Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Amazing Airlift

On January 18th, 2010, Jamie and Alison McMutrie with the assistance of the Governor of Pennsylvania and a local Congressperson, succeeded in airlifting 54 BRESMA children out of Haiti. The children were flown to Pittsburgh, where they were taken to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Their parents were allowed to visit them, and after paperwork was processed, take them safely home.

What a miracle! Well done, ladies.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Homeward Bound

An update on our kids, who are on their way:

Gen Lepper/Mr. Peters--

As you know by now, we have lift off! What a great day for me-- I can only image what it is for the parents.

Tail number: C-17 is xxxxx
Departed 1734
ETA: 1904
Destination: xxxxxxx

Despite our small shuffle getting everyone together at the airport, everything went well. CNN was there with full coverage of the event. It will be on tonight.

I am so impressed with the embassy workers. Charly (sp?), their escort, is riding up with them and turning right around. Her home was completely destroyed.

I am grateful to have been a part. What great, well-behaved kids (I miss that age).

V/R--

Randon

Lt Col Randon Draper

A Glimmer of Hope in