adoption update 3.0

Or maybe it’s even edition 4.0 – I’ve kind of lost count. SRP_7542

It’s been nearly a year since our epic and incredible adoption fundraiser. Friends and family blew us away with their generosity and kindness.

Since then, we’ve done a lot of paperwork, compiled our dossier (so much work! yay!), had it authenticated and translated (yay!), received approval from USCIS to adopt a child from Haiti (yay!) and….now our progress has come to a screeching halt.

{Boring and detailed info ahead – read only if actually interested, haha}

In December, Haiti changed some procedures and made some new rules for adoption agencies operating in Haiti. these changes are PROBABLY for the better? but its hard to tell until more months have passed and more families have been matched and are going through the system under these changes.

What’s changed:

1. Now adoption agencies cannot have preferred partner creches (orphanages) with whom they work and advise/match families. They have to work with any and all creches throughout the country. This is kind of scary, because until now, good agencies like ours have only worked with ethical, safe, “good” orphanages which have high standards of care. (Not that an orphanage is ever a good option for a child, but you know what I mean.)

Now its possible that we could receive a referral (a match to a child) that would come with a host of major issues – a child who isn’t actually an orphan, abuse from their time in the institution, major attachment issues, etc. So it feels like the risk factor has gone up significantly. Perhaps not, but it feels that way since there is less “control”, so to speak.

Our agency reassured us that they will do their level best to help us if we were to receive a sketchy referral from a terrible creche. It would break our hearts to say no to any child, but we have been thoroughly educated on RAD, FASD, abuse and other trauma issues, and we’ll have to weigh the info we get with what we know in our hearts is wise and right. Not cool or ideal at all, but that’s where we stand.

2. Agencies have been given a limit on how many dossiers they are permitted to submit to IBESR (Haitian social services department) per month. This limit is 1. SO over the course of a year, our agency can only submit twelve family’s dossiers to IBESR.

This is probably an attempt to reduce case loads and ultimately speed things up for waiting families and children, but its a frustrating delay for us, of course. As you can imagine, there were quite a few families ahead of us with finished dossiers awaiting a referral. Our agency let us know that our dossier is in queue and will be submitted between May-July of 2016. That feels like a long time from now!

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All of this means we’re basically in a holding pattern – flying over our dream and not able to land for quite a while. However, while we’re stuck in the “airplane” of waiting, we’re going to seize the day. We’re going to learn Creole, REALLY learn it, in this time. We’re going to Haiti at every opportunity. It’s not expensive to fly there and its not expensive to be there! I’m heading there in June, and hopefully next year we’ll celebrate our tenth anniversary there. The more opportunities we have to learn the culture and love the country, the better! We will be better equipped to be the parents of a Haitian child. Awesome.

We also will keep learning about adoption challenges and joys; we’ll go to conferences and classes and make friends with adoptive families and Haitian- Americans. We’ll update our home study twice, we’ll renew our status with USCIS at least once, and we’ll keep doing foster care as the opportunities come along.

It’s not a setback, it’s a time of preparation. Time is on our side.

We’re also hoping that the wait on this side will result in IBESR becoming quicker and more coordinated on the other end! It would be really great if the time we’re waiting now ends up being the longest we’ll wait. Right now, families are waiting months and years for a referral and then months more after they are matched for the legal proceedings in Haiti to go through. Maybe, just maybe, the wait won’t be so long once we’re matched with our precious child.

And who knows? Perhaps the child that will become a Puelston has yet to be born. It would be just like God to put us in a holding pattern to save our dossier for “such a time”.

So there you have it. Lots of news, but no news. Lots of forward movement, and then a giant waiting room. Lots of grace from a loving God as we walk this winding, long and crazy road of adoption.