REFORM Talk Notice: Haiti IBESR Temporarily Suspends Reception of New Adoption Records May 2 to July 20, 2012 & Instances of Adoption Fraud UPDATED

By on 4-30-2012 in Adoption Fraud, Haiti, International Adoption, REFORM Talk Notice

REFORM Talk Notice: Haiti IBESR Temporarily Suspends Reception of New Adoption Records May 2 to July 20, 2012 & Instances of Adoption Fraud UPDATED

The the International Adoption Service (IAS) wishes to inform the families whose adoption process is underway in Haiti (files identified by the IAS, which is the subject of the recovery occurred December 23, 2011) of the decision of the General Director of the Institute of Social Welfare and Research (IBESR) to suspend the reception of any new folder from May 2, 2012 to July 20, 2012. The IBESR wants to restructure its services and establish a new system to ensure better protection of children available for adoption.”

Temporary suspension of the reception of adoption records
[Haiti Libre 4/30/12]

Heather Elyse at The Giving Hope Rescue Mission has issued a warning for Haiti PAPs. Haiti Adoption Fraud [Giving Hope Haiti 4/20/12]

We have posted some important excerpts below:

“I have received eight emails in the past few weeks, from families who have been waiting over four years to adopt their matched Haitian children. These children are all sitting in orphanages in Haiti. I admit I can feel my blood boiling as I read their stories, look over their dossiers with a fine tooth comb, look at the receipts of the thousands and thousands of dollars spent hoping to receive their children. I felt like a private investigator as I began to research, google, and call these adoption agencies, orphanages, and attorneys who all took money from these families. I sent one of my Haitian employees on a real life adventure today trying to track down a biological father.

One of the families we are helping is named Kimberly and Dennis, of Michigan. Their story is heart wrenching. They have spent over 40,000 dollars trying to bring home their two matched Haitian children. They have been with three different adoption agencies so far. I feel like I could write an entire book on all the corrupt things that took place in their adoption journey. I remember the first time I talked to Kimberly. I could hear the desperation in her voice. I tried to fight back the tears as I listened to her tell their tragic adoption story. I have never met this woman, but I could feel her heart and I could definitely HEAR her heart. We are currently trying to process her adoption for free, I mean how can we not!? We still have to pay in country fees, which we are trying to raise for this family.

Unfortunately, Dennis and Kimberly are just one of the many families who have experienced some labor pains and miscarriages in adoption. Adoption fraud is everywhere. I am amazed at all the adoption scams that go on. Scams are one of the reasons why we are opening up a law office in Haiti just dealing with adoption fraud cases. My heart is literally grieving for the many, many families who have been lied to, lead astray, given false hopes, and scammed. I am sick over all the corruption that surrounds the orphan and adoption. For those of you who know my heart wrenching adoption stories, you will understand why I am passionate about making sure families never have to experience what I endured. ”

Red Flags

“Enough is Enough! I am tired of all the corruption surrounding the orphan and adoption. It’s time we as Orphanages/creches, adoptive parents, adoption agencies, etc STEP IT Up and simply, “Do The Right Thing.”

“Here is a list of “Red Flags” I am noticing as I am cleaning up four adoption scams currently:

A plea to all Haiti Orphanages:
Our goal here in Haiti is to reach out to orphanages. We want to hold them to a higher level of care and integrity. We have no “stones” to throw. We are realizing many orphanages started with good intentions, they just simply “did not know.” I know there is no “How to start an Orphanage” for dummies handbook. ( hmmmm maybe I should write one! Ok getting off track!) I am amazed at how much trafficking is going on in this country and what is sad… It is done by most “so called” missionaries and non profits. I watched a video on Vimeo, of a missionary woman walking into a Haitian hut and literally taking the Haitian woman’s child from her. I was appalled. Two weeks later the very same woman who says she “rescued” the child from a life of poverty, promised this child to an American family, who fell in love with the child while on a mission trip. Well now I’m trying to clean up this very case, where the adoptive parents are heart broken and feel deceived. It turned out that the child “rescued” actually wasn’t adoptable and had other family members that would of gladly taken the child in. The biological father had no idea the mother just gave his child to this missionary woman. As I investigated, the Haitian woman clearly told me that she doesn’t want her child to be adopted. She was too poor to feed her child, so she gave her to this missionary woman in hopes that her child would get a better life in an orphanage setting, and eventually come back and support the family. I almost wished this missionary woman would of walked into this Haitian hut and tried to figure out a solution for this family to get food and education, not rip a child away from it’s family.”

