Sunday, January 31, 2010
I want to say that all of the children are with their parents, but I don't know that for sure, so I won't post that...
This is a link to the front page article in this morning's Deseret News:
Be sure to look at the photo gallery! And have a box of tissues close...sweet photos of the families.
We don't know yet when they will be home...Chareyl is trying to arrange a less expensive way home with the airlines. She must be totally exhausted, but she is still constantly working for these children and their families. Be sure she is included on your 'Heroes' list!
I think that after everyone has had some time to cuddle children, catch up on sleep, and mentally review the happenings of the last 19 days, we will begin to hear amazing stories. There has been interventions, both govermental and divine, that those of us watching have not seen, because there simply wasn't time to stop and tell the story. There have been tears because of frustrations and roadblocks, amazement as ways around those roadblocks have appeared, lots of people holding their breath until needed things fell into place, and angels assisting all along the way. Those angels have come in the persona of company executives, organizations of every kind, government officials, caring individuals, airport officials, military personnel, and probably hundreds more that I don't know about yet.
And it all started with an earthquake.
Anonymous has left a new comment on your post I HEART Utah Hospital Task Force
That's not exactly how it went down... Its actually better. I was on the Tarmac from wheels down to wheels up and it was miracle after miracle. 1)the plane made it here in the first place 2) the pilot agreed to stay. 3) the tarmac commander agreed to let him stay, so long as he moved the plan to the "south 40" and was in the air no later then 1100. 4) the flight attendants agreed to stay 5) the charter company agreed to have the plane stay. 1100 came and went and there Sun Country N806SY sat in spot #2 dwarfed by her giant neighboring C-17s. At this point people are starting to sweat, airplanes are backing up both on the ground and in the air, company bosses are needing their plane back, etc, etc! The ICE agent in charge was the one saying he'd ground this plane before hed let it go empty, he was truly awesome. The pilot was great but the list of those who contributed to backing up the single most busy piece of tarmac in the entire world was long. From the President of the country, to the JAG adoption specialist, to the taxi driver who broke every natural law to get the packets from the embassy to the airport - there were countless miracles. I put one little boy named Ramone in the seat on the plane and he said in his broken english. "I go home". That is what its all about.
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Brent's 39th birthday was yesterday.
The day he carried our son back onto US soil. The day that ended his Macgyver-esque adventure in Haiti. The day that 3/4 of my family was finally on the same continent and it was MY continent.
I don't think there are words to describe how proud I am of Brent and what he's done... the example he's set for our son.
Brent's large in stature and larger in heart. For some reason, adults kinda shy away from him and every child instantly knows he's a human jungle gym.
He was meant to be a dad.
And today, finally, he's sleeping in America with his son. And they're dirty and exhausted, but they can fix those things.
I leave in a couple hours to catch a plane to Miami.
I can't wait to see my boys.
I love you, Brent. Thank you for being one of my heros.
that's my husband laying on the ground in his camo cowboy hat
Before you read further, we have contacted USCIS and the Embassy about the error and let them know that he AND his two siblings were approved for Humanitarian Parole on the 24th. I have personally talked to the Haitian Adoption Task Force in DC (Hi, Angie) and Congressman Larsen's office has called me and they are ON IT. We're hoping we can get Fabrice to Miami tomorrow when his mom and dad are there to pick up his adoptive brother and sister.
So know that we're trying to fix it.
But also read this article from the Des News about the issue
Last time, when Fabrice was finally meeting his forever family, he very patiently waited until all the people had eaten and then he started loading up two pizza boxes with every piece and crust he could find. He explained he was taking it back so his friends at the orphanage could try it.
Thanks for your example, Fab.
He'll come home. I hope it's tomorrow.
Friday, January 29, 2010
We have the final word. Sen. Hatch said they have to go through the process in Miami. Even category 1 children will be staying in Miami.
The children are being taken to the shelter right now and the charter plane has left. This has left the volunteers stranded in Miami so Laura Trinnaman is working on getting them home.
The shelter is supposed to have the information about who is category 1 and who is 2. So when you go there they can either give you your child (if they are category 1) or let you know the status of your category 2 child and when you can take them. Lori has sent all the paperwork electronically to them so hopefully they are working on it now and your children will be released sooner??
Even though no one wants to see their children go the shelter, they are on U.S. soil and they will be cared for and fed. And as someone noted in an email sometime today “they have come home months or even years sooner” than expected.
What he's done is just "not done" amongst airline pilots.
It's like the mob ratting out someone else....
Or one of the Smurfs turning to the dark side....
I'm so tired.
I hear that his company backed up his decision today. Thank you Sun Country.
But just in case the FAA or whomever polices these things tries to come down on him, will you help me get the word out?
Mr. Yockers should not be reprimanded or suspended or even yelled at.
He should be praised, thanked and kissed by all these families that wouldn't have our babies home without him.
He should be used as an example of doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason.
It should be used as when to stand for something - even if standing for something causes international flight patterns to be disrupted somehow for the day.
Please - don't hurt Mr. Yockers.
He saved these kids. He saved us.
Brent says "with as many children as there are here we'll be here for hours just getting through DHS"
She said that the Red Cross was allowed to come into the area where our group is waiting.... and that they've been fed and that "everything is just great"
Remember that Ms. Davis works for the AIRPORT and not for the government.
She said she'll call be back in about 10 minutes with a more accurate update - she's just walking into the room where they are.
We're hearing that some families are being recategorized from Category I orphans to Category II orphans. The significance of that is that Cat I orphans just have to be cleared by DHS and then they can go home with their families while Cat II orphans have to be cleared by the Office of Refugee Resettlement (which is a group used to dealing with famlies that need sponsors. They're just trying to do their jobs, but their process and laws are meant for a different group of people).
I'll post more when I hear more.
I'll post about that later. I'm calling it (only semi jokingly) the "toddler body cavity search and orphan concentration camp" program.
I'll keep you posted
I love this man. Thank you for taking a stand and doing the right thing when no one else would listen.
Thank you for listening to your conscience.
Thank you for being THE MAN today.
Thank you for risking things for these babies who couldn't speak loud enough for anyone to listen to them. Thank you for being their voice and their symbol and literally LIFTING THEM HOME.
You are my hero. You are my son's hero. You are our hero.
I know you probably wouldn't want the attention - but I want people to know that you are a man among men.
Thank you for being an example for all of us.
We love you and we thank you for bringing our people home.
Nate and Brent should be boarding soon!
Still waiting on confirmation what's next.
Will keep you posted and get word out as soon as I can.
This article from the Deseret News seems to be the most accurate from what we've heard, so far.
There are some families that were notified yesterday that their families had not been granted humanitarian parole. They know who they are. It's not that they do not qualify, it's that they weren't processed "in time".
