My Haitian Adoption Timeline

A few readers have asked to know a little more about the adoption process and how long we expect to wait from now (soft match) so I will try to summarize the steps!

Steps we’ve completed:

-Sign up with an agency / a few days
-Complete home study (intense background check including home visits and personal interviews with social worker; review of family dynamics, goals, parenting styles, etc.) / a few months
-Complete dossier (family paperwork which includes psychology evaluation, background checks in all states and countries in which a family has lived, very thorough health examinations, half a dozen reference letters, financial evaluation, letter of intention to Haitian government…and many more things, but that basically covers it) / 3-6 months
USCIS approval (for US residents of course) to adopt orphans & fingerprint appointment / several weeks to a few months
Dossier Translation (into French) / few weeks
-Submission of dossier*, which includes home study approval, to IBESR, the Haitian government’s social services department

*Almost every document was notarized and many were authenticated by the Secretary of the State prior to translation and submission. This also takes time! Here is a picture of our dossier going off to our agency for review, approval, and translation…and then authentication, both in the U.S. and then again as soon as it got to Haiti!

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-WAIT/Start to point of IBESR / Almost 9 months (this may be a little longer or shorter than some…we’ve lived in many states and even different countries as adults so our information took longer to gather than it may for some others)

-WAIT/IBESR entry to Soft Match: 10 months (this step could take almost no time, but IBESR is understaffed and had many law changes this year to implement the Hague Convention. Also, new families, under the new Hague laws, will not get match news, only firm referrals.

THIS IS WHERE WE ARE NOW. HERE IS WHAT WE HAVE LEFT.

-Waiting for a Referral (official document where birth mom has relinquished all rights; this is where it starts to get real!) / Expect 6 months, give or take 3 months on either side
-2 Week (15 day) Bonding Trip (Meet our child; bond; are evaluated by social workers) / Immediately after referral
-Exit from IBESR / currently taking about 4 months post-bonding trip

(Are you bored yet? If you want to know, in detail, what every forthcoming step entails, please click here. Otherwise, I am going to start just relaying name of stage and expected wait.)

Parquet / averaging 4 weeks to a little over 2 months
-Legalization after Parquet / about a month
-Ministry of the Interior – MOI / a month to 3 months
-Passports / 2 to 3 months (Many times they run out of passport paper and it causes major delays!)
-USCIS approval / varies, but plan on another couple of months
-VISA approval / another month or so 
HOME! (and Post Placement supervision for many years!)

So, many of these steps VARY WIDELY in time frames. Yes, a passport, for example, *could* be printed very quickly…but there is often a backlog and a factor we call “Haitian time” which is very different than American, hyper-efficient time. I’m sure you can all do simple math and see why I say we expect more than a year, and possibly several more years, in process for this adoption.

There could be a miracle and our file could fly through all of these steps, but – more often than not – the timeline gets stretched, just as our IBESR wait before our soft match did (I was told to expect more like 3-6 months, not 10 months).

My readers (you!) have given me so much positivity and support through this process already. I am so beyond thankful for you buoying us up as we navigate this incomprehensible process. I don’t know how we will do it, but I keep on just taking each day how it comes, and we all know how fast months truly do fly by, so I know we will get there! Thank you for being interested and helping me celebrate the steps of this huge adoption journey!

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Celebrating Progress

I love to celebrate, and – after getting a little more courage from MPB’s journey –  I decided I need to try and let go and purchase a thing or two for the little one coming, as well! Now, we still have a long time, so I don’t want to go overboard, but a few little things can’t hurt to help us celebrate the milestones.

I have a great affinity for children’s books and whenever I think of our child’s room, I always imagine a book case with stacks and stacks of children’s books. We’ve actually received two books in the midst of this process – one from a family member and one from a close friend.

Baby books

These books have been such a delight! They are vessels of light, support, and the promise of tomorrow. They also are the start of what I know will be an awesome collection. So, I decided to celebrate by purchasing my first ever items for a child of ours…I bought several children’s books on adoption and multicultural families. I can’t wait to read through them with our child one day and fill his mind with positive and nurturing stories of his journey (wow, I get to say “his”)!

