Our Haiti Adoption Journey.....
Our adoption journey that started when we met and fell in love with Wanna and Fritzson at their orphanage in Haiti in 2010 finally ended July 31, 2014 when they flew home with us to Florida. This was one of the longest and hardest journeys of my life and I had to fight harder for them than anything I've ever poured myself in to but they have been and are worth it. As you can see from our timeline we faced a lot of obstacles including fraud. Below our personal adoption information are links to resources that I found important or useful during our adoption and even still for those considering or in the process of adoption.
1998 - I made my first trip to Haiti...I was 18.
2003 - Started T.H.E. Mission, a 501c3 to do missions and outreach.
March 2010 - Visited the Cabaret Baptist Children's Home for the first time and fell in love with Fritzon and Wanna (and a lot of other kids).
March 2010 - Nov. 2011 - I made 10 trips back to the CBCH leading teams or just visiting my kids. I wasn't able to do anything towards the adoption at that time because Haiti was still recovering from the earthquake and not processing adoptions.
Nov. 2011 - Met the US and Haitian directors with an agency in Haiti that said they could process our adoption. We later found out that most of us were being lied to and many documents were not real. This would lead to a lot of heartache and one of the reasons we are still trying to get our kids home. You can read more here. on a blog started by several of the family that were frauded by Heather Elyse.
April 2012 - Took Dossier (all the legal paperwork to apply for an adoption) to Haiti but was unable to get it in to IBESR (that Haitian adoption authority) due to it closing for the summer to try to get organized.
Sept. 2012 - Our dossier was accepted into IBESR - CELEBRATION time!!! -
February 2013 - We exited IBESR!!!! Another Celebration! Towards the end of our journey we had to circle back to IBESR for further and extra approval due to changing laws and the fear of fraud that Heather's cases had created.
March - April 2013 - We moved through the court phase which finalizes some of the documents.
April 2013 - Adoption Decree.... our kids were according to the Haitian law: Wanna and Fritzon Grimes.
April 2013 - August 2013 - NOTHING was done for our adoption during this time. :( If you are interested in the very sad truth of what "adoptions gone wrong" look like then read this BLOG.
Sept. 2013 - April 2013- Went to Haiti and were given some of my adoption documents but several were missing or never even completed. I spent 8 months having them created, recreated or fixed and the kids files and the US Embassy is still finding errors and mistakes
January 2014 - Fritzon's documents were submitted to the US Embassy. Unfortunately Wanna's BC was not valid and we had to get another one.
March 2014 - We finally got a new, valid copy of Wanna's BC so her passport could be printed and her documents taken to the US Embassy!
May 2014 - The Embassy let us know of the 2 things they needed fixed in order to approve our adoption.
June 2014 - With the help of some friends (financially) and a US Immigration lawyer we got our APPROVAL!!!
July 24-31 - We flew to Haiti to pick up our kids.
July 31 - HOMECOMING!!!!!
The sad reality of what fraud and corruption will do to families and how adoption can be used to control families desperate to get their children home: Fraud Blog
What it costs....
Thank you to the many people who have helped us raise money and donated. I have also taken on a second job to contribute to our costs. Below is what we have paid or been able to cover so far from fundraising and donations.
US Homestudy - $1400
This is a report on our family, our home, our past and our plans/goals for the future. This determines if we are fit, equipped and eligible for adoption according to both US and Haiti standards. A US agency can approve couples for adoption and Haiti can read the homestudy and reject the couple... and it happens.
Psychological Evaluations - $200
This evaluates if we are able to handle the process and life of adoption... not everyone can.
Document Authentication - $350 (Includes mailing costs)
This is where we had to send every document that had been notarized to Tallahassee so they could check and make sure that each notary stamp/seal was authentic.
Document Certification - $500
After the documents come back from the state capital from being Authenticated they then have to go to a Haiti Consulate in the US to be certified and ready to go to Haiti.
Translations - $400
Every document must be translated in French so the adoption agency in Haiti can read them.
i600a/i600 - $900 (i600a) / $720 (i600) -
We paid for the i600a and Homeland Security Fingerprints in the fall and
recently paid for the i600.
The i600a is a form that the US government uses to determine if the parents are qualified to adopt from another country. Since our kids are not biological siblings we have to pay an additional $720 when we file the i600. The i600 is the US government making sure that the kids we were approved to adopt are in fact, true orphans and eligible to come to the US.
and what we still owe:
Attorney Fees - $8,000 / $8,000
$8,000 was covered so far for one adoption through my hours of working for our director
I paid $8,000 in cash
This covers all the legal documents, filing fees, Haiti government fees, submission fees and salary for the attorney and anyone who is helping her prepare our dossier and the costs associated with preparing the kids dossiers. A dossier is the final product of all the paperwork the parents send down in addition to all the documents and paperwork on the children. It's not easy to get or find original or authentic documents.
Final Stages- $3500 each - was requested for the final stages from my director - My director received donations that covered this for both my children, HOWEVER, due to corruption and fraud with my director, this money was not used towards my adoption. I resigned due to this corruption and fraud and in doing so was "punished" by not being given all of my kids paperwork (some of it was purposely withheld while others were just never completed to begin with). I have spent all of September and October working on recreating missing documents and getting those that were missing.
This covers all the Immigration phase including documents, MOI, transportation to appointments (Birth Parent interview), Passport, Medical/Immunizations, Visa and any other fees associated including a final adoption payment.
Flights Home- $2500
not paid yet
This is not counting previous flights to take documents and paperwork down. When they are ready we will fly down to bring them home.