Thank you DN for printing accurate info:
Haitian children stand by waiting plane for clearance to fly to Utah
Joy that the days'—long logjam had apparently ended was tempered as Americans and Haitians haggled over how many children had completed the appropriate paperwork to leave. What started out early Friday with a report that 141 orphans would leave dwindled to 66 and then down to 52.
There were long faces and tears as 14 children were told they won't be going today because their paperwork isn't complete.
"It's so ridiculous," said an angry Chareyl Moyes of Ogden who is Wasatch International Adoptions program manager for Haiti. She has been in Haiti for days trying to deal with the paperwork. "All of the kids were approved, they just didn't make the list today."
Lindsay Crapo, who works with Foyer de Sion orphanage in Fontemara, explained to the 14 through translator Roosevelt Richard of Vernal that they still have a mommy and a daddy and that they'll just have to get them on another plane later.
Efforts to move the children through the U.S. State Department's "humanitarian parole" process to unite them with already-designated adoptive families had apparently stalled. But orphanage officials and Highland resident Steve Studdert, who arrived in here late Thursday night with the 130-member Utah Hospital Task Force, met with the Haitian president this morning and it got a jump start. Until the children are on the plane and in the air, however, those close to the story are hesitant to declare it a done deal.
The children have yet to board the plane.
"I'm not holding my breath yet," said David Aitken, an Eagle Mountain businessman who is adopting three children from Haiti. "We've been so close so many times in the past 48 hours. I'm almost afraid to hope. I don't think I can take it any more."
Early Friday, optimism was running high enough that tap-taps — the brightly colored little Haitian buses — were delivering the freshly scrubbed children from the Foyer de Sion orphanage to the flight line, where they were provided water as they sat on the tarmac waiting to load. Then, as it got hotter and time passed, volunteers told the children to hang onto a rope as they moved them to a red-and-white-striped tent near an empty terminal. Soon after, 17 members of the task force returned to the airport to care for and entertain the children while they wait.
Orphanage volunteer Scott Gordon, a Washington man with Ogden ties, expressed both joy and frustration. "It's a good deal. And it's a couple of days late. We took care of the paperwork, arranged our own flight and to have 25 layers of bureaucracy seems inappropriate at this point. I am extremely glad, though, that it's finally happening."
If nothing changes — and the situation has yo-yoed back-and-forth all week — the group is now expected to fly to Miami on the same Sun Country 737 that brought the task force to Haiti Thursday night. It's not yet clear what will happen once they go through customs in Miami. It is also unknown whether children bound for Utah and other Intermountain West states will fly on to Salt Lake City, as earlier planned, or if they will remain in Florida to be united with their adoptive families over coming days.
The children had been in the process of obtaining humanitarian parole status when Haitian and U.S. government decisions effectively froze the exodus of any children from the quake-torn country. But elected officials and advocates kept pushing. The final talks began as soon as the Utah Hospital Task Force touched down in Haiti late Thursday night and continued Friday morning.
Studdert, a former Reagan Administration official, had taken a sheaf of letters from U.S. and United Nations officials encouraging a decision to allow the children to leave. He and orphanage leaders met with Haitian officials at about 8:30 a.m. local time.
"The president of Haiti couldn't have been nicer," he said immediately after. "We are just waiting for the prime minister to return (he was reportedly in Canada). We have gone through all (the paperwork) and the ambassador has signed all of them."
The plane is expected to take off, filled with children, orphanage volunteers and two doctors recruited from the task force group that arrived to provide humanitarian relief. If there's room, several others who have been in Haiti trying to help are expected to hitch a lift home, including a Haitian native who lives in Vernal and a relief worker from Virginia.
Although the signature has been obtained, the children have not yet been allowed to board the plane. What happens after that won't be known until the group reaches Miami. The Utah group was speculating that some of the parents may not yet know their kids are coming.
Contributing: Elizabeth Stuart
We're keeping in touch with the group on the ground and they're still waiting.
We've been getting pictures from our group on the ground. This one of our friend's boys being held by a soldier really touched me.
They're being taken care of.
I've received pics of some of our babies asleep on cots and you can see the brave men and women in our armed services standing by.
This is going to happen.
People asked about Jessica.
This is where I can tell you that I've had to not give you the whole story this week because I have had a job to do here and I can't grieve and coordinate at the same time.
She's not coming home. Not this trip.
Here's the info I used in email to try to calm another worried mother yesterday:
So, let me let you in on a little secret.
We probably will not be bringing home our Jessica. Her birth father took her (I don't know if you read my blog so I'll just explain again) a month ago because he was mad at her birth mother and used Jess as a pawn.
At first he wanted us to pay him to get her back then he calmed down and they said that he "did want to bring her back but that he wanted to spend a little time with her first".
Then all hell broke loose and the earth moved and the ground shook and buildings fell.
When we finally found her (which was last Sunday, the 24th), he told our creche director that he'd changed his mind and he no longer wanted to relinquish her. My husband, who is down on the ground in Haiti, found someone to drive him out to where the birth father was (2 hours each way from PAP) to try to talk to the birth father. He'd neither talk to Brent nor would he let him see Jessica. Not even to say goodbye.
Brent said the villagers were all out watching this spectacle and that his translator told him that all of them were shouting at the birth father to let her go - let her really have a life. He wouldn't budge.
I'd been strong until then. That's when I lost it.
I know trying not to cry and I know crying, sister. I'm right there with you.
I've had to put my own grieving aside and focus on trying to get this plane arranged and these governments to move and people to care and someone to listen. I've been very blessed to have a day job that told me my family (and therefore all your families) is more important and they've let me just walk away from my job to try to do what I can to fix this.
See, I'm a project manager by trade. That's what I do - get people to work together, communicate, remove roadblocks and reach the goal. I've used every skill I have and some I never knew I had. Maybe when this is all over, I'll start updating my blog with what's REALLY been happening this week.
I've felt like I'm carrying all our kids on my shoulders sometimes. That I have to personally get them home. And then I have to remember that I've never been "in charge" here. This is God's work. They were His children before I ever thought about them being mine. All I can do is the best I can do and then I need to pray and expect miracles.
I've had to realize that His plan for Jess might not be what my plan for Jess was. But, at the end of the day, THE LORD NEVER CHEATS ANYONE.
I have to trust. I have to move forward in faith. I have to believe that there's a reason that the flight time was changed by "the military" (read that "Heavenly Father") and we got an extra 20 hours.
Hang in there.
So, No, Miss Jess isn't on the plane. She won't be on the plane today. But the birth father changed his mind before and he might change his mind again. I still feel like she's my daughter and we'll keep trying to keep the lines of communication open so we can bring her home if he does change his mind again.
