We understand that recently a rumor started that IBESR in Haiti is not processing any child matches for children under 5 years old and has no child files for children under 5 years of age. A Love Beyond Borders, All Blessings International, Building Arizona Families, Carolina Adoption Services, Nightlight and Wasatch are joining together in this statement in response to this rumor. As of 12 PM CST, we have been advised by IBESR that this information is categorically untrue. All of the above named agencies were involved in planning several meetings and much dialogue with all stakeholders during a recent trip to Haiti. Several agency representatives and/or Executive Directors traveled for this important engagement to gather facts and continue to encourage open communication. The agencies who participated in this planning and trip all have had long term commitments to Haiti, regularly travel to Haiti and share information with each other and any agency who asks. A summary of this trip was given to the National Council for Adoption and was distributed through this member organization, as well as by many of this agency group to clients. We expect some other agencies also shared the summary provided to their clients. None of the agencies listed above have received information or insinuations from IBESR that children under 5 will not be matched or that IBESR only has files for children over 5. This rumor does not match our recent experience or knowledge. We are aware of children under 5 who have been matched for international adoption in the past 6 months. We understand from direct communication with IBESR that IBESR does have files for consideration of children under 5 years old and that they are diligently gathering supporting documents and assessment to determine if these children are eligible and in need of an international adoption and are making referrals as appropriate. We applaud the efforts IBESR is making and believe that claims that IBESR is neglecting files for children under 5 to focus only on older children or that they do not have such files are factually untrue. Such statements do not accurately reflect the rigorous efforts being made by IBESR or their goal to truly serve the best interests of Haitian children in need of permanency. They are working in this effort on many different fronts.
The majority of children in need of adoption in Haiti are not healthy, young infants or toddlers. By and large, this has not been the typical profile of children in need of adoption in Haiti for many years. While there have been and are healthy, young children who have been referred during this time, our experience has been that the wait times for these referrals are lengthy as this is not the typical child in need. This has been the case for many years and is not a recent change. The agencies joining in this statement have never submitted excessive dossiers for Haitian children for young, healthy children. We have all been aware of and honoring of the needs of Haiti’s orphans. There is a greater need for families for sibling groups, older children and those with special needs, as is the norm in international adoptions, overall. IBESR is doing their best to issue referrals for all families whose dossiers were submitted in 2015 and appears to be making progress, with about 45 international family dossiers from 2015 waiting for a match. From looking at our agencies’ submissions, those waiting from this time frame are waiting for younger children; however, no mention was ever made to us that these families were not receiving a match within the parameters of their request. We do not want to offer false hopes to waiting families, by conveying the goals IBESR has set for themselves with regard to matches for these long waiting families, as we believe that communicating these internal goals of IBESR will lead to additional and unnecessary pressure on agencies and IBESR. Trust us when we say that IBESR is working diligently.
Each agency must make their own decisions about child availability and need in Haiti. Our agencies’ collective experience has been that while slow and unpredictable, international adoption remains a viable option for children in need in Haiti, including those under 5 years old. Our agencies are careful and accept a limited and very small number of families requesting children under 5 each year with full disclosure of the wait times as we have experienced them. We expect to still receive child referrals, both healthy and with special needs, within this age group, but caution families considering adopting from Haiti that healthy infants and toddlers are not the typical child profile most in need. Wait times for this child profile are unpredictable and long.
Additionally, we encourage everyone to engage in a factual manner when dealing with the most cherished among us – the orphaned child!