In the wake of the earthquake that devastated Haiti earlier this month, thousands of "Good Morning America" viewers have contacted the show, asking how they can help the many children orphaned by the quake. ABCNews.com spoke with U.S. government officials, aid organizations and non-governmental organizations to get the latest information on adoption of Haitian orphans.
Question: Can I adopt a Haitian Orphan?
Answer: No, not at present. In the wake of the earthquake that devastated the island nation earlier this month, new adoption applications for Haitian orphans are not being processed and are on hold indefinitely, according to the U.S. State Department. It's unclear when the process will begin again.
Question: Why won't the Haitian government allow the adoption of orphans?
Question: Are any adoptions of Haitian orphans underway?
Question: What are the Haitian government's requirements for prospective adoptive parents?
So, for example, an adoption of a 10 year old would not be allowed if one spouse is 35 and the other is 28. Should prospective parents fall into any of these categories, they would need a presidential dispensation. "They would have to wait for the [Haitian] president to review your file, and then it goes to the courts there," Bond said, adding that she doesn't know of any other government that has such criteria. Information on same-sex couples was not immediately available, according to State Department officials.
Question: How long does the process of adopting a Haitian orphan take?
There are two parts to the process. The first part is a petition to the U.S. government to be declared eligible to adopt a child. That process, known as the I-600 process because of the name of the form, takes between 60 and 90 days, according to U.S. government officials and aid organizations. It involves a criminal background check, a medical background check and a suitability determination that involves visits to the home and interview with the prospective parents.
The second part of the process involves gaining approval from the Haitian government. That process takes two to three years, once the U.S. government approves the I-600 petition, according to U.S. government officials and aid organizations.
Question: Is that a long time compared to adoptions from other countries?
Question: Approximately how much does it cost to adopt a Haitian orphan?
"The costs vary depending on the agency used and the services they provide (some are a one-stop shop, others do basic services) [the] State Department reports that the cost of the adoption itself is approximately $3,000 and the remaining are travel and agency fees," Strottman wrote in an e-mail.
Click here for U.S. government information on the adoption process in Haiti.
http://adoption.state.gov/country/haiti.html">CLICK here for the State Department's Haiti Adoption Guidelines, including Adoption Alerts.
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