They have all the HLAH and FdS kids with American parents have been working on Humanitarian Parole there with them.
Right now they're not letting anyone board. Still waiting.
I hear we have 2 hours to get PM sigs. PRAY.
I swear - I don't make this stuff up. This is REALLY my life...
Thursday, January 28, 2010
From: "Shaffer, Sarah F"
I wanted to take a moment to connect with you after all the confusion of the afternoon and your children’s status. Congressman Larsen’s office contacted us on your behalf to try to clear up the situation; the staffer told us that the Prime Minister had authorized a judge to sign off on your children’s paperwork and to allow the children to leave tonight. This is not the case.
The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince is aware of your case and USCIS has confirmed that they have the children’s letters in hand at the embassy. They have not been signed by a judge, nor has a judge authorized the children’s travel to the United States. The Haitian Prime Minister has instituted a travel ban until he can review all documentation for each case. No judge in Haiti has the authority to override the ban.
Please do not go to the embassy tonight; you will have to wait until the morning to get service. Your children will also not be able to depart Haiti until the Prime Minister has finalized the review process and looked at their cases. The State Department Adoptions Task Force will contact you immediately when we hear that the children have been approved for travel.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions,
Adoptions Task Force Coordinator
(Before you read this, please keep in mind that I have been babysitting 2 two year-olds all day with little to no food in an orphanage with over 100 children. I am beyond frustrated at the amount of red tape for such a simple thing.)
If the Prime Minister must approve our files why is he leaving for Canada in the middle of the night?
With him gone where do we stand?
If this is a Haitian government issue, why are children from Canada and other countries allowed to leave?
If they knew that we had arranged a flight on our dime why drag their feet? This is not a Haitian issue - it is a United States of America issue. There currently is no operational Haitian government. We have provided everything that has been requested in triplicate and have followed every rule as people in decision making positions have come up with them.
I feel like we are the punchline in the biggest practical joke pulled. Do these American Lawmakers realize that these are American Citizens that they are hurting? These children are going to be American citizens and this ridiculous run around is inappropriate.
And I do not believe that the Haitian government is behind all of this confusion.
I understand that you are frustrated with the situation. The situation is not ideal, and you can believe me when I say that we are as frustrated with the lack of clarity we have been offered by the Haitian Government. However, the United States are a sovereign nation and must acknowledge that Haiti – disaster or not – is the same. Until the children actually immigrate to the United States, the children are Haitian citizens and cannot travel without authorization from the Haitian government.
We recognize that the current limbo does not benefit the children, and the USCIS and Consular officers at the embassy are working as hard as possible to process cases so that when the travel ban is lifted, we can get the approved children out as quickly as possible. The Ambassador is also working hard to coordinate with the Prime Minister to resolve our questions about the process and get children moving up to the United States. As soon as we have clarity on the process and can begin sending approved children to the United States, we will be reaching out to all parents and orphanages to coordinate the children’s travel. Please do not stress yourself or the children further in the meantime by travelling to the embassy for updates. [Lori's addition: "do not stress yourself"?? IS SHE SERIOUS?? DOES SHE KNOW WHAT THEY'RE LIVING IN RIGHT NOW? This isn't a vacation. LIVING IN HAITI RIGHT NOW stresses myself, my husband, my children, my friends' children....]
I cannot answer your question about why the Prime Minister is travelling at this time, and can only repeat that we are trying to get answers so that we can process and move these children as quickly as possible. In the meantime, please have the orphanage contact the task force if the food and water supplies are not able to be replenished. We can forward that information on to those coordinating aid for orphanages.
Sarah ShafferAdoptions Task Force Coordinator
Thank you for your timely response and your understanding of my frustration. I have been dealing with the Haitian government since 2008 and they were not the least bit organized before this disaster.
I have a very hard time believing there are even enough officials to hold a proper meeting.
Can you please inquire around as to why the French and Canadian children are free to leave and the United States children are not?
I also have a hard time believing that we are offering a billion dollar relief program and the United States can't apply a little pressure on whoever is making the decisions this week.
It is completely beyond reason that they would not be excited to clear as many orphanage beds as possible to make room for children who have just lost their parents.
I am a firm believer in common sense and when decisions are made that defy common sense I get the impression that something is fishy.
UNICEF is behind this mess and they are experts at defecting the attention. They use the "ask the other guy game" until everyone just gives up. They exert their will through games - exactly like the one we are seeing here.
Again sorry for the ranting and raving.
I won't do it anymore. Please keep me up to date and I will keep my emails short and sweet.
I cried and then I told her that I really appreciated that but that until my children were on this continent I wasn't sure who to believe anymore.
So... this is why I say, "Stay put". If we can get word that they're moving we can figure out where exactly our children have been put or which shelter they are being moved to.
Stay tuned for more details.
I don't even know what to say. We have done everything we could think of to try to make this smooth and efficient and easy on our families and, especially the children. We've found out in the last few hours that it isn't enough.
Here's the latest.
1. We all have Humanitarian Parole. Now we need the Prime Minister's signature in order for our children to be authorized to leave the country.
2. While Chareyl was at the Embassy this afternoon, they announced that the Prime Minister was leaving - for Canada. What Chareyl told me was that unless you could take someone to wherever he was immediately and stand in front of him until he chose to sign your papers, there was nothing they could do.
3. Additionally, we have been trying to make this transition as painless as possible for the children. We've been working for days with all the different agencies and departments trying to make sure we have every T crossed and I dotted.
I cannot even begin to tell you what we've been through in the last week and a half, trying to wade through the marsh of bureaucracy so that you wouldn't have to. We've tried to prep agencies and groups and make everyone aware of these children and this group and their plight. I have made the comment several times in the last week that I could not see how it was possible that I could be doing this as my volunteer full-time job for so many days and still have gov't departments give me new "requirements" and processes and signatures needed for each department to be happy.
Just a couple of hours ago, we were notified.... well, I won't even go into all the random stuff that we've been notified.
Here's the short list:
If you Child is Category II (which nearly all of us are)
When the Prime Minister or other appropriate Haitian official finally decides to sign the paperwork and our children are finally released to travel, we have no say in what happens to them for the next 2-3 days. The child will be taken to Miami and will be taken into custody of the OOR. They will take your child to a shelter in Miami. They have suggested that we do NOT arrive at the Miami Airport as you won't be able to see them there. The children will be taken via back ways to ensure that they aren't a media spectacle.
When the OOR knows when our children are arriving (because the PM has finally signed the paperwork) we'll be notified of which shelter will have them. They said they will send me out a "Welcome Letter" to tell us which hotels are in the area of the shelters where the children will be. You will be able to go and visit them and play with them during the day, but at night they will be staying at the shelter and you will be returning to your hotel. They said it typically takes 2-3 days for their process to confirm all is well with the child and that you are who you say you are, etc, etc, etc.
