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8472: Re: 8466: Re: 8451: Financially challenged CAN adopt -Bushey (fwd)

From: haiti@ixks.com

I agree that finances aren't the be all and end all of qualifying adoptive
parents.  We recently brought 2 children here from Haiti and are working on
a third.  I can tell you, however that the expense of just getting them here
can be a strain even if you do make the salaries mentioned.  These children
are my step children so we didn't have the legal fees to pay for the
adoption but the rest of the process is much the same.

To file the petition to apply, it was $110.  The doctor's exams, plus
vaccination were around $200 a piece (they will tell you at INS that it'll
only cost about 20 bucks -- don't believe it).  You file the first petition
and then you can ask for an interview.  It will take a while to get all the
paperwork together to file for the interview so it probably means another
trip.  Then, if all your paperwork is perfect, you can get your interview
within a few weeks (another trip) and then there's photos, all the
documents, plus $260 for the interview, $75 for the actual visa.  

We usually spend around $1,000 each trip counting airfare and expenses.
That's if just one of us goes.  When both of us went it was closer to
$2,500. We made 3 trips, totally around $3,500 all said.  Then the fees and
doctors and such ended up totalling over $1,000 a piece counting passports
and expense money for running down paperwork.  We still have at least one
more trip to go and we figure we will have spent around 7 or 8 thousand
dollars on just the costs mentioned.  Of course that doesn't count medical
insurance or medical costs once the kids got here, clothes, or the months of
child care paid during the enterim.  And god himself knows it doesn't even
touch the phone bills to get this all organized!  If we counted all that it
would end up being around 12 or 14 thousand minimum.

Quite a bit, all said.  Now, that doesn't mean it will cost that much for
everyone.  You can file the paperwork here in the states but it will take a
year or more whereas it's just a matter of months, perhaps weeks, if filed
in Haiti.  Still, the cost is heavy even if you do meet the income standard
mentioned -- (I believe the 45K income was for 1 person and 2 people were
around 60k.)  

I'm not saying people who don't make that income shouldn't be considered as
adoptive parents -- not at all!  I am just trying to give those interested a
little idea of the cost and how it all works.  The good part is that it
doesn't all have to be paid at once!  We would have been sunk.  :)  And
also, you have to remember that INS has income guidelines for anyone
sponsoring an immigrant so if you don't meet those you have to find someone
who does who is willing to make a long term commitment to pick up the costs
of caring for that immigrant should anything happen that you couldn't -- and
that's quite a commitment.

And the best part is that having them here is o much more than worth it.
The cultural differences are really made obvious by having kids in our home
who have never been out of Haiti before.  We still speak Creole as a family
even though we had thought perhaps it would help the kids learn faster if
we'd switch to English.  We couldn't do it.  We've spoken Creole together
since we met and can't seem to change it now -- it's the language of our
relationship.  I wonder if the kids will still speak Creole when they are

There are so many little things, like taking them to their first movie
(Shrek), flash cards, McDonald's and the zoo...  And then, there's just the
day to day:  looking for a cup to fill up with water for washing their face
or brushing teeth...  They'd fill it with water from the bathroom sink,
leave the water running and bend over the bathtub and pour the water over
their face.  Lots of little stories like that.  Waiting for a cab outside
the Miami airport and looking over to find catch 3 year old just as she's
squatting down to pee. When we told them people don't pee in the streets
here our 5 year old said *he* was going to!  His papa told him they'd
circumcize him if he peed in public, then he decided it would be okay to go
in and look for a restroom afterall.

Another cultural difference that's causing some confusion here is
discipline.  Frankly, these kids are so used to stern discipline that they
think I'm just a hoot and don't listen to a darn thing I say.  In Haiti,
they'd get a spanking for acting out but do you do it here?  This is an
interesting quandary for me.  And please don't get me wrong, I am not
advocating spanking.  I just wonder how many Haitian families have gotten in
trouble with the state agencies for spanking their children.  And if it is a
cultural practice, do we as Americans have the right to judge Haitian
immigrants for the way they discipline their children?  


C. Henrius