25 Factors to Consider When Adopting From Haiti


Click on each factor to learn more. Current as of January, 2017. This information is subject to change; therefore, check with an agency that places from this country for the most current information.

+ Parental Age
Parents must be between 30 and 50 years old and between 14 and 45 years older than the child. For married couples, one parent may be as young as 25 years old provided that the other parent is between 30 and 50 years old and there is no more than a 15-year age difference between spouses. There is greater flexibility for parents adopting an older child or a child with special needs.

+ Length of Marriage
5 years. Common law couples must provide proof of five years of co-residence.

+ Divorce
1 divorce per spouse 

+ Children in Family
Allowed.  Parents may be required to provide documentation of sufficient resources to support another child.

+ Medical Restrictions
Parents should be in good physical and mental health. Parents with significant health issues or disabilities are required to provide a letter from a doctor in support of the adoption. Parents with a history of mental health issues will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

+ Single Applicant
Single women between 35 and 50 years old are allowed.

+ Sexual Orientation
Does not knowingly place with homosexuals

+ Children Available
Healthy children 2 to 16 years old; children with mild to severe special needs and sibling groups.

+ Gender
Boys and girls; parents may request a gender.

+ Adopting More Than One Unrelated Child at the Same Time
Allowed, but some agencies may have restrictions.

+ Referral Method
Once the dossier has been approved by the Institut du Bien Etre Social et de Recherches (IBESR), the adoption service provider matches the parents with a child in their system. The referral usually consists of a medical, social, developmental and background report and pictures of the child. Parents have two weeks to accept a referral.

+ Travel in Country
2 trips, approximately 2 weeks and 1 week long. Both parents are required to travel on the first trip, but only one must make the second trip. After accepting a referral, the parents travel to Haiti to meet their child and “bond” daily. Upon return to the US, parents file the I-800 for each child, and return to Haiti 9 to 18 months later and escort their child home.

+ Wait After Referral
9-24 months; the adoption is finalized in Haiti, which is a complex and time-consuming legal process.

+ Approximate Cost
$26,000 – $32,000 + travel

+ Orphanage/Foster Care
Orphanages (called crèches) run by various individuals or organizations ranging from Haitian citizens to charitable organizations. Crèches are licensed by the central authority (IBESR) to care for the children while the adoption takes place. This is separate from orphanages, which are not licensed by IBESR. These orphanages may house orphans/children who may or may not be available for adoption.

+ How Children Enter Government Care
Abandonment or relinquishment due to poverty or death of a parent.

+ Prevalence of FASD
Not enough placements to get a consensus from IA doctors interviewed.  Given the nature of Haitian society, agencies and families report that they have not seen many substance-exposed children.

+ Adequacy of Medical Reports
Very good; children are typically given psychological exams that pinpoint any possible developmental delays, and each child is tested for HIV, Sickle Cell Anemia, Hepatitis B, VDRL (Syphilis), and is given a Complete Blood Count (CBC).

+ Program Stability
Variable; Haiti’s adoption program has recently undergone significant changes as a result of converting from a non-Hague to a Hague country and the overall stability is improving, but parents are cautioned to expect delays. 

+ Post Adoption Reports
Required at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months, then annually for 3 years. The first 4 reports must be prepared by a social worker or adoption agency. The remaining 3 reports can be prepared by the adoptive parents.

+ Additional Information

  • The US State Department periodically issues travel warnings for travel to Haiti. Check with the State Department for the current status.
  • Delays are common in Haitian adoptions and are often outside the control of even the best agency.
  • Prospective adoptive parents may not submit an application to adopt again from Haiti until at least two years after a previous adoption was finalized in a Haitian court.
  • Any biological or adopted children age eight (8) years or older who are already in the prospective adoptive parents’ home must state their opinion regarding an adoption from Haiti.
  • Haiti’s adoption law requires that siblings be placed with the same prospective adoptive parents, unless a competent authority determines that this is not in their best interests.

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Available from www.CreatingaFamily.org, the national adoption and infertility education and support non-profit. Please do not reprint without giving credit to Creating a Family and a link to the website.

Image credit: Feed My Starving Children

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