The Hague Adoption Convention Took Effect in Haiti

Adoption is an act of creating "parent--child relationship" between individuals who are not naturally so related. The common law states that the adopted child must be given the rights, privileges, and duties of a child and heir by the adoptive family. Every state has sole authority to determine who may become an adoptive parent. As per Hague Adoption Convention term, with effect from April 1, 2014, the new Haitian rule protects Haitian adopted children. The new rule states that a prospective parent has to adopt child only from social welfare agencies certified by the Haitian government. The prospective parents will be required to show that they are capable to raise children born in other countries. Further, the adopting couples must have been married for a minimum period of five years of whom one of the spouses must be at least 30 years of age. A single person looking for adopted child, must be 35 years of age. A recent UNICEF report reveals that nearly 2,000 children were smuggled out of Haiti in 2009 alone.

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The new rule ensures that a child who is to be adopted by a foreign parent must be a true orphan who will find a secure home and citizenship in the country where he/she settles. In the past, lax laws and oversight have left many Haitian children susceptible to trafficking.

An estimated 50,000 Haitian children live in orphanages. Many of them have parents who have dropped them there because they cannot provide basic needs for their kids. After the devastating earthquake of 2010, the police stopped few American Baptist missionaries who were taking 33 Haitian children across the Haitian border without any valid document. All the children had living parents who had handed them over voluntarily to the missionaries.

The new rule will bring transparency to assure that no Haitian child is ever trafficked in the future. The U.S, one of the signatories of the adoption treaty, has expressed they will begin processing adoption as per the new rule since April 1, 2014. However, we have to wait some more time till the Haitian social welfare agencies finalize their details on fee structure.

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