“I personally am not a fan of ever calling our creche in Haiti an orphanage nor do I ever refer to our children living there as orphans. I can’t stand labels, and I don’t label my kids as “the adopted kids,” but as my kids. I think we need to focus on finding solutions to Keep families together, and not get rid of, but better the orphan care or foster care system. Adoption is our last resort at the creche we oversee. If we can keep the child with the family… That is our goal. Yes there is an “orphan crisis,” and we need to step up and do something about it. It makes no sense to end the orphanage system, when clearly there is a need. We need to set higher standards for the many orphanages in Haiti. To sum it all up: I am advocating for the orphan and believe there needs to be a High level of integrity when any orphanage or Creche takes in a child.”

“So here it is: my official orphanage advice:

1). If you are not licensed to do adoptions, please stop promising your kids to hopeful adoptive families. I am working on three cases currently where the children were promised to families, yet they aren’t even adoptable. Messing with another person’s heart strings and emotions is a scary thing. Orphanages please tread lightly and use caution.

2). Dear Orphanages, there are tons of legitimate cases of children in need. Please be extremely cautious and picky which children you accept. I am overwhelmed by the amount of abandoned babies left at government hospitals, in trash piles etc. Please make sure you investigate each child’s story. Visit their communities, ask questions before you take in a random child.

3). You can not come into a foreign country and decide to start an orphanage and just start taking kids in. If you are not licensed by IBESR, you are currently operating illegally. You may have come to Haiti with good intentions to help the overall orphan crisis, but remember you have to follow the country laws. You must have birth certificates, death certificates, and court papers on all your children. The local tribunal needs to be one of the places you frequently visit. If you don’t know where the nearest tribunal is… We need to chat.

4). Dear Orphanages, if you are NOT licensed to do adoptions…. Please stop facilitating and doing private/ independent adoptions. It’s too risky and like many who have already been shut down in Haiti, you could be next. I know Haiti is not a Hague country yet, and there have been many successful independent adoptions done. I am not criticizing anyone who has done an independent adoption, just asking everyone to use wisdom…tread lightly. I understand why many choose to do an independent adoptions, especially with how many corrupt agencies there are. Although I agree with the USCIS when they clearly warn all families to not do independent adoptions on their website.

5). Orphanages right now are getting a bad name because of how they are being operated. We have got to find a solution to better care! It kills me to walk into an orphanage and see babies that are left in what looks like dog cages on the wall. Orphanages are turning into baby factories and money makers…. Makes me sick!”

“A plea to all Adoption Agencies:
1). Why again are we charging outrageous fees?? I understand the need to pay staff, keep the utilities on at the office, but come on agencies!!! Let’s operate with integrity. Dare to be different!!!! Let me say that again … Dare to be Different!!! Let’s not make this a money making business. I get that operational expenses must get paid. And trust me I know the stress and headache adoptive parents can bring! (sry adoptive parents…. I still love you) Trust me, there are days I think, “no wonder agencies charge 50,000 per adoption” these adoptive families are nuts!! I understand that there is a business side to the adoption world, but let’s remember we are dealing with lives here. These are human beings and we must be careful!!! There are no guarantees, and we both know adoptions, especially international adoptions, are extremely risky. The countries could close at any moment. Whether you are a fan of the Hague convention or not…. I think it’s wisdom to make sure your agency is compliant.

Here is what I would like to see happen:
– stop with the unnecessary fees such as referral fees, matching fees, processing fees, application fees… Just be honest with your adoptive parents. I have had great success with just simply … Being honest and explaining why we charge this amount and where exactly the money is going. I mean what really is a referral fee? Just saying! It’s basically a fee that helps pay the staff and operational expenses right? I have a great respect for agencies who are up front and just say: here is our program or agency fee. I know we all have to charge something or we wouldn’t be in operation… I get it for sure, but let’s not make this a money making business… Let’s turn this into making dreams come true for expecting adoptive parents! When I look at many agencies fee explanations, I can’t believe the titles they come up with and the attached with fees. Please Dare to be Different!

Dear Agencies, please start giving refunds back to parents if things go wrong. Make it clear to all parents how risky adoptions are. Set up your adoption agency where financially you are breaking even! Remember this is not a competition on who gets more adoptive parents. Don’t ever play the game of Robbing Peter to pay Paul…. Let me introduce you to a guy named Dave Ramsey,… our agency is set up like Dave Ramsey suggests…. And we have had huge success of being debt free. We are the only agency currently that does give families close to the full refund back…. If something goes wrong. Let’s change this! We want to be one of the many agencies that will refund families.