I tried. I really did. I am still sending them the packets that they said they could preprocess and I'm hoping that they will actually do that and that it will shorten the time your children will be in a shelter.
At this point, we have esclated to Senators Hatch and Crapo and Congressman Larsen as well as anyone else that would listen to my friend Brian at Utah - DHS. We're demanding that the US government find an alternative to the signature of a Prime Minister who obviously doesn't put the children first.
I would suggest you stay where you are for the moment. If they fix the signature fiasco and get someone else to authorize the files, we'll be on the next plane to Miami and you'll need to know which shelter your child(ren) wil be at. If they don't fix the signature fiasco, you'll need to be able to escalate and rally your local elected officials.
I think I'll start to send you some of the emails that outline what we've been through these last days. I feel like we've tried - all the way along - to do what we were asked to do and be "good citizens" and because our children weren't lucky enough to have the lousy Haitian process get them "far enough along" that our government could consider them Category I orphans. Those kids skip all this OOR shelter crap.
These poor kids have been the victim over and over and over again. They just can't catch a break. And neither can their families.
I'll keep you posted if I get any news. I wish this had worked out. We are still going to send the packets down, as I mentioned and I hope that will make things easier for your families when you do hit a border somewhere.
First, remember that the majority of folks who have been doing all of the support work for the members of Team Hope do not do this for a living. That goes for many of those on the ground in Haiti, taking care of a very large number of children who are sleeping on the ground or on cement because "there is no room in the inn"...the orphanage Foyer de Sion has at least 200 more children now than they did 16 days ago. There are some VERY understanding bosses who have let us (I'm one of the newer members of this support team) take time away from our regular jobs to do anything and everything we can possible think of that might make it easier for our babies to get on the plane that is going to Haiti....hopefully soon.
I'm sitting in a room that has four computers and three printer/scanners and tables stacked with files for each family and each child in each family. Every printer has gone through at least one set of ink cartridges. In the last two days! We've (and that is a number of people between 5 and 10, depending on time of day and who is available) been creating paper files for one government entity, and electronic files for another government entity - both from our country but apparently not allowed to talk to each other! That is the only reason I can see for two different formats!
We have been pouring over emails and faxes from those families I just mentioned to collect the needed documents that they have scrambled to get to us.
As I type, there are phone calls and email both coming from and going to every government agency you can possibly imagine that might have any influence on whatever road blocks we have tried to anticipate. If we can strike first, and get the solution started, it might make it easier for kids to get home.
One of my reasons for writing this post is to make you aware that Lori, who is spearheading the support from here, has hardly stopped to eat or sleep in the last 16 days! As her mother, I am proud, impressed, amazed, and in awe of this woman. She prays, worries, and prays some more, for every family that might be connected with this longed-for flight home. She knows the names of your children as well as she does her own Nathan and Jessica.
There are some amazing people who have joined us in these gigantic endeavor. Brian Hyer, of the Department of Homeland Security, working out of Salt Lake City is the embodiment of Superman, the Energizer Bunny, and that snuggly little Downy Fabric Softener bear. His endless efforts to anticipate what will be needed, and how can it be provided have made me want to start a Brian Hyer Fan Club! Anyone interested in posters, maybe?
The offices of Senator Crapo, from Idaho, and Senator Hatch, from Utah have been diligent in keeping us informed of any progress they have been able to make. Congressman Larsen, from Washington State is another friend who has been working overtime for us.
Team Hope on the ground in Haiti has done a yeoman effort to get the needed visas from the US Embassy...Chareyl Moyes has been at the embassy every day, standing in unimaginable lines, doing everything she knows to get approval for travel for these kids. Then, she goes back and sleeps on the cement with the kids every night. I've heard from Chareyl and Brent that, as difficult as it is to sleep on the ground, it's more difficult when the continuing aftershocks cause the children to panic. Can we possibly imagine the terror these little ones experience when the ground moves yet again?
Some day, maybe you will hear what has really gone on the last couple of weeks! This has been a carnival ride of grand proportions. "Please keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times"
Until then, please continue to pray. Pray that multiple agencies will learn to play nicely together in the sandbox (a phrase Lori has used more than once this morning). Pray that the Prime Minister will be more concerned about children's welfare than his political image. Pray that the children will continue to have food and water. Pray that the parents will have patience, especially if this takes longer than we want it to. Pray that Haiti will be able to rebuild. And, while you are at it, offer prayers of gratitude for Team Hope.
So this morning, I get this picture from Scott Gordon of Team Hope who is on the ground at the O:
Dressed in rags today.
Nathan woke up with the nastiest tar slick butt I have ever seen. Brent didn't even know where to start. I took the boy straight to the bath line and left Brent to figure out how to fix the floor and the pile of certified hazardous waste.
I heard his cry a little later went to check it out. Apparently the little bugger didn't want a bath very much today and had formed up in the post bath/getting dressed line with tar still all over his lower parts. Well some other little ones ratted him out and started complaining about the poop covered boy standing in the clean line. (apparently this is a self policing society)
So I escorted the guilt party (tar poop boy) back to the tub and the next time I saw him he was sporting this rag outfit.
I thought it wouldn't kill him to look a little ghetto on his last day. I promise to make sure he looks good on the way out the door.
PLEASE HEAVENLY FATHER - Help us clear these last few roadblocks to get them on that plane!!!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
We want you to know that Team Hope has been interviewed by NBC Nightly News, for a story that will be aired tonight!
Also, remember that the Nightly News will be on early because of the State of the Union speech!
I saw you on CNN the other night. Very sorry to hear about "your palace". I can kind of imagine what that would be like. In America we have a building we call the White House, but it doesn't belong to the President, it belongs to the people.
I have been waiting patiently since Sunday night to hear what you're going to announce for Haiti's new process to document and record the children that are coming home to American Parents.
I have been praying for you personally, sir. I have been praying that you are lead to a creative, efficient, solution that will help your government feel like they can account for your children and let me get my children home to beds in America.
Cause really, see, they're BOTH of our children. Mine and yours. We're the same in this area.
I want you to know that my babies are sleeping on the ground right now in the courtyard of an orphanage that has taken in the children from MULTIPLE other orphanages. Our building collapsed. My orphans are homeless. And every time another after shock comes they all start screaming hysterically because they are so scared. They need their mommies.
I thought I would take a moment to remind you of the last new documentation process my husband and I experienced with the Haitian government. You might remember it. The one where we were required to appear before a Haitian judge and prove that we "cared about the children".
