Tuesday, June 19, 2007

My Dossier is gathered...what now?

Congratulations on completing the biggest chunk of your part of the adoption (other then raising your child of course!). Now that all your paperwork is complete there are just a few steps to complete before sending it off to Haiti. Here are the requirements according to the orphanage we adopted from, but you may want to check with your agency/orphanage to see if they have the same process.

Once your documents are gathered, the following four (4) documents must be certified by your Secretary of State. Contact that office for instructions.
2-Psychological evaluation
3-Letter to the IBESR
4-Power of Attorney

When the certifications come back your dossier must be translated. All documents except for the bank statements, tax returns and lab reports must be translated into French and certified by the translator. Our orphanage staff translated the whole dossier into French in Haiti for $500. However, many people have recommended Deborah Blaz, who can be contacted at blazm@yahoo.com. She has translated over 150 dossiers for Haitian adoptions and at the time of this writing she charges $250. Please contact her directly if you wish to use her services. You may also find your own translator.

After the translation is done, the same four documents that were certified must be sent to the Haitian Consulate for authentication. The Haitian Consulate charges $25 per document.

Consulate General of the Republic of Haiti
220 South State Street, Suite 2110
Chicago, IL 60604

Once you receive these documents from the Haitian Consulate they are ready to mail off to Haiti!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Why adopt from Haiti

We are asked often why we would adopt from Haiti instead of our country or elsewhere. Our answer is blissfully simple: it's where God led us...end of subject. It was not that we chose Haiti, or chose not to adopt from America or a different country but it is where our children are that God brought to us.

I did come across this article today and thought it was interesting to share:

Why Adopt From Haiti?Out of all the countries one could choose to adopt from, why would or should Haiti be considered? Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, and has been plagued by violence for most of its history. I have traveled to Viet Nam, Ethiopia, and Mexico, and still the poverty of Haiti shocked me. Haiti has an estimated 8.2 million people. The unemployment rate is about 80%. The majority of the Haitian population lives on less than a $1 a day, with the median income about $60 per year. Only 25 percent of the population has access to safe drinking water, and less than 30 percent of the population has access to adequate sanitation. Just under half of the population is literate. In addition, the average life expectancy for Haitians is less than 50 years. About 70% of the population is children, with approximately 23% of the children under five suffering from malnutrition, and 10% of the children dying before the age of four. Between extreme poverty and death, there are an estimated 1.2 million orphans in Haiti. There is an obvious need for adoptive families in Haiti.Other pros for Haitian adoption include: • The Haitian people are beautiful.• Haiti has an interesting history and rich culture, and is one of the least expensive countries to adopt from.• You can have your child escorted home, or you can travel and bring them home yourself; with an in-country stay of 3-5 days.• Some agencies/facilitators allow parents to visit their child(ren) while in process.• The children are generally healthy.• Infants are available, as are toddlers, preschoolers and older children.• Sibling groups are also available (you can also adopt two unrelated children at the same time).• You can usually request the gender of your child.• You can adopt with the help of an adoption agency, or save money and adopt independently.• Single women can adopt. If you are currently deciding which country to adopt from, please consider Haiti.

Getting all or almost all of your adoption paid for!

One of the biggest questions we all have when we are being called to adopt is "How will we afford this adoption?" The most important advice I can give you on this is to pray and pray again. :) If it's God's will He will provide in exciting and unexpected ways. Here are a few idea's:

First check with your employer to see if they offer an adoption assistance program. My husbands work does but they pay it after the completion of the adoption at $5000 per child. We are adopting 5 children so will receive $25,000 of our adoption fees back from his company within 90 days of the completion of the adoptions. I'll keep you posted on if we caused them to change their policy. ;0 This really does not help us though until the adoption is complete so we first need to come up with the money and then wait to get it back. However, I do have friends that their company policy was different. They would receive their adoption assistance as soon as they submit receipts for their adoption payments so they would start out by making a payment and get that money back and send it in again for another payment! Very clever and handy. You may not think your company has it but it does not hurt to ask, you may be surprised. Our friends were the first and only ones that used the company's assistance (and they are on their 6th adoption so I'll keep you posted on whether or not they shut down their policy as well, kidding of course). Few people have ever used the assistance offered at my husbands work so we've had to research their policy ourselves as the entire HR department seemed unsure of how it works. :)

There is also the option of fund raisers. It would be a good idea to post on a chat site asking for idea's of what to do. Get creative, don't be afraid to ask for help! Many people are excited and honored to help you bring your child home. A couple of ideas: I've heard of one family that made and sold clay crosses and if I remember right made $30,000 towards their adoptions from this! (someone please correct me if I have the total wrong for that). There is also Kingdom Kids at http://www.kingdomkidsadoption.com/Default.aspx?tabid=37 that I know others have had great success with.

Another avenue for funds is to apply for grants. Again, ask a local chat site for referrals for these. They are usually around $1000 or so and are hard to get. We filled out many applications and each one told us that you are more likely to receive the grant if we were adopting multiple children, sibling group, older children, or special needs children. We were at the time adopting 3 siblings, 2 of them older kids, and one of them disabled from a stroke. We qualified in every way imaginable and thought for sure we would get some grants but got zip. I know of other people that are adopting single, young, healthy children, and have received grants. So, if you have the time to fill out lots of forms it may be worth going for it!

While we don't want to go into debt for these adoptions: If you are considering a loan or second mortgage to pay for your adoption it may be helpful to know that it would be a debt you should be able to pay off very quickly! If you can get adoption assistance through your work you can use that to immediately pay off a big chunk of your debt. Even if that is not an option, you almost definitely will qualify for the adoption tax CREDIT. Now I capitalize adoption credit because it is very different from a tax deduction. With a tax credit you can claim up to $10,960 (as of year 2006) per child on your taxes. This is money you will receive back from the government. Most people receive all of it back. It can take up to 5 years to receive all of the credit back but many people get it back much quicker then that. This amount covers almost all of the expenses you will need for adoption from Haiti. If you are careful to earmark this money to go directly to paying off your loan then you will not have the loan for long. For great detailed information about the adoption tax credit here is a great link: http://www.adoptionlearningpartners.org/images/tax_year_update06.pdf

It's kind of a pain that you have to come up with all the money first just to get it all back again, but at least it's encouraging to know that most people do get nearly all (or sometimes all) of their adoption fees back!