These will be a surprise for my husband, so I hope he will also find joy in starting our journey with these little treats. Cautiously, we are opening ourselves up to this dream. It’s a great feeling to immerse ourselves in hope again after so much loss and patience!

Life’s Doors and Windows

Hibiscus

Receiving the news that our file is matched with a little boy in Haiti infuses energy into my life. Most of it thrilling, but some of it scared that we will lose this one, too. As I told my parents, it feels like the 5th pregnancy (not counting the Colombian twins to whom we also felt attached). We’ve gone through the whole announcing a pregnancy thing, and it hasn’t worked out so well. But, I opened this blog to create a space to be vulnerable, trying to sort out my thoughts and live more fully in my life. So, we commence the moment. We celebrate. We know there is sadness and uncontrollable situations, but we choose to be present for all the positives along the way.

The only information we have on the match is that a) he is a boy, b) roughly where he is residing now (geographically), and c) his birth date. One of the first things I did was to try to trace my life back through journals, emails, and social media to see what I was doing the day he was born. Life is so paradoxical! The day he was born, I found out my first methotrexate shot didn’t properly abort my baby, my last pregnancy, so I had to scurry around, trying to ensure I could get yet another shot of the poison an hour before boarding a plane to help my sister in need. So, the old saying could not be more true: when God was closing a door (ending my time with one child), he was opening a window (bringing my next child into this world).

I say this early, hoping this match really is the one. But beyond that, I say this to all of you reading this, hurting in one way or another. We just don’t know what life will bring us. We just don’t know the timing of things. We don’t have the whole plan laid out in front of us. However, I do believe in optimism. I believe the plan is out there. I believe our sorrows prepare us to be more of ourselves than we ever thought possible, stronger than our wildest dreams. And that, is beautiful.

It’s a Match!

After 1.5 years in process to adopt from Haiti…we received a match! It appears that we will be parents to a little boy!!!!

Haiti Announcement Card_Blog

Now, this news comes with a lot of disclaimers, but basically what needs to be relayed is that a) this could fall through and b) matches like this often do. But, where would we be if we didn’t celebrate these moments, especially if this is the one?

My first reaction to this news was overwhelming relief…the kind you get that is accompanied by a gulpy cry at the back of your throat. THANK GOD my soul was saying with every fiber in my body. Now this time, unlike last time, I actually told my husband he was having a boy seconds after I heard the news. Then there is that moment where you ask each other, “How do you feel about a boy, honey?” (Well, as we have covered, we’ve never experienced this before, even though I have given birth to a boy, but we’ve all seen this play out in movies and asked others having kids a similar question.) At the same time, we kind of looked at each other, and in the most affirming, overwhelmingly adamant way we both communicated we couldn’t have cared any less about whether the match was a boy or a girl. From our perspective, that is just the least of our thoughts.

It is, however, so exciting to think about all the fun styles his hair will be capable of, how we will decorate his room, dream about what his interests will be, what his name is, and what he looks like. We won’t have any more information until we get an official referral (hopefully in about 6 months).

And, of course, there are things that aren’t as fun to think about like the fact that there has been another tragic, racist, terrorist act that caused destruction in a SC church (and in a community, and in a nation) this week. I am not concerned about being up for the challenge of raising a dark skinned male in America, but I am concerned about his safety. Like all caring parents, I want to ensure my child’s safety, but when his skin color may be a target for someone else’s unwell, hateful thoughts…that kills me inside.

So, even though that juxtaposition has a place in my thoughts, we have a lot of love and positivity to celebrate this week. There is progress! Hope has nestled up beside us, giving us a warm and fuzzy feeling once again! It’s been a while and I was fighting resentment, but now I am back to dreaming. I have a lift in my spirit. There is a little boy, alive and well, being prepared for our home!