A media flurry resulted today after word spread among Twitter, social networking and discussion boards about the possibility of orphans from Haiti coming to the US. Information and communication out of Haiti is limited and difficult and may contribute to misunderstandings or information which needs to clarified.
Since news of the earthquake, the law office of Jocham Harden Dimick Jackson has been inundated with requests for information about the possibility of adopting orphans from Haiti. Attorney Michele Jackson is very involved in the Haitian adoption community and has processed adoptions from Haiti. Families immediately began reaching out to her for information on adoption availability. She has 10 years experience in international adoptions and orphan visas and has been an adjunct faculty member at the IU School of Law, Indianapolis on the subject of international adoption and international family law issues. JHDJ Law is currently representing clients who had started the process for new adoptions PRIOR to the earthquake. We were contacted by members involved with Safe Families as well as other orphanages in Haiti regarding assistance in locating families to host and/or adopt orphans from Haiti. In our adoption programs, we have between 25-50 families who have completed home studies and criminal background checks and are willing to accept children on either a temporary or permanent basis.
Further, the concept of coordinating a “hosting” program or arranging for an influx of a large number of orphans (IF approval is received from Haiti and USCIS) is something with which we are very familiar. Every year Michele arranges for hosting of orphans from foreign countries. One of our most popular programs is from Ukraine. Each year as many as 25-30 orphans are hosted by families in the Central Indiana region. Arranging for travel, translators, accommodations, etc is part of that process.
Because of her extensive experience with international adoption, Michele has worked with USCIS and is very familiar with the various options and processes for orphan travel and orphan visas. Further, Adoption Coordinator and Director of Business Development, Amber Burton Small, reads, speaks and writes French. Michele’s experience is quite unique among attorneys in Indiana and she would be valuable as a resource should the Governor’s office or DCS require assistance in working on this matter. Obviously, nothing of this magnitude has been attempted in the past and this is new ground for everyone. But we are more than willing to offer our professional experience in whatever capacity is necessary.