I am a pretty competitive person. I don’t know how my laid back husband tolerates me. We have probably played 500 games of gin rummy over the course of our relationship -he has never won. One might think I would show some mercy and let him win one game. Nope – I can’t do it. He pretty much won’t watch Jeopardy with me anymore because I insist on shouting out the answers before he even has a chance to read the question.
I blame my dad for this streak of ugliness. He’s pretty hard core when it comes to playing games as well. Although he keeps his competitive spirit hidden well – mine bubbles right at the surface.
The adoption process in Haiti brings out the worst in me. When Haiti announced that they were going through the steps to become part of the Hague Convention, they set a quota for the number of dossiers (paperwork) they would accept from the United States. They identified 19 US adoption agencies they would partner with – and of those 19 agencies, they would only accept one dossier per agency/per month (so a total of 228 dossiers per year from the US).
That essentially meant that there is a line of people waiting to send their dossiers to Haiti. And when there is a line, my competitive nature is to GET IN THE FRONT OF THE LINE.
So as to not drive my husband and myself crazy, I intentionally decided not to ask my adoption agency how many people are in line in front of us. I’ve already been a mad-woman trying to complete all of our required paperwork. I did not want any added pressure.
And then God intervened. For some reason, Haiti opened its doors last week and accepted more dossiers than its quota allowed. There seems to be no rhyme or reason for this – maybe insiders know more than I do. I’m calling it a Holy intervention. Essentially, the entire line at our adoption agency was wiped out. Haiti accepted 11 dossiers from our agency alone. That means as soon as we finish our paperwork, it is being sent to Haiti (as of now), instead of sitting on the desk of our adoption coordinator for a year while we “wait in line.”
This gives this neurotic person great peace.
Here is what we know about the Haitian adoption process today. It could change at any point. We are trying not to have any expectations about timing.
Step 1: Gathering all of the paperwork necessary for the adoption. We have been doing this since March 1 and should be finished by August. Side note: Everyone told us this process would take 3-6 months and I did not believe them because I think I am sooo efficient. Once we gather all of our paperwork, our adoption coordinator sends it to the Haitian Consulate in Chicago to be translated and authenticated.
Step 2: Our papers get sent to Haiti to be legalized. This takes up to 8 weeks to complete.
Step 3: A Haitian lawyer collects our legalized paperwork and sends it to the Haitian departments that oversees adoptions – IBESR (they are kind of a big deal in this whole process).
Step 4: IBESR contacts our adoption agency with information (a referral) about our child. We have no idea how long this will take or what the matching process is.
Step 5: Plan a 2 week bonding trip to visit our referred child at an orphanage and be evaluated by a social worker from the IBESR.
Step 6: The IBESR approves the family and dossier exits the IBESR.
Step 7: Orphanage sends our paperwork through Parquet (pre-court legalization), the court system, Ministry of Interior, Passport and Visa. This process takes 6-8 months.
Step 8: We travel to Haiti and do some legal stuff and bring our child home.
We are only on Step 1 in this marathon. I am going to need some serious Holy intervention to make it to the end of journey. I also might need a hypothetical slap in the face when I start treating adoption like a race.