This is the link to that story, President Preval. All we did last time was sign a Mead Spiral Notebook and hand your judge $100 in cold hard US cash. (http://countdowntohomecoming.blogspot.com/2009/11/is-that-judge-in-your-pocket-or.html)
It was documented. You were happy. We went on our way.
I have friends on the ground right now. I have my husband and children on the ground right now. I can ask them to find you a notebook and some money if that's that it takes for you to feel comfortable.
It worked last time.
Maybe if you and I work together we can get these babies home. Our plane leaves in 2 days.
Jess and Nathan's Mama
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
These fine gentlemen came representing the Freemasons. They dropped off car seats for me. Two car seats. You have no idea how strongly I am praying that I get to use both of them.
I have been so impressed by the GOOD PEOPLE that have come forward to help many of the families I know in this situation.
Monday, January 25, 2010
People amaze me.
$10K in a little over 24 hours.
God can move mountains.
God can fuel a jet.
God can change the government's hearts and get them to make a decision in time for our children to be on the plane.
That plane is flying into PAP with humanitarian supplies one way or the other. We need our babies to be on that plane when it takes off a few hours later.
Thank you for moving a financial mountain. All these funds are going to be used to get these families together.
Now we ask for your continued prayers that we find a way to get those children on that plane.
We do have to rebuild the orphanage and continue to assist the people that are staying behind.
We have friends that are like our family that our left in Haiti.
Our dear friend Harry said, "I hope that life can come back soon to Haiti. Now it is dead. There is no life. There is no work. There is nothing."
The nonprofit that you've donated to supports HAITI, so anything that does not go to to jet fuel will be used to rebuild for the families that can't leave.
Haiti will still be there even when our babies are home.
Haiti and her people... still need us.
Thank you for your continued support. Sometimes God can work miracles out of disaster. And if one of the miracles is that people are more aware of the mess that Haiti is in then I am grateful for that miracle.
From: Sisk, Jennifer Sent: Monday, January 25, 2010
"Update on Haitian Adop
I’ll start with the good news: Over 200 Haitian orphans have been brought to the United States and have been released to their permanent families.
For the children who were in the adoption process who remain in Haiti, I know that you have been hearing disturbing news about the halting of the processing of these adoptions. The Haitian government has asked that a better process be set up to let them know which children are leaving Haiti. This change in policy came about due to concerns by the Haitian government that children were leaving who did not fall under conditions pre-approved by the Haitian government. The Department of State is working on an overall procedure to allay the Haitian government’s concerns. In the meantime the Embassy in Haiti and the Department of Homeland Security(DHS) in Washington, D.C. is still processing children and paperwork. We are being told that no specific quota has been set of numbers of children from any particular agency or group whose paperwork can be processed in a given day. The only thing that U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Department of State have halted is the actual physical handing over of travel documents. Senator Udall is continuing to talk with the State Department about these recent developments and how our office can ensure all these children are united with their families immediately.
Once children reach the United States, there is a chain of custody that is as follows: Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and then to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and finally to Health and Human Services (HHS).Those children who come in under humanitarian parole are being processed at the port of entry. Their entering the United States does not automatically result in the transfer of custody to the parents. The job of HHS is to grant custody to the adoptive families. There have been instances of children being put overnight in group facilities in order to rest or get medical care, but so far the process has been successful in placing children with their adoptive families.
I believe I have a reasonably accurate list of the children who have been united with their permanent families. Please continue to e-mail me if our office can help in your particular case.
Jennifer Sisk | Legislative Correspondent | U.S. Senator Mark E. Udall |
So what does this mean? Perhaps it means that they really are still working on the paperwork and they just aren't allowed to give it to us.
That plane is going to PAP on Thursday to deliver humanitarian supplies one way or another. Now we need to pray that Haitian government can come to a quick resolution to this current situation so that when that plane leaves - our babies can be on it.
(or as they sing on "Finding Nemo" - Just Keep Swimming")
Chareyl arrived at the Embassy today and was notified that the Haitian government has put a freeze on everything. (Anyone else smell UNICEF)
She said they told her that they cannot even give her the paperwork that has been approved until the government gives them direction.
She said that Secretary Clinton and DHS and President Preval, etc, etc are in a meeting right now trying to negotiate things.
The Embassy is turning away all people for appointments and telling them to come back tomorrow.
Chareyl says this is all very political. Haiti had lifted their exit requirements and now they've revoked that and they want to approve every child leaving.
I believe this explains why we stopped getting phone calls yesterday from DHS regarding file approvals.
I also believe there is a reason our miracle flight was arranged for THURSDAY when we wanted TUESDAY.
We need to continue to pray, folks. We need some leaders' hearts softened. We need them to be inspired to find a way for them to process their Haitian Government approval that will make them happy and that our files that are down there will meet.
We have approved I-171Hs, we have pictures of parents and passports and pictures of parents with the children. We have the proof of relationship.
Chareyl says there is NOTHING that anyone in any US government can do. This is a HAITIAN GOVERNMENT decision. It won't matter who is there. You can't fly there and make it any different than what Chareyl is getting. I know you want to DO because that's what PARENTS do.
This time all parents can do is PRAY, PRAY, PRAY. You can get mad. You can cry. Just make sure you move on to PRAY.
We need PRAYERS. WE NEED MIRACLES STILL.
I think we still move forward with faith and book flights (with insurance in case we have to make a change) and move forward trusting that God will DELIVER.
I will keep you posted if I get any more information. Chareyl is going to continue to try to get into the Embassy so that the instant Haiti has a decision we can pick up our paperwork.
I'll keep you posted.
We have a plane, we have a plane, we have a plane!!!!! Please stop and say a prayer of thanks.
A group that would prefer we don't mention their names has arranged a flight going into Haiti with humanitarian supplies. They have been given a slot to land on Thursday. They will unload their cargo. They will check off and load the kids. Then they are coming home to SALT LAKE CITY UTAH.
They have some doctors and nurses going down on the plane to return with the children to make sure everyone is getting everything they need as soon as possible. I told them, "They all look really healthy" and he said, 'Then they'll snuggle the children who are scared".
And then I cried a little bit more.
Chareyl is at the Embassy now. She will be there all day long picking up Humanitarian Paroles. I will notify you as I get confirmation that she has your child's paperwork in her hot little hand as the day progresses.
They're coming home, ladies and gentlemen! They're coming home!!
Still issues in the "Finding Jessica" department. All the other children have been rounded up. We've had so many miracles, I have to trust that the Lord knows what is best for my daughter and put this in His Hands. He has a plan for Miss Jess. I hope it's the same plan I have for her.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
We do have a FEW very generous people that are willing to put in large amounts of money to get us jet fuel to get home.