Don’t promise a timeline, because this is Haiti!!! Haiti is one of the riskiest, unstable, corrupt countries to adopt from. Haiti has become the “it country” here lately to adopt from due to the earthquake, all the media, and mass amount of mission teams and new organizations who have started here. Make sure your families clearly understand the risk of adopting in Haiti.

Truth about adoption expenses:
The truth hurts and this is gonna hurt!!! I realize by putting this out here on the web… I will be hated by most adoption agencies. Feel free to join the “Heather hate club blog”…. Pretty sure there is a Facebook page out there against me too! Hehe I already have many haters and embrace persecution. I am willing to be burned at the stake. The enemy attacks a moving target… And I have decided to Move some Big Mountains! I was emailed by one of the orphanage leaders in the Haiti adoption world, that I better get on board or get off. They basically meant by me charging adoptive parents only in country fees, I will not be a team player and I will be hurting most agencies. In other words if they are charging 34,000 and I am charging 8-12,000…. I am not helping the adoption world…. Hmmmm I will hold my comments to myself on that one. Technically, our agency is already so incredibly full with adoptive parents, we have started a waiting list. I am praying more agencies rise up and “dare to be different” and start cutting out unnecessary fees, and making international adoptions more affordable. Well I have decided to not get on board with other agencies but to flat out be honest… So here is the raw truth:

If a Haitian wanted to adopt a Haitian child, it would be less then 700 US. I know this how: because we have a program where we pay for Haitian families to adopt. We encourage it as long as they meet our standards. (that should give you an idea of how cheap it is to adopt here in Haiti).

An average fee for a Haitian attorney is around: 2,500-4,500. I do know many who charge 6-10thousand… But if they are charging that amount…. You are getting ripped off.

In-country fees should range from 4,000 to 15,000 If anyone tells you differently, I promise you they are not telling the truth. Now of course some very legitimate creche’s charge monthly fees or a one time fee…. Which is not included in the above and I completely understand because it is expensive to take care of children.

On a brighter note: I do know of many legitimate operating creche’s and orphanages in Haiti that I would recommend!

So Agencies, why are we charging so much again? I understand an international adoption is expensive with getting the home study done, getting things legalized, filing forms etc…. I just firmly believe an adoption shouldn’t cost 25,000 to 50,000 per kid.

A plea to all adoptive parents:
Stop handing out thousands and thousands of dollars to just anyone! Do your research. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There is so much misrepresentation on the Internet. Everyone just kind of follows each others blogs and thinks that it is truth! Remember just because it is an agency rule, doesn’t mean it is a Haitian law.

Red Flags to be aware of:
-if someone asks you to wire money into a Haitian bank account… Some kind of red flags should be going off in your brain. If there is no way to send money to a US address or Canadian address… Red flag, red flag!

-if an agency or orphanage has to constantly tell you “they are telling the truth and wouldn’t lie to you” hmmmmm red flags!!

-if your agency/orphanage/Creche are constantly bashing other organizations- big red flags should be going up. I saw a website, where lots of independent Haitian adoptions take place, say they disagree with orphanages charging monthly sponsorship fees or child care monthly fees, they called it unethical and cheating, yet they claim to only be charging in country fees, which I did the math… They charge 11,000-13,000 when their adoptions only cost them less then 4,000. So while they bash Those who charge monthly fees, they make close to 10,000 to help support their kids… Ugh! Tired of all the lies.

Several attorneys, adoption agencies, people from the government will be helping me compile a list of legitimate licensed agencies, orphanages/Creche, and facilitators for Haiti international adoptions… And yes I will be posting.””

REFORM Puzzle Piece

Update: Every time I see that we at REFORM Talk have scooped the DOS on alerts, I feel like DOS should be singing that old Asia song “The Last to Know”…
“…But everyone knew but me
You were the first one to ever let me down
And I was just the last to know…”
[DOS Haiti Alert May 4, 2012]
“Alert: Temporary Suspension of New Adoption Cases

Haiti’s adoption authority, l’Institut du Bien Être Social et de Recherches (IBESR), informed U.S. Embassy Port-au-Prince that it will suspend processing of new adoption cases effective May 7, 2012. IBESR indicated that the suspension will enable it to expedite processing on its backlog of pending cases and begin internal restructuring to bring it closer to international standards. The U.S. Embassy has been assured the suspension is temporary and that IBESR will continue to process all cases that are filed before May 7. ”

US DOS notice does not mention the re-opening on July 20 that Haiti itself is reporting.


