HAITI UPDATE: IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR PROSPECTIVE ADOPTIVE PARENTS:
Today the Depatment of State, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Health and Human Services held a conference call and meeting with stakeholders in Haitian adoptions. The meeting covered several important topics in adoptions from Haiti which are directed at adoptive and prospective adoptive parents:
Stage 1. Registering your adoption for Category 1 or Category 2 consideration for Humanitarian Parole and awaiting determination:
The US Embassy in Haiti has been working diligently at processing adoption cases since the earthquake. Up until yesterday, the work was being done by one officer. He has been joined by a second officer and 165 cases have been processed as of this morning. More officers will be arriving in the next day or two and DHS estimates that all pending adoption cases qualifying for Category 1 or Category 2 will processed within the next three weeks, with majority being processed sooner rather than later. Evacuation of US Citizens and orphans in process of adoption by US Citizens is the number one priority of the Embassy at this time.
What to do if you have not yet registered your adoption:
*Adopting parents are requested to contact DHS at HaitianAdoptions@dhs.gov using the following information in the header of their email: PAPs full names, birthdates, child's full name, birth date and orphanage. This will receive the quickest attention of DHS officers.
* Please provide DHS with as much information about your adoption as you can. The requested information can be found at our previous blog post or at the USCIS website
* If you are in doubt that your adoption qualifies, send your information anyway and DHS will try to make a determination for you based on whatever information you are able to provide.
* If you have been referred more than one child, please send separate information and separate emails for each child to help speed the process.
What to do if you have already registered your adoption with DHS
* Families and individuals who have already provided the above information should be hearing from DHS starting this afternoon (January 21, 2010) and continuing into the weekend concerning the status of your case and asking for any additional information they feel is necessary to make a determination as to whether your adoption qualifies under Category 1 or Category 2.
* You may continue to contact DHS using the HaitianAdoptions@dhs.gov email address. Please include your last name, birthdate and your child's name, birthdate and orphanage in the header of any email you send (cases are being filed by your last name and it makes the process easier and faster if DHS employees can see this in the header).
* Please do NOT have anyone bring your children to the Embassy if you have not heard from DHS that a positive determination has been made. This is slowing down the process for everyone and placing the children and caretakers in an unsafe situation. DHS will only allow those with a positive determination into the Embassy.
Stage 2: DHS has made a positive determination that your adoption qualifies under Category 1 or Category 2
* DHS will be contacting PAPs as soon as a determination is made.
* If you need to contact DHS for any reason concerning your adoption, use the HaitianAdoptions@dhs.gov email address and be sure to include your last name, birthdate and child's name, birthdate and orphanage in the header of the email.
* Make arrangements to visit the Embassy through DHS and your orphanage or other entity or person who will escort your child to the Embassy. Be sure that DHS knows when your child will be arriving in order to secure entry to the Embassy.
* If you need help arranging transportation for your child to the US let the Embassy know. They will assist PAPs with arrangements. If a child will be transported on Military aircraft, PAPs will be billed for transport at the rate of a one way commercial airline ticket as of January 12, 2010. Many organizations are willing to provide transportation on return delivery flights, and some private and commercial airlines are offering assistance. PEAR is hoping to coordinate information on flight possibilities and sponsorships, so please check with us if you need to find transportation.
Stage 3: Receiving your child.
* Children arriving into the US on IR3 visas will be placed into the custody of their adoptive parents upon arrival. If you have made travel arrangements, please let DHS know where and when your child is arriving so that a procedure can be set up for transferring custody. Use the HaitianAdoptions@dhs.gov email address to provide DHS with all of your travel information. If you are using Military or DHS provided transportation, DHS will keep you informed of the flight information and proper procedure for picking up your child.
* Children arriving into the US on Humanitarian Parole visas will be under the custody and jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Human Services. Prospective adoptive parents will need to prove that they can act as a sponsor for the child. This requires proof of suitability. DHHS and DHS are currently working on a process to have the USCIS homestudy forwarded to DHHS, but this process is not yet set up, so remember to bring as much information with you as possible including your homestudy, photo identification, and as much of your dossier as you might have available.
* Children who arrive and do not have prospective parents immediately available or for whom DHHS needs to gather further sponsorship information will be placed in the care and custody of DHHS Office of Refugee Resettlement. Children will be placed in temporary care under current protocols and procedures set up by DHHS ORR and will be safe and well cared for. The goal of DHHS is to have prospective adoptive families and children united as swiftly as possible.
Prospective Adoptive Parents with further questions are encouraged to contact PEAR at any time. We will attempt to answer your questions or put you in touch with the people who can best assist you.
Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.