That's Plan A. That gave us what we needed to tell the people trying to find us a plane that we can pay for it. Please find us a plane. Please get us home.
What if we could ease that burden a bit. What if we could find smaller amounts from a larger number of people. What if each of you reading this could find someone to give $10? What if some of you reading this could find someone else to give $100? What if some of you reading this knew Bill Gates, or Daddy Warbucks, or just some people who are able to bear that burden and those few people could give $1,000?
If you've already donated, will you see who else you know can assist? If you're not in a position to spare $10, will you find someone else who can?
Will you help me? Will you see if you can find us $10? $25? $100? $1,000?
On my blog http://countdowntohomecoming.blogspot.com is a PayPal Donate button. On Facebook on the Hope for Little Angels of Haiti is a PayPal donate button. On http://hopeforlittleangelsofhaiti.org under "DONATE" is... (wait for it).... a PayPal donate button.
Will you help me see if there's a Plan B here? Can more people help to bear this burden that it, too, may be light?
Still working with Department of Homeland Security, and the groups mentioned before on the plane.
Let's fuel it, shall we?
Saturday, January 23, 2010
We get so many interesting questions when people find out that Jessica was taken by her birth father last month. The first question is, "If she has parents, how is she an orphan?"
How many babies placed for adoption in the "good ol' US of A" really have NO birth parents? Work with me, people.
Just like in America, Haitian birth parents can make the judgment call that their child would be better raised in different circumstances by different people. Unfortunately in Haiti, one of the factors that often leads parents to make this decision is the fact that they can't afford to feed their children.
Jessica's birth mother has been working at the orphanage where Jessica has been living. In fact, the reason that Jessica (and her half sister who is 5) are so healthy is because their birth mother HAS been there and has been nursing them this whole time. Don't freak out. It's cheaper to nurse a child than to feed them. Just be grateful that YOU have been spared being placed in a situation where you had to make that decision.
We've met her birth mother. I've posted about it before.
What we were told is that in December, Jessica's birth father (who lives somewhere else - not in PAP) and Jessica's birth mother got into some sort of disagreement. As a way to "get back at her", Jessica's birth father came to the orphanage and took her. We've been through this before. The police won't help. There's nothing the orphanage can do. And we, who have loved and prayed and been with this girl for since she was 18 months old have no rights in Haiti.
Initially, Jessica's birth father told the orphanage that he wanted us to PAY HIM for Jessica's return. In every country I'm aware of that's called child trafficking or kidnapping and we don't play that game. If we even THOUGHT about paying him for our child... can you even imagine the havoc that would break lose in Haiti if people thought they could make money selling children??
Our contacts in Haiti assured us that they had been working through friends of Jessica's birth father, that he had calmed down, that he no longer wanted money but that he decided he wanted to spend some time with her while he had her. "He doesn't want to raise her," we've been told. "He just wants to spend a couple of weeks with her before she goes to America forever"
Then all hell broke lose and the earth moved and buildings fell and Jessica's birth father is no longer in the place where he was before the earthquake.
Abel (the house manager from our O) and I hope Brent are going out tomorrow. Abel's starting with the people that knew him and the place he knew he lived and they'll work from there. Heavenly Father knows where my little girl is. He knows how to get her hooked back up with Abel and back in her "papa mwen's" arms.
He also knew how to get us $10K for jet fuel. So who am I to complain if His timing in getting Jessica back to us doesn't line up how I think it should??
God is in charge.
"For God knoweth all things and there is not anything save He knows it." (2 Nephi 9:20)
Somewhere out there is the plane we need, is the last of the DHS approvals we need (families have been notified this evening that they're approved - they're starting to be completed!!) and my little girl that I need. I'm going to be selfish on that one. I need my daughter.
But HE knows where she is and HE will provide.
Just like he did with the jet fuel.
It is so amazing when God pulls all of us together for a mutual cause.
These kids have been touching lives and they aren't even home yet. They are strong souls. They are going to be awesome people. They're going to continue to make a difference.
I've been working like crazy trying to coordinate things for Team Hope on the ground, the Embassy, Senators, Congressmen, concerned parents, and organizations like the Freemasons who have offered to help these families that are trying to bring babies home.
Then today I got a call from Chareyl that they needed a plane. "Can you find us a ride home?" I'm on it....
I'd just hung up with Chris Smart at the SL Trib and I called him back and said, "Chris, how much do you like me?" and told him my situation and asked him who he'd start calling. So he gave me some numbers. I started calling.
People are willing to help but jet fuel is expensive. I spoke with Kathy with Jeremy Johnson's group and she said she'd start making calls. "Do you have money to defray the costs of jet fuel because it will be a lot easier to get someone to let us use their plane if we can offset the costs of jet fuel." So we started making calls and we believe we have the $10K we need for jet fuel lined up. It's been a day of miracles.
Now I just need a plane.....
The Department of Homeland Security is working on that with me and the LDS Church Emergency Services as well as Jeremy Johnson's group. Everyone is very positive that they can find a flight that meets our needs (seating as many people as we have and coming to the USA on Tuesday.)
Please keep praying. Miracles are happening, but we're not out of the woods yet.
This is the update I sent out to the group tonight:
OK.... Remember we're working with Haiti and things sometimes run on Haitian Standard Time...
I heard from Chareyl and Nadia is bringing 'the country kids" (as they're referring to the Meuzelaars, Vania and Z) tomorrow. She didn't get them to Fontamara today. I know this will frustrate many of you, but I think it demonstrates how comfortable they are that they are being cared for in their current location.
Also, I've only had one family receive an email from DHS and it's definitely not required that you get that email. They may not send them at all. Heaven knows they have better things to do than send confirmation emails. :) So don't stress if you do not receive one.
Also, I've been working today to arrange a plane. I want you all to know that we were able to round up $10K in donations today from large contributors to pay for jet fuel. I'm still working out the logistics of the plane and when and where and such and will contact you all as soon as I have anything firm enough to book your own plane tickets against.
Please, please know that there are so many miracles in this whole process. Please don't lose faith if there are a few bumps (like missing emails from DHS or children that stay one more day with their birth families) here at the end.
Friday, January 22, 2010
The good news first - she has been able to submit all our paperwork - the entire group.
She has a return appointment to pick up the Humanitarian parole paperwork for our group on Monday. She said she will have to stand in line again then, and it may be 8 hours again before she gets through the line.
Because of this, they're working with the Church of Scientology and other groups to try to get our kids out on Tuesday. We should definitely be done with the paperwork by then.
