On Thursdays I post from the vault. This post is from October 2008.
People are always asking me why our adoption is taking so long. It is such a hard question to answer. How do you explain the insanity of Haiti adoption? It’s a place with absolutely no infrastructure, poor communication, every-changing rules, and absurd corruption. The hoops for completing a legal adoption are almost laughable. Except you’ve been waiting too long to laugh.
Our orphange director John was writing about one of these hurdles in a recent blog post. This story is not about us. Keanan’s birth parents are both deceased – which is a whole other bag of worms. But I think this story is a great example of the insanity of adoption in Haiti, how narrowly things can sometimes come together, how much work our orphanage director must do on a daily basis, and how every child coming home is literally a miracle.
We try to keep tabs on the biological parents because we need
them several times in the adoption process. We need them to sign various
documents, to be interviewed on the Haitian side to verify that the parent in
fact is without coercion relinquishing the child and to verify documents like
birth certificates, death certificates etc.
But over the years there have been a few times when we have lost touch of the birth parent and have prayerfully had to go looking for him/her. This is what happened this week.
We had an appointment on Wednesday, October 8th for the birth
parent to be interviewed at the consulate; but we were not able to locate this
parent. We for over a month had been trying to find her but with no
success. And then we heard that she was probably in the Dominican
Republic, at a town near the border. So last Monday Junior and I headed
for the Dominican Republic, the country which shares two thirds of the island of
Hispaniola. Haiti takes up the other third. We went in the little
Suzuki since my truck was not working. We arrived a few miles from the
border after having gone through stretches where water, left over from last
month’s storms, was covering the road. We were able to make it through the
first two but clearly we were not going to make it through the third stretch
that we came to. So we turned around and planned on coming back on
Tuesday. Remember the appointment was for Wednesday, the next day.
So the next day we headed out again, but this time in my truck
which still wasn’t fixed and was shaking big time. We headed out with no
visa to enter the Dominican Republic and with only a couple of photos of the
birth mom that we were trying to locate. We passed through ten sections
where water was covering the road. Several of the sections were quite deep
and we actually turned around once thinking that we couldn’t make it even in the
pickup truck. I suppose that these were the cautious thoughts of someone
who has submerged a car, Beth’s car, in a river. But as we
were heading back to Port-au-Prince, a pickup much like mine passed us heading
for the border. So we turned back toward the border following the
pickup. We passed through ten sections where the water was covering the
road (The photo left is not a river, but it is the road covered with water).
And at four of them we were holding our breath and praying hoping not
to stall the truck. But we made it to the border.
Now here we were with no visa to get across the border and so as we do often do we go into talking mode. In Haiti there are times when we have to do a lot of
talking to get things done and give a little money as well. In about ten
minutes we passed the Haitian border and now we faced the Dominican border,
where we had to contend with the racketeers who could see that we were not sure
what we were doing. But living in Haiti has equipped us to deal with
such situations and so after about thirty minutes and about $10.00 we were in
the Dominican Republic and heading toward the border town where we heard that
the birth parent is living. We, equipped with the photos, drove around for
about showing the pictures and asking if anyone recognized the picture and could
take us to where this parent lived. After about ten minutes we found
someone who said that he recognized her and would take us to her house.
About thirty minutes later we parked in front of the house where we found out
she used to live. She now lived about eight hours away in the
We were able to get a phone number and after only about one hour of
being in the Dominican Republic, we were able to talk with her. She said
that she would borrow money and come Thursday, but I told her that we needed her for an appointment on Wednesday and to make a long story shorter let me tell you that on Wednesday morning at 10:00 she was in our office. We prepped her
for the interview and arrived at the Consulate at 11:20 and left at about
1:30. She did great and now wait for the date for the visa
This kind of stuff has happened before and as I said,
I have mixed emotions. It is pretty amazing that we could find her and
have her here the next day. Yet really I am not surprised as there were so
many praying and even her birth daughter who will soon be traveling to her new
adoptive home. She said to her mama, I prayed real hard that John
would find you. GOD ANSWERED HER PRAYER.