Adopting a Child from Haiti

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General Requirements for Haiti Adoptions

An orphan stands by a Haiti orphanage, which is currently housed in tents in a tent city in Haiti.
An orphan stands by a Haiti orphanage, which is currently housed in makeshift tents in a tent city in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Haiti is not a party to the Hague Adoption Convention, which means any adoption from Haiti needs to not only meet the requirements of Haiti, but also of the state that the prospective adoptive parent resides within the United States.

Guidelines required for Haiti Adoptions include:

  • Age - According to Haitian law, the prospective adoptive parent must be 35 years or older. Within a married couple, one of the prospective adoptive parents may be younger than 35, if they have been married for ten years and have no biological children. The adoptive parent must be at least 19 years older than the intended adoptive child.
  • Marriage - Both spouses must agree to adopt from Haiti. The U.S. immigration requires both signatures on the USCIS Form I-600.
  • Single Parent Adoptions - Haitian law permits single parent adoptions if they meet the age requirements.
  • Other children - Adoptive parents who already have children will need to obtain a waiver from the President of Haiti in order to adopt. This requirement is commonly waived.
  • Residency - Prospective adoptive parents do not have to live in Haiti in order to complete an adoption.
  • Travel - Some areas of Haiti, such as Port-au-Price, require at least one trip to Haiti to complete the adoption.
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Select an Adoption Service Provider to Help You Adopt a Child from Haiti

The adoption agency you select must be licensed by the U.S. state in which they operate. It is a good idea to contact the Better Business Bureau before making a final decision. It's also good practice to ask other adoptive parents for their experience working with the adoption agency you are considering, especially if they too adopted a child from Haiti.

It's important to work closely with your adoption service provider in order to keep up on the needed paperwork and procedures needed to successfully adopt a child from Haiti.

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Apply to Be Found Eligible to Adopt from Haiti

Prospective adoptive parents must fill out Form I-600A to be found eligible to adopt. This form is completed before an orphan is located or has been identified for an adoption by you. Do NOT confuse this form with the I-600 form which is the Petition to Classify Orphan as Immediate Relative.

In order to adopt from Haiti, prospective adoptive parents must also meet the requirements for Haiti as well.

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Be Matched with a Haitian Child

An Uncle has to register his 4-year-old nephew in an orphanage due to poverty.
A 4-years-old is registered at an orphanage by his Uncle who can no longer care for him. The orphanage has been reduced to makeshift tents in one of the tent cities in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. The child's mother died in the earthquake. Mario Tama/Getty Images

Your chosen adoption service provider or adoption agency will be the one to select a child for your family. It is up to you as the family to communicate with the adoption agency the kind of Haitian child that would best fit in your home.

Only a child who meets the requirements according to Haitian law can be adopted. In order for a Haitian child to be adopted the child must meet one of the two following criteria:

  • Relinquishment - Consent, known as the Extrait des Minutes du Greffe du Tribunal de Paix, from the child's birth parents or legal guardian must be obtained if the child's parents are living.
    The child's biological parents must consent to the adoption before the Justice of the Peace. Some jurisdictions, like Port-au-Prince require that the American prospective adoptive parents are present at this court meeting as well.
  • Abandonment - If the child's parents are deceased, their Extrait de l'Acte de Deces (extract of the death certificate) must be obtained from the Haitian National Archives.

In addition to meeting the above guidelines, the Haitian child must also meet the definition of an orphan under U.S. immigration law as well.

Once matched and the match is accepted by the prospective adoptive family, they must file the Extrait des Minutes du Greffe du Tribunal de Paix, or the Extrait de l'Acte de Deces with the Haitian Adoption Authority or the Institut du Bien Etre Social et de Recherches (IBESR). The IBESR will then look into the medical and psychological well-being of the prospective adoptive parents.

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Haiti Adoption Process

  1. Then the IBESR, Haiti's adoption authority, approves the adoption and issues an Authorization of Adoption. Only the IBESR office in Port-au-Prince can authorize an adoption. The regional offices of the IBESR do not have the authority.
  2. The prospective adoptive parents then present the IBESR Authorization of Adoption to the Tribunal Civil or Civil Court in order to obtain the Adoption Act which finalizes the adoption.
  3. Prospective adoptive parents file their application with IBESR.
  4. The adoption process in Haiti could take 18 months or more. Once approved by the IBESR and the USCIS, the adoptive parents still have to apply for a Haitian passport for their child, which can take two to three more months. It is recommended by the Adoptions Unit that the child obtain a valid Haitian passport once the adoption is complete. The Adoptions Unit will conduct the visa interview once the prospective adoptive parents file the DS-230, Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration and pay the appropriate fees.
  5. To find out how much fees are currently to adopt from Haiti, please contact your adoption service provider as the fees are not set. Prospective adoptive parents expect to pay varying court fees as well. Please take note that the law of both countries, Haiti and the United States, does not allow the payment to the biological parents or guardians of the children by the prospective adoptive parents or their agencies.
  6. Documents are required to be translated into French and authenticated by a Haitian consul in the United States. Ask your adoption service provider for a list of the appropriate documents needed in your dossier.
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Apply for the Child to be Found Eligible for Adoption from Haiti

An Haitian infant is fanned by another Haitian child while sleeping under a tent in a tent city.
Several hundred thousand Haitian children live in a makeshift tent orphanages in tent cities. Mario Tama/Getty Images

After finalizing the adoption in Haiti, you must have the USCIS determine if the child is eligible under the U.S. immigration law to be adopted. Complete Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative.

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Bringing Your Child Home

There are several steps to complete after finalizing the Haiti adoption:

Haitian Passport - Your child will need a Haitian passport as he is not a U.S. citizen yet. Your child's Haitian passport must have their adoptive name.

Visa - After getting a passport for your child, the next step is obtaining a visa. Visit the U.S. Embassy for final review after the adoption is granted. The U.S. Embassy will give final review and approval of the child's I-600 petition. You must provide the Consular Officer the Panel Physician's medical report on the child if it was not provided during the provisional approval stage.

The granting of a visa is based on the documentation being complete and the applicant overcoming any visa ineligibility. If all is well and in order, the visa is granted and ready within two days.

For more on the finalization paperwork needed to bring your child home please as your adoption service provider or see the United States Department of State - Office of Children's Issues Intercountry Adoption information on Haiti.

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A New Family!

Adoptive couple sit with their adopted Haitian children as the children become American citizens.
After finalizing your child's adoption in Haiti, check with your adoption agency about whether or not you will need to adopt your child again once in the United States. Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Congratulations you are a new family!

If your child entered the country on a IR-3 visa, the child became a U.S. citizen upon entering the United States.

You may have to re-adopt your child here in the states as a precautionary measure since a U.S. court does not have to accept the adoption of a foreign court. In some instances, a re-adoption is required. Ask your adoption agency for more information.

Haiti does not require adoptive parents to file any post-adoption reports.

The adoption journey seems long and tiring, but the rewards are endless once the child is a part of your forever family. Know that the stress and journey does not end there and we all need extra love and support along the way. There will be many adjustments once you all are home safe.

Continue to seek a support system as there will most likely be many adjustments and growing pains.


  • support groups
  • other adoptive parents
  • church family
  • community resources
  • family and friends

Good luck with your new family!