I also just talked to Team Hope. Brent said all the children look "really good", particularly for what they've been through. He said the Scientologists told UNICEF where our group is at the Fontamara branch of Foyer de Sion, and UNICEF brought water containers and blankets for everyone. He said the children are all spread out blankets outside under the stars, giggling when they should be sleeping. Obviously that makes it sound idyllic, but he said, "I cannot believe the resiliency of these children's souls.
We're not out of the woods yet. We still need to get the last few children transported to Fontamara. We need to find Jessica. We need the poor woman at the Embassy (yes, two workers for the hundreds of people wanting Humanitarian Parole... I'm contacting Senators when I'm done here...) to be blessed with the superhuman strength she needs to finish the task placed before her. We need our paperwork approved. We need to find a flight home. We need our babies home.
Have you thought, recently, about how incredibly blessed you are to have been born where you were to the people you were born to with the country you have?
Please, help us by keeping the prayers up.
It's a been 10 days since the earthquake. The media is already bored with Haiti. I can see the shift in their focus. Haiti and her people are going to need our help for a long, long time to come.
As I've said before, it's the old rule we learned on the kindergarten playground: You need to take care of everyone littler than you. Even if they're only "littler" because of the circumstances of the country into which they were born.
Lunch time and Avrie is distracted for a moment.
She is in a good mood and giving nice kisses she wants to be held all the time and of course I can only stand.
I am impressed at the amount of aid here. We were at the airport for about two hours and I was able to get around a bit because I escorted our trucks in. The runway use full of Air Force cargo jets - the new ones. There was an American airlines plane with a load of water. At the end of the runway an entire tent city has sprung to life. There are thousands of people here to support the Haitian people.
We drove the streets at night and it is heartbreaking to see families wrapped in blankets sleeping on the streets, on sidewalks, in the back of trucks and everywhere they can find a safe place.
They have lost everything but their pride and determination.
The weather is pleasant and camping on the streets is second to the need of food and water. When the rainy season comes this will not work and I fear that the suffering will increase greatly.
We traveled on main streets and for the most part they were clear. We did not take any direct routes so it is clear that many main streets are blocked and the side streets are blocked.
One in ten buildings are completely destroyed. Five in ten are damaged and there are small quakes everyday keeping people out doors even if their home looks fairly safe.
There is no foul smell and there has been a huge clean up effort to remove the dead.
Brent and I will go searching for Jessica tomorrow and I will get a better look during the daylight.
That's all for now lunch is over and my Angel is calling my name.
When we were saying prayers before the kids went to bed, I asked Elle to pray for the people in Haiti and that they would find Jessica. After the prayer, Ethan asked me about who was lost so I explained the whole situation to him:
Lori, a lady who works with Pete, and her husband, Brent, have been trying to adopt some kids from Haiti for a long time, Nathan and Jessica. I don't know how old they are but they're really little. Lori and Brent have been to Haiti several times to visit the kids and bring them supplies, and they've also been raising money for the orphanage, Hope for Little Angels of Haiti. They feel like these kids are their kids. Recently, though, before the quake, Jessica's birth father came and took her away from the orphanage to try and get more money or something so already didn't know where she was when the earthquake hit, though they do know her father was trying to get her back to the orphanage. Now they have no idea where she is or even if she's alive, but Brent just went to Haiti yesterday to help get the 60 or 70 kids from their orphanage out of there and to safety. We just pray he also can find Jessica while he's there. (read more at Lori's blog: here.)
When I got done explaining all this, Ethan asked, "did she fall throgh the crack?" I told him we just don't know what happened to her and he just burst into tears. He said he was worried about her and he didn't want it to happen to us. I went and sat with him on his bed and tried to reasure him, wondering if it was a mistake to tell him all that. I think it's good for him to know what's going on, though, and it's ok to cry sometimes. Pete and I both explained to him that Jessica will be ok, that even if she did die she would be with Heavenly Father because he loves little children and would take care of her, but I also said that if she's alive Heavenly Father will be able to help her get found so we should pray for her. I asked him if he wanted to say a prayer for her, and he did. He said the sweetest prayer, amidst tears, that her "daddy will find her" and that everyone will be ok. In all I spent about 20 - 30 minutes crying with him, but we were able to get him calmed down and to sleep after that. I'm about to cry now just thinking about it, and I check Lori's blog constntly hoping to hear good news. They could use all the prayers they can get so please pray for them: Jessica, all the orphans and all the people in Haiti who are suffering right now.
I have Hope and faith that all these Little Angels will be ok, and that they will find Jessica.
Please keep praying. The Embassy is a mess. The lines and wait and chaos are beyond belief.
I just got off the phone with Chareyl. She is still waiting in line at the Embassy for the handful of visa children. She's still on the waiting list for humanitarian parole appointments.
This is the classic story of "trying to fit a camel through the eye of a needle". She says there are so many PEOPLE in line. Some of those she's talked to have been sleeping on the floor in the embassy for the last 2 days. She did say that the line is moving very, very slowly.
Based on the discussions I've had with senator's offices and congressmen's offices - they are all escalating to all the right people - the problem is the eye of the needle is still only so big. It is my opinion after all the calls I've had this morning that unless they can do something to increase capacity (the number of people the Embassy can process in an hour, etc) contacting Senators and Congressmen is just making those groups sent off more emails to already overflowing email boxes.
She did say that she was told by Embassy personnel that even if she got to the front of the line today they wouldn't have the paperwork issued before Monday. They are working late (and probably over the weekend) but there are just so many people that want the exact same thing we do and not enough Embassy staff to handle all the requests.
There are many, many rumors out there. Please be cautious about what you believe or pass on to other people.
I will keep you apprised as we get more information. Please pray for the Embassy to be more efficient, the people to be more patient, the lawmakers to be more creative in addressing these issues, the children and workers to be safe and for all of our children to be safely and swiftly moved to our "command central" so we can take care of them together during this crisis.
I'll keep you posted.
Thanks for the great idea, Becky. Things work better when we all do the best we can with what we have where we are. Thank you for your support of our babies.
All the children look great. We were able to make it to the church that I attended and collected 11 children at about 3 in the morning. We took them to another orphanage up close to our original building. Charyel took all the children with passports to the embassy. Trevor, Brent and I are here for the day. I have avrie on my lap and just put a peanut butter and some turkey jerky in her. She looks very good. I checked her out pretty well. Her skin is clear and smooth and she looks healthy. The plan right now is to bring all our children here today while Cheryl spends all day at the embassy running the paperwork thru.
I have also heard from Chareyl and she is at the embassy with ALL the paperwork and those children that should have visas (because of where they were in the adoption process) right now. I have contacted those senators' offices that we've been working with to let them know she needs help to get in.
Please keep praying specifically for the people at the Embassy to work with her - can you even begin to imagine how stressed and overworked they are right now???
Keep praying for the kids.
