Haiti Adoption: Earthquake Hits While Mom Visits Son

Photo by AshBayGrammy

Earthquake in Haiti. There are so many devastating aspects to it, I keep bursting into tears. Just one of the many groups affected: People who are adopting children from Haiti. Many of these parents don't know if their kids are still alive, and they have no way of reaching the orphanages they're in. Since one of the requirements of Haiti adoption is that you go to the country and meet the child, many of these parents have already met their little ones at least once, and have been in constant contact with them, waiting for the day they can bring them home. The kids are already calling them mama and papa.

Kristen is a 33-year-old blogger from California who traveled to Haiti to visit her son Kenean. She brought her 8-month-old daughter Karis with her. She has two other children Jafta, 5, and India, 3, who stayed at home with her husband. Kristen and Karis were in Haiti when the earthquake hit. Here is her story.


Day 1

"Last night a massive earthquake hit Port-Au-Prince, Haiti, where I am visiting our adoptive son. I am still reeling. The reports I’ve heard are saying it was a 7.4. I’m finding that hard to believe, having been through many an earthquake in my day living in California. It felt like nothing I have ever experienced ...

It’s startling what goes through your mind at a time like that. My first thought was getting Karis to safety, which I knew would be outside. Thank God I was not holding her as I went down the stairway. I was also scrambling trying to figure out what was going on. The shaking and noise was so extreme that I thought for sure it could not be an earthquake. I have never heard of Haiti being hit with an earthquake, so I was assuming something else was going on. I thought maybe the island was being bombed. I also had some thoughts about Armageddon – it felt like a disaster movie ...

Aftershocks continued through the night. I’m told at least 13 of them measured above a 4. It felt like they were coming every 20-30 minutes for a while. We were all pretty traumatized by the first quake, but the continuing shaking was extremely stressful. It felt like it would never end, and it was hard to feel safe no matter where we went. We gathered in front of the house so that we were clear of anything that could crumble. I tried to compose myself so that we wouldn’t freak out the kids any further, but it was difficult. I was fighting back tears with each new tremor, and wondering when it would stop and how we would get through the night ...

Keanan is still with me, and seems unfazed by the whole thing. I’m sure I appear very stressed and I’m trying to make the best of this time with him. At the same time, I am desperate to get home and miss my husband and family terribly. I can’t wait to hug my kids ...

I am also feeling stressed because Karis is sick. She’s been vomiting a lot, and it doesn’t seem like anything major, but I would just like to be back in the states in case in gets worse. I was already debating leaving early because she is sick, and now there is no way of getting any medical treatment. Hopefully (probably) she is fine and just has a stomach bug ...

I’m trying to keep my perspective and remain grateful despite the circumstances. This is a rattling experience for me but it has been disastrous for many. Please pray for the people of Haiti, and for the many families who will be grieving their loss at this time."

Day 2

"Today continued to be very emotional. I am at the end of myself. I don’t think I’ve slept well in a week and we all feel a little crazy. The tremors have continued. They are not as frequent but there were two very intense ones this evening, that caused the walls to rattle. However, all day long the earth feels like it is pitching. This is extremely difficult for me. I think we all have a little PTSD from yesterday and every shake brings back that feeling of dread. I am in hyper vigilant mode. I am constantly aware of how far I am from a door. I’m trying to keep both kids nearby at all times. Every plane that flies overhead, every loud car, every time the gate opens, I feel my muscles twitch for the door ...

We took a walk earlier, just inside the gate of the private neighborhood where we are staying. Most families had erected beds and mosquito netting in their front yard. One house was watching CNN with rabbit ears in the front yard. It looks like Haiti is receiving full-time coverage. It was sobering to see that, since we are so out of touch. It was a reminder of how grave the situation is, and it scared me. We also walked by women singing and reading the bible in their yards. I think they believe that this is the end of the world ...

Later, I was playing with Karis and saw Mark’s face so clearly in hers. I miss him so much.
The stress of being here is overwhelming. So much devastation, but the potential for danger is so great. There is already talk of diesel shortages and potential food rationing. There is no city electricity. We have no way of communicating with anyone. I have a ticket to leave tomorrow, but I’m hearing that the airport may be closed. I also have a ticket for Friday, but it may not resume until Monday. I’m also hearing that the earliest flight out is in February. Thinking about being stuck here that long is freaking me out. We have no way of knowing how or when I can leave. Tomorrow I go to the airport, and I’m willing to pay whatever it takes to get to any US city. I can figure it out from there."

These are excerpts from Kristen's blog Rage Against the Minivan. You can go there to read the entire story and to follow her daily journey. Kristen is also a blogger for Mama Manifesto, where they are giving updates on Kristen and Karis.

Kristen didn't mention anything about Kenean, but since the adoption isn't complete, I'm assuming she has to leave him behind in Haiti when she leaves the country. I can't imagine how difficult that must be.

Please send your thoughts and prayers out to Kristen and other adoptive parents, as well as to all the people in Haiti.



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