in Haiti and to provide adoption services under the new Hague guidelines. The Haiti Adoption Program is currently one of MLJ Adoption’s pilot programs due to Haiti’s transition to Hague and because Haiti is one of the newer countries that MLJ Adoptions currently serves. There are additional risks associated with a pilot program, such as a higher potential for change within the country program as we continue our efforts to improve the new program.

There are also benefits to working with MLJ Adoptions for your adoption from Haiti. Haiti has implemented new procedures for adoption, including the dossier submission procedure. It is the dossier submission in Haiti that starts the adoption process and wait time for the country to conduct the matching process. Every adoption service provider approved to provide adoption services in Haiti is permitted to submit only one dossier per month. This means that, effectively, only 12 families per year can be registered to adopt.

MLJ Adoptions has limited the Haiti program to 12-18 families and spots currently remain open. Further, because MLJ Adoptions does not have a backlog of dossiers to submit, at this time, we have additional dossiers that we are able to submit on behalf of families. In addition, while the Haiti Adoption Program is new, our Haiti Program Director, Lydia Tarr, has 13 years of experience in international adoption and has brought more than 130 children home to their forever families.

We look forward to continuing to serve the children in need of families in Haiti. If you are interested in adopting from Haiti, please contact us as we are currently accepting applications for a limited number of new families. You may request more information here.

Liane Steffes, JD is an adoption attorney and serves as MLJ Adoptions’ Chief of Staff. Ms. Steffes earned her Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, from Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and was admitted to the Indiana Bar in 2013. She is thankful for the opportunity to serve children in need of loving, permanent, and secure families.