I'll send more as it comes in
Our best friends, Nate and Al, have been over here every night - to help Brent pack, to help me get stuff done, making sure I eat.
Tonight, as I've been trying to catch up on emails and such, Al has cleaned, done all my laundry, organized my office, kidproofed my office, and prepped the kids rooms that will soon (we hope and pray) have two children in them.
I literally couldn't have survived this week without them. Thank you both. I love you dearly!
My cousin, Callie, showed up this afternoon with twin sized sheets. Thank you, friend.
My personal "Martha Stewart", Cliss, showed up with supplies for Brent and amazing ideas on how to feed babies in Haiti with just a ziploc bag. I'm in awe of her skills.
Our neighbors have tied yellow ribbons and balloons to our porch posts. They're rounding up things like children's coats that I didn't think I'd need this year.
We've had people come up with creative ways to help raise money for the orphanage rebuild efforts and to help our friends in Haiti survive the coming months (check back tomorrow for details on what Becky's arranged!)
We have children praying, families praying, neighbors, friends and people we've never met praying for us.
People have asked if they can link to this and share our story - anything to help get word out. Thank you for asking.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for giving us such wonderful support for this most difficult part of this journey!
Thursday, January 21, 2010
The Church of Scientology gave each of the passengers a compact sleeping bag because they knew they'd be on the ground. So they're looking for some place to bed down for the night.
Please continue your prayers that they can find everyone they need to find, and get everyone home swiftly and safely.
Then from Miami they'll fly on to PAP. They said there are 120 seats, I believe, and that every one will be filled by someone going to Haiti to help.
We've also been told that the people that arranged this flight into Haiti are willing to help us arrange a flight to get the children back out.
Thank God for many miracles.
I was just going over the info with Chareyl on the phone and we're at SEVENTY children that we're trying to bring out on this trip.
Please continue to keep up the prayers for safety, speed, protection, comfort, and for the way to be cleared for these babies to come home.
Heavenly Father knows all things. He's the one that will make it all come together.
Last night about 8, there was a knock at our door. When I went to answer it, there was little Alli and her mom. Alli had her hand out and in her palm were 6 quarters.
She said, "I know Brent leaves early in the morning and I wanted to make sure he had the money that I earned for Jessica and Nathan."
I gave her one of the silicone bracelets we have that have the O name on it. Her mom told me later that she said she's not going to take it off until Jessica and Nathan are home.
Thank you for your example, Alli!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
While You're Already Moving Things, Lord... Could You Take Care of Our Loved Ones and Bring Them Home Soon?
Update from Chareyl:
I am getting ready to go and will be leaving basically in the middle of the night. I want to give you a heads up! We do not know for sure when
We will get the kids out of the country. I need you to be prepared for a phone call that says something like this…get on a plane and meet us ________
It will be somewhere in the US, it won’t necessarily be Florida. I will try to give you a days notice but no guarantee. I have paperwork for all of you
And hopefully they will let the children remain with me until you get there. But God willing it will work out that you can be there the minute the plane rolls in. I am asking you all to pray like you never have before, ask your friends and your families to pray, post away! Pray that we will find ALL of the children, that they will be OK, I know they will not be perfect, but we want them safe and together! Pray that we can get all the children to the Embassy, that all of will find safe travel there, pray that we can get into the embassy and that they will process ALL of the children that they will accept ALL the paperwork that we are bringing, and most especially pray for peace that in the end we all know that this is in God’s hands. I know without a doubt that HE can move mountains and we are asking for HIM to move mountains for us.
I love you all and consider you all my friends. I will be in touch!
Our friends at CR England Trucking have worked with their vendors and secured a satellite phone for the group to take so we can stay in contact.
I know people have been working diligently all day and night to get flights arranged with humanitarian groups who are giving our people seats on their planes, as well as in getting everyone's paperwork lined up so that our coordinator doesn't have to worry about that part when they hit the ground. They have to pack light. They have to plan for the worst. We're praying for the best possible outcome to this new stage of this adventure.
A friend told me that when her daughter saw our kids on the news, she asked if she could wipe down baseboards to earn money to "send to those kids".
We're in a brand-new neighborhood and our new neighbors have just rallied around us and are helping us gather up all the things that we still don't have. We've put off buying things because we had no way of knowing how old they'd be when they finally came home.
Please pray that they'll be able to depart LAX and arrive at PAP without issue. That they'll be able to find transportation safely and securely. That they will find a way to our people - we hear that the roads are not passable to Petionville. That the children will be comfortable with all this chaos. That all the children can be located. That they'll be able to locate transportation to get all the children (about 50) back to the Embassy. That the Embassy workers will be able to have patience in this mess they've been thrown into. That the children will be safe and secure while we wait for however long we have to wait to get our children processed. That our Haitian friends won't be burdened by our group. That we'll be able to get supplies for our Haitian friends who have to stay behind. That we'll be able to rebuild.
God didn't bring us all this way for this to fail.
Some day I'll get to tell Nathan and Jessica that when they came home, God literally moved earth and heaven and hell to make it happen. They were brought home on prayers.
Thank you for offering those prayers.
May angels go with them and accompany them and guide and light their path.
It appears that the US government will not help with the evacuation of our children in Haiti. They have told us basically to send out orphanage directors in Haiti to the embassy and take what paperwork they can and try and get the kids a visa or Humanitarian parole. So we sent Guesno Mardy (director of Foyer) to the embassy today, he went twice with children in tow, they would not let him in, they would not help him.
It has come to my attention that those orphanages that have us coordinators on the ground in Haiti are getting Visas and getting Humanitarian Parole. I have confirmed that all the children that have come home so far have had US citizens on the ground in Haiti with experience helping them. My opinion is that when they see Haitians coming they think they are just trying to get out of the country themselves, I don’t know for sure this is just my opinion.
So I have decided to go to Haiti and get our children, I am going with a special group of people who are dedicated to helping me, I have a representative from Foyer going and I have my special humanitarian task force going, which includes a member of the military. I have experience with the embassy. I know some of the personnel, I have been there to process paperwork and feel like I will be able to get our kids out.
I am currently working on how to fly the kids out of Haiti once I have them. I am pretty sure we have a plane that will fly us out, but will let you know when it is set. We will be bringing a total of 50 kids out of Haiti.
I do have a seat on a missionary plane going into Haiti on Thursday.
So what I need from each of you right now is a copy of all the paperwork you sent to USCIS Haiti, I am going to take it with me to ensure we have everything we need to get Visas or Humanitarian Parole, I am going to try to get as many of the kids out on a Visa as I can. If you already cc’d me when you sent it in then I have it, but many of you did not so please send it now so that we can get it printed.
I am taking a lap top and when I can I will keep you posted.