When we last gave you a glimpse into the ongoing story of our adoption from Haiti, we had been told our homestudy was complete but had not yet received it. According to the original process our homestudy was the key to receiving a referral, ie getting a name and a face of the baby girl who would someday be ours. So we were expecting to at least be in line to get matched this summer.
That has all changed. Everything in Haiti is changing. Things are crazy right now with imminent deadlines and new laws and families who have been building a relationship with their matched children scrambling and facing a dissolution of those relationships.
The good news is that Haiti is not yet officially a Hague country and is still open for adoption. The good news is that the intent of their new laws is to protect children, keep them with their biological families when possible, and fight child trafficking and unethical adoption. Those are all great things.
Now the harder news. The new law may make it harder to complete adoptions because a lot more paperwork and DNA tests will be required for the child, to ensure he his identity is really known and he has been placed for adoption with very informed consent of the family. Sometimes when kids are just abandoned on doorsteps it's tough to find any family to get those clearances.
Also the new law will make infants, age 0-12 months, unavailable for adoption. Parents will not be allowed to willingly place their babies for international adoption at all, even if the mother has died and the family can't afford formula and can't care for it. So those babies will probably stay in orphanages until they are older, which is a real shame.
So for us that means we needed to increase the age of our requested child. I was briefly disappointed that the picture in my mind of rocking a Haitian baby girl would have to change, but we had already been questioning our choice. We prayed about it and decided to change our request to a girl aged 0-24 months. Thankfully our homestudy was already approved for a child up to three years of age, so no changes were needed to that.
This is just another example of how God is the author of this adoption story, not us.
Additionally the new law requires all adoptions to only go through agencies and orphanages that are approved and registered with IBESR (Haiti social services). So all agencies are having to file new paperwork and hope they are approved. I have faith that our agency, America World, will be approved. They have been very proactive during this change and filed paperwork within days of the announcement. But now we will have to wait till probably October at the earliest to find out for sure. And probably several months after that till we get a referral.
Also the new law will require that IBESR makes the referrals, not the orphanage. That's a huge change in the process. No more meeting and picking out your child, which used to be common. This isn't a big change for us, since America World doesn't allow parents to choose children either. That's a Hague thing and very smart. The unknown part is whether or not the orphanage will have any say in referrals, or whether we will receive a referral from an orphanage other than the one we chose to work with.
This is a big deal to us because that child will have to stay in whatever orphanage they are in for a long time after referral and we want to make sure they are getting good care and attention. We chose H.I.S. Home for Children because it is run by American missionaries and there is a good communication channel between them and the PAPs (prospective adoptive parents). We heard stories of infant neglect and administrative deception occurring at some other orphanages and we obviously want to avoid that if possible.
But ultimately, this whole thing is about how much we trust the Lord. If we were trying to avoid risk we wouldn't be adopting in the first place. So we follow as we feel the God prompting us, regardless of the risks.
That sounds so funny coming from two engineers who used to avoid risk entirely. We aren't the same people we were when we got married, thank Jesus for that. So onward we go, undaunted.
Settling in for the wait.