Haiti Frequently Asked Questions

What is the timeline for an adoption from Haiti?
The adoption process timelines are subject to vary per family and to change as the family moves through each stage of the process. Currently, the total timeframe for each family to complete their adoption is approximately 24-48 months from the time the family's dossier is submitted to the Institut du Bien-Etre Sociale et de Recherches (IBESR). The total timeframe it will take each family to complete their adoption will depend on the following:

Family Document Collecting: the average document collecting or “paper-chasing” takes 4-6 months, though some families may take longer.

Referral Wait Time: Once your dossier has been submitted to the IBESR, the wait time for a referral is 12-24 months. Referrals will come directly from the IBESR to the agency representing the family and will be communicated to the family. Each family has 2 weeks to formally accept the referral and provide proposed travel dates for the bonding/socialization trip to meet their child(ren).

Approval Wait Time: Once a family has completed the bonding/socialization visit, their file will be approved and their dossier will exit the IBESR and move through the process including legalization, approved by the court system and approval through several other Haitian government entities.
Do both parents have to be American citizens?
No, both parents do not have to be American citizens, but at least one must be. If neither parent is a citizen of the US, they are not permitted to adopt through US agencies, but they may want to look into the countries where they have citizenship to see if they have agencies that work in Haiti.
Can American citizens who live abroad adopt through America World?
Yes. We will work with these families on a case by case basis.
Are single women allowed to adopt from Haiti?
Yes, single women are allowed to adopt from Haiti. There must be a minimum of 15 years between the adoptive parent and child. The prospective adoptive parent must be between 35-50 years old.
What is the age range of children that are available?
The ages of children available range from infants to 16 years. Families should contact a Family Coordinator to learn more about the children currently waiting for families and for other estimates of referral wait times.
What is the Waiting Children Program?
America World strongly believes in advocating for waiting children and is privileged to assist hundreds of waiting children to be united to their forever family each year. A “waiting child” is a child who has been determined to be adoptable and has the necessary paperwork to be adopted; however there is no family that has accepted their referral. They may be waiting due to their age, health status, or just a lack of families eligible or interested in their adoption. Haiti does not have a Waiting Child Program at this time.
Are families permitted to adopt more than one child or sibling groups?
Sibling groups of all ages and number of children are available in Haiti.
Why do families abandon their children?
Some of the children in orphanages in Haiti are true orphans in that they have lost both of their parents to death. Others may have one living birth parent but are abandoned because of poverty, parental abandonment and neglect.
How much information is available about the birth parents?
The amount of information available about the child’s birth parents varies depending on circumstance. Often times, little information is available. You will be provided with all the information available from the IBESR at the time of formal referral.
Are the children healthy?
Yes, the children are generally healthy, but may have easily treated illnesses. There is no guarantee that a medical condition might not come up later, as could be the case with a biological child. Children in the orphanages are seen by a medical doctor before referrals are given to families and are tested for HIV, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and TB.
How are travel arrangements handled?
America World staff will arrange for your travel, accommodations, in-country transportation and translators while you are in Haiti. While traveling to a foreign country poses risks, America World uses transportation and guides that we have used ourselves during staff trips to Haiti.

We have a guesthouse in Port-au-Prince, safe, beautiful home that is conveniently located near the airport and the U.S. Embassy. It is designed to provide a safe and comfortable home away from home for our adoptive families traveling to Haiti to visit their children, attend appointments at the US Embassy compound and stay for the referral-bonding trip. More details here.
Do both parents have to travel?
Yes, both parents must travel on the first trip to meet the child. This trip is a bonding/socialization trip during which the IBESR will send out a social worker and interview the family. America World staff and orphanage staff strongly encourage both parents to travel for the second trip which is when you pick up your child(ren).
How soon after I accept my referral can I go to Haiti?
Families also have the option of visiting their child at their orphanage while waiting on the appropriate approval after the referral and trips will be arranged on a case by case basis with orphanage approval. Families may travel as soon as a formal referral is provided to the family by the IBESR.
What does a typical adoption trip look like?
There are two official adoption trips. The first trip is a 14 day bonding/socialization trip during which you will meet your child. The second trip is to pick up your child(ren). You will arrive at and depart from Port-au-Prince, the capital city, and stay in that local area.