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Information for Prospective Adoptive Parents Who Have Been Matched to Children in Haiti and Whose Prospective Adoptive Children Are Being Granted Humanitarian Parole

Published: August 16, 2012

When the child you are planning to adopt arrives in the United States, he or she will be met by federal immigration officials. If the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determines that you are the legal guardian of the child, as would be the case if a court has issued you a final adoption decree, then she or he will be released to you once we have verified all of the parties' identities and statuses.

If DHS does not make such a determination, then the child cannot automatically or immediately be released to you. However, as described below, prospective adoptive parents can request that such children be released into their care.

Process for Applying to Have a Child Released to Your Care

Children who are coming from Haiti who have been matched with an adoptive family but who do not yet have legal guardians are placed in the custody of the Federal government, and are the responsibility of the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR).

As a prospective adoptive parent, you may request that the child you plan to adopt be released from ORR to your care as a "sponsor." You would serve as a temporary custodian for the child while your adoption application process is finalized.

You will be asked to complete a "Family Reunification Packet / Paquete de Reunificacion" (DOC 141kb) English (PDF 56kb) Español (PDF 60kb). If you are unable to download the documents, you can request them from HHS staff (or staff of private service providers under contract with HHS) who will be available at the airport when the flight arrives in most cases. In most cases, you will complete the paperwork at the airport.

You may also contact ORR at 202-441-7748 to request the documents or to ask any questions you may have.

ORR will review information in your adoption file to ensure that a criminal background check, fingerprints, and home study have been completed and to verify that you have been matched to this particular child. To ensure the process runs smoothly at the airport, we encourage you to bring these materials and other information related to your adoption with you.

We expect that most prospective adoptive parents will be approved as sponsors within a day or so of the child arriving in the United States, though many factors can affect how quickly the process can be completed. If you, as the prospective adoptive parent, are approved for temporary custody, then the child can be released to you. ORR cannot release the child to you, however, until this process is complete. If any issue arises that causes a delay in this process, please be assured that your child will be well cared for under ORR supervision at an organization skilled in providing temporary care for children, and that barring any exceptional safety concerns, you will be able to visit the child at that location.

We understand that you are anxious to be united with the child whom you intend to adopt. Please understand that these procedures are critical safeguards to ensure that children whose adoptions are not yet finalized, and who do not yet have legal guardians, are being placed in homes that are prepared to care for them in the meantime. We will do everything we can to make this process go as quickly and smoothly as possible, and appreciate your patience.