Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Current Step by Step process

Okay friends...I'm hesitant to post this as I often struggle to understand each step myself and it does not help that Haiti is constantly changing it's mind about how adoptions will be handled and each persons different ways of locating their child and different orphanages may vary just a bit. However, hopefully this can be a general guideline to help give someone just starting out an idea of what the process currently is:

Step 1: Gathering your dossier and sending it off to Haiti
Step 2: Make your request or receive your referral for your child or children
Step 3: Orphanage puts together dossier for your child or children
Step 4: Your dossiers go to 1st legal courts (usually a quick process)
Step 5: Your dossier is submitted to IBESR (current wait time seems to be about 3-4 months)
Step 6: Once your dossier is approved by IBESR you enter Parquet
Step 7: Enter courts for 2nd Legal- This is where your child or children legally become yours in Haiti!
Step 8: Application for the child's Haitian Passport which starts at Ministry Of Interior (MOI) and then to
Passports for printing
Step 9: While the passport application is in the works your I-600 (your I-600A should have already been
done during your wait, please see I-600A post) should be completed and approved.
Step 10: Visa application is filed and adoptive parents appointment in Haiti to receive the visa is schedualed.

Congratulations, It's time to bring home your child!!!

Again, this is just a bit of a rough draft as it does seem to change often but will hopefully give you an idea of the steps.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

I-600 A form

Here's some tips on the I-600A to try and simplify things a bit. Please keep in mind that obviously your information may differ from ours and there may be differences due to living in a different state or your agency or orphanage. I will share with you what we did in hopes that it will give you a guideline and hope that it helps! Here is the link to download the directions and I-600A form: http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-600a.pdf

What to include/gather for your I-600A:
Copy of birth certificate for each adopting parent
Copy of your marriage certificate
Divorce decree for both/either of you if you had previous marriages
Notarized home study done within the last 6 months
Your filled out I-600A form (we did not have this notarized)

Filling out the I-600A form: (fill it in by typing or BLACK ink)

Block 1- information about the prospective adoptive parent.
Questions 1-7 We filled out with my husbands personal information. It's okay to leave lines blank if they don't apply (for example: #4- Address abroad- just leave it blank if you don't have one). Questions 8-9 We filled out our date and place of marriage and the rest was about my (the wife’s) information. Question 10: The name and address of the orphanage/organization assisting you in identifying an orphan (If you are doing the adoption independently through the orphanage you would put the orphanages address and information here, however, if you are working with an agency you should ask them if you should put their information on these lines)
11. Do you plan to travel abroad to locate or adopt a child? (on this you would mark yes if you plan to go to Haiti at the end of the adoption to complete the adoption there (most commonly done this way), if you plan to have an escort bring your child to the US for you and do not plan at any time to go to Haiti before the completion of the adoption mark No)
12. Same as above
13. A. We put the date we estimated we would be going (even though we were WAY off as the adoption took longer, you can estimate a date, or if you have a trip to Haiti already planned put that date there)
B. Same as above if both of you are going to Haiti
C. City, province (where the orphanage is that you are adopting from, so in this line we wrote: Port-au-Prince, Haiti)
14. We actually marked no on this line. If you travel to Haiti at the end of the adoption your child(ren) will be legally adopted there in Haiti. You should not "have" to adopt them again in the US but many people do for different reasons. (It would be a good idea to ask questions about the legal requirements of the state you are in by joining a chat group for international adoptions specific to your state. They would also be a great help for finding someone local to do your home study and any specific laws you should know about in your state).
15. Mark yes if you plan on going to Haiti to complete the adoption there.
16. Fill in the USCIS office that you are required to use in your state/county. You should be able to get this information from the www.USCIS.gov website. In the past the I-600 was often filed by your orphanage in Haiti. However, very recently, there have been some rule changes in Haiti and it's best to file here in the states. If the rules change again down the road you simply have to submit a letter in writing (does not need to be notarized) with your I-600 that you wrote a different location on your I-600A and would instead like to file in Haiti.
16. Second line: The American Embassy or Consulate at (we left this line blank)
17. We are adopting 3 children so marked yes and then wrote 3 on the next line.

Certification of prospective parent: your husband's signature and date
Certificate of married prospective adoptive parent spouse: your signature and date

Again- this does not need to be notarized. When you submit it include a check for $545 and an additional fee of $70 for each person in your household over the age of 18. So if you and your husband are the only ones it would be a total fee of $685 (check the website to make sure the fees have not changed). The $70 is the fee they charge for the finger printing and back ground check. You should receive a letter and receipt from USCIS stating that they received it on (date they received it) and the fees you paid. When you file your I-600 you DO NOT have to pay the fee again unless your I-600A has expired, or you are adopting more then one child that are not siblings (there is only one fee for siblings). You do have to pay an additional fee per file for each child that is not a sibling but you only have to pay the finger printing fee once. You will also receive a letter about where and when you should go for your finger printing. They ask you to come into the office where they do that any day or time during a specific week (I think they are open on Saturdays too) and if you can't make it that week it gives you another option like to come in any time on any Wed. after that week. Once everything is processed you will receive the form I-171H. This form means you are pre-approved to adopt from Haiti!

What is USCIS?

Another acronym you may see being thrown around a lot online. It stands for US Citizenship and Immigration Services. You can find their website at http://www.uscis.gov/portal/site/uscis . You will need to go through them to file your I-600A form, I-600 form, and Adjudicate Orphan Status First Petition (AOF). You can go to their website to download the forms and instructions that you need.