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!
-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!