Since early 2012 Heather Elyse has stated that Voice of the Orphan is "Hague compliant."

As far as we can tell, to this day Voice of the Orphan still has not received Hague accreditation. Search here for a Hague accredited agency by state.

So what does it mean to be Hague compliant?

The Hague Convention builds upon Article 21 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). It gives substance and procedures to the broad policies presented in the CRC.

"By setting out clear procedures and prohibiting improper financial gain, the Convention provides greater security, predictability and transparency for all parties to an adoption, including prospective adoptive parents. The Convention also establishes a system of co-operation between authorities in countries of origin (like Haiti) and receiving countries (like the US), designed to ensure that intercountry adoption takes place under conditions which help to guarantee the best adoption practices and elimination of abuses."

While the U.S. is party to the Hague Convention, Haiti only recently ratified the Convention in June of 2012. Haiti is not yet considered a Hague country and is carefully evaluating and changing its adoption processes prior to depositing the ratification at the Hague Permanent Bureau. All Blessings International provides a description of Haiti's Hague process here.

While Haiti may not yet be a Hague country and therefore Voice of the Orphan does not have to abide by Hague standards, we believe it is reasonable to assume that describing the program as "Hague compliant" leads families to believe that the program and staff abide by the standards set forth in the Hague Convention on International Adoption. (Some of us signed our Voice of the Contract specifically with this in mind.)

In our opinion, Voice of the  Orphan and Giving Hope Rescue Mission are not Hague compliant when analyzed in reference to the standards set forth here in the Hague Guide to Good Practice. It is our opinion that this was purposeful misrepresentation to prospective adoptive families.

Ways in which Heather/VOTO staff reference the Hague Convention:

1. To describe Voice of the Orphan and Giving Hope Rescue Mission as "Hague compliant" during a time in which Haiti is moving towards ratifying and depositing their ratification of the Hague Convention. (See tab VOTO/GHRM)

2. To explain why families cannot visit their children in Haiti.

Travel Dates 2013: until the new Hague Regulations are announced we will not be scheduling or planning any travel visits to Giving Hope in 2013. Once the regulations are announced we will communicate the travel plans as soon as possible. At this point we do not know what months will be open for visiting. We genuinely appreciate your desire and interest in planning ahead, but until the regulations are announced we can not make any decisions. Thank you for your patience!

NOTE: of course, parents can travel to pick up their kids and bring them home as soon as they have a Visa.
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3. To explain why families cannot be told where their child/ren are located.

From Heather to an adoptive family with adoption decrees for 3 children (shared with adoptive parents' permission): 

"I do not and will not give out any location to any VOTO families on the whereabouts of their children due to the fact that we have switched all things to Hague."

The following are ways in which Voice of the Orphan and Giving Hope Rescue Mission are NOT Hague "compliant", in our opinion, based on the Accreditation Standard Guide. We will be posting a series of Red Flag posts to this blog which explain further the ways in which these standards were violated. Each violation of Hague will be accompanied by a Red Flag post....

coming soon