  1. You need to do your homework on Heather Elyse.

    • Jolene, thank you for finally sharing a link to information about Heather. PLEASE! note that this post is NOT about Heather, but about the Haiti and US announcements of suspensions. I won’t repeat myself again on this issue. Heather’s blog DID explain about the risks of setting up orphanages in Haiti and regardless of what she has or has not done, that advice is good. PLEASE! note that is not the same as praising someone. I can’t further explain this to you, so you can stop the “do your homework” patronizing.

      • After fully reading your link, I want to add that this is the first time I have EVER heard of any adoption entity fully refunding someone’s money. I have no idea what other issues this Heather has, but there are MANY prospective parents that have been screwed over by agencies/adoption facilitators and never received one penny back.

        • I’m confused — why is a refund from an adoption agency that is contractually obligated to provide a service but unable to provide that service a bad thing?

          Providing the refund is the sane, responsible thing to do — surely if the PAPs still want to adopt, they can put the $15.5k refund towards their new adoption. While it is heartbreaking to the PAPs that they are unable to find out what happened to their now ex-referral, it makes perfect sense: they have no claim to the girl and are no longer entitled to any information about her.

          What am I missing here?

          • You are not missing anything that the commenter has chosen to disclose publicly. There *may* be some other issues with this facilitator, but I cannot verify it and that is why the person wants me to do “homework”. I had been asked to remove the entire post, but I will not because the point of the post was the suspensions and that is an important part of the history of Haiti adoptions.Anyone who has followed corruption in Haiti knows that in the past, orphanages haphazardly opened without licensure and waivers were issued in the majority of cases.

            It is great when people forward me information about posts, but I cannot publish things that I are unverifiable. My research was unable to verify what was forwarded to me.

          • Most if not all contracts for adoption are contracts of illusion. Which means the agency is promising and collecting money for a service that may never be rendered.


            Why any prospective adoptive parent would sign such a contract is a mystery. I’ve seen my fair share and with all the arbitration clauses, escape clauses, the power of the agency to dump a client with out any justification, it’s best to keep money in pocket until a certain stage in the adoption, such as a firm referral and a review of the medical information.

            It’s also confounding me why an agency will take funds on an iffy placement and think it’s okay to just replace a referral when it all falls apart. Sorry, your order for Chatty Cathy can’t be fulfilled so here’s a Betsy Wetsy.

            This is a child. A human child with needs. It’s not a puppy or a doll baby.

          • What you are missing is that some of these families were told they adoption decrees and did in fact have adoption decress. At that point the legal gaurdian of those children becomes the parent.

  2. I personally know Heather Elyse. I also know SEVERAL families who were adopting from her and did not know each other. Same stories. Heather Elyse is being investigated in Haiti and I am afraid that very soon you will be embarrassed to have quoted her. She is a fraud, scammer, lair.

    • Hayden, I am not embarrassed . FOR THE FINAL TIME, this post is about the suspensions. DO. YOU. COMPREHEND? Frankly, if the dirt that everyone is insinuating is true, then it is GOOD to have her words exposed.

      We frequently have to quote info from bad people. BAD PEOPLE control the adoption industry! DUH! If you think that I think facilitators are good people, you haven’t read any part of this blog. If you and your fellow PAPS have a blog explaining all the bad things, why don’t you also disclose publicly the info that was sent to me about the “investigation”? You have the info and the platform. USE IT. I will link to it, but don’t expect ME to disclose this without verification.

      • I went back and re-read the above. It seems to me that this post is all about unlicensed orphanages scamming people of their money. The last part is of the closing of IBESR so they could implement the new guidelines placed on them and process the old dossiers before opening for new.
        No one is attacking you but as you quoted extensively from one source and that source now seems to have been speaking from an unlicensed position, while taking money from parents to process dossiers she was not authorized to process it does seem ironic.

        • Like I said before, we get a lot of information from scummy adoption industry people. Often, they have a lot of detailed information and in fact they disclose it long before the US DOS announces it, if DOS chooses to even share information.


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  4. It’s really quite interesting learning about this topic. I have 3 friends who were adopted from Haiti. The oldest girl was brought here probably about 5 years ago. It was before the Haiti earthquake. Her little brother and sister were brought a few years later. Thanks for sharing this article!