Houstonian waits for two adopted Haitians

January 19, 2010 9:06:26 PM PST
Even before the earthquake, there were hundreds of thousands of children living in orphanages or group homes in Haiti. A local couple has been looking forward to the addition of two new grandchildren in their family, but those children are still in Haiti.

Kathy Henson is waiting for two children to come home from Haiti.

"They are going to be so loved. They have a big extended family and everyone here knows about them," said Kathy, the adoptive grandmother of Haitian teenagers.

When the earthquake hit last week, she put up yellow ribbons and a huge picture on the front door of her son Bill's family. That photo includes her two future grandchildren who were in the process of being adopted from Haiti when the earthquake hit.

"The boys' home was totally destroyed and luckily everyone survived," said Kathy.

Daniel, 16, and Steve, 13, are already part of the Henson family. After 13 years of working with the orphanage Hope for the Children in Port-au-Prince. The boys have lived there since they were babies.

Bill and his wife, who live in Boson, decided to adopt them.

"We've just come to love them. They're just beautiful boys," said Kathy.

The teens are now living with hundreds of other orphans waiting for the U.S. and Haitian governments to sort through paperwork and unite them with their adoptive parents. It's a process that could take weeks.

"My wish for our family is for our family to be complete. And it's not going to be complete until Daniel and Steve join them," Kathy said.

She also said the State Department has not done enough to help families like hers. And she wants immediate action.

"Paperwork, whatever. Just cut through it and make it happen now," said Kathy.

More information for parents with adoptions pending in Haiti

Document Request for Pending Haitian Adoption Cases:

DHS' U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has set up a special e-mail box haitiandoptions@dhs.gov to receive scanned documentation on pending Haitian adoptee orphans. If you have already sent documentation to askci@state.gov, it will be forwarded to USCIS on your behalf.

USCIS requests that all communications from prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers should be formatted as follows:

  • Subject line: LAST NAME, First name of the adopting parent, and USCIS case number and NVC case number, if available
  • If you are adopting more than one child, please send separate e-mails for each child
  • Include the name, DOB, gender of the child, and the current location of the child in Haiti
  • Include any contact information for the child's current whereabouts
  • Please include a recent photograph of the child
  • Attachments: please limit attachments to 10 megabytes per e-mail message. If necessary, split your communication into more than one message, and indicate in the subject line the total number of e-mails and the message number (i.e. "1 of 2")

The following case documents may be useful to USCIS:

  • Full and final Haitian adoption decree
  • GOH Custody grant to prospective adoptive parents for emigration and adoption OR
  • Secondary evidence of either of the adoption or custody decree
  • Proof of travel by the prospective adoptive parents to Haiti to visit the child
  • Photos of the child and prospective adoptive parents together
  • ASP "Acceptance of Referral" letter signed by the prospective adoptive parents
  • IBESR approval
  • Legal relinquishment or award of custody to the Haitian orphanage
  • Secondary evidence of the above (e.g. e-mail correspondence, copies, ASP correspondence

Read letter from senators to Secretary Clinton on orphaned children.