Since March of 2011 my family and I have been on a journey to complete our adoption in Haiti. When we began, our daughter Karis was just 12 days old. She had been given up and abandoned by her birth mother, who was a mere 15 years old at the time. Karis was born in a small thatch hut, which was barely large enough for a single person to go inside. She was born on the dugout dirt floor, without any help or medical care. But, she was okay.
At 12 days of age she came into our care. My family and I have been part of serving with a great organization here in Haiti for the last 4 1/2 years. In fact, I have been coming to Haiti and serving for well over a decade now. As a result I secured my residency, and find Haiti to be as much home as the US at times, making multiple trips each year to serve the people of Haiti.
During the previous 3 1/2 yrs in our adoption journey, we have made numerous trips for the sole purpose of working on Karis’ adoption. We have spent days, weeks, months and now years walking this grueling journey of adoption. The journey has been plagued with trouble, speed bumps and frustrations that can seem insurmountable at times.
During our journey we have watched as the country of Haiti has made its change from being a Non-Hague Convention country to a Hague Convention Country. Essentially meaning that it’s required process and documentation requirements have increased in order to better qualify the adoptive families and qualify the children as legitimate orphans in need of a new home.
But, after 3 1/2 years, we are still STUCK in the midst of a harsh and unforgiving process. We are no further ahead then the early days when we began!
To make matters worse, our daughter has struggled with what seems to be a mild form of Cerebral Palsy, Scoliosis, or Neurological Brain Insult. But, without proper tools, equipment and training she cannot be accurately diagnosed and treated. Since she was a toddler, we knew somethings were not 100% normal. This is something that is common due to poor health and conditions at birth… and premature birth, which all fit Karis’ story.
For over 3 1/2 years Karis has missed the chance to receive the necessary medical care, therapy and help that is necessary for her to lead a normal and productive life. Admittedly, her condition is very mild. But, that in some ways, increases the urgency of her need for proper care. If she quickly is able to receive the proper Occupational and Physical Therapy, Karis will likely be able to live a completely normal life, with little or no effect from her disorder.
But, due to corruption, theft, forgery, bureaucratic process, politics, paperwork and delays… Karis slips further away from her crucial thresh holds. Our lawyer has stolen money and forged documents. The local courts have allowed her operations to go unchecked. And, including ourselves, she and the system has garnered well over $150,000 USD from multiple families and in turn, produced NO results.
So, as a result, I have had to stop work, move to Haiti, and work on my daughters process completely on my own. I am working as my daughters representative. WHY? Because, if I move her case to another agency, the process begins from step 1 and starts a 2-3 year journey in addition to our previous 3 1/2 years. To ad insult to injury, Haiti’s Social Services would not approve our adoption being resubmitted under the new rules, as private adoptions and predetermined matches are no longer allowed. (Not that I believe that is bad, but it is not a positive in this case) And, we would lose our referral/match to our daughter. This is not an option, or a possibility. Again you ask why? Because after 3 1/2 years, my daughter and I have a very strong bond and relationship.
Karis knows I am her dad. She is old enough to know that one day she will come home with me. But, what she cannot understand, and neither can I, is why isn’t she home already? Why is she stuck in a system that is not working for the good of the legitimate families in the process of adoption? Why isn’t there an advocate for the families who are stuck? Why doesn’t the world pay attention to the needs and the process of the children who are STUCK and lost in the system of corruption and broken systems?
Our family has experienced a successful foreign adoption once prior from Ethiopia. Our other daughter has been home now for over 4 years. But, even in Ethiopia, this story is becoming common. We now know well the pain of success and repeated failure in the foreign adoption process.
My story is not unique. My story is not new. My story is part of a collective of THOUSANDS of families experiencing the same stubble, pain and fear. I believe now is the time to tell my story, and the stories of countless others in this same journey!
Will you help this story go live, go big and get attention? Will you help tell the stories of so many other who are walking in this same journey?
I am here live, now, today, and for weeks to come.... in Haiti. Come share the journey, come see the journey, come experience the process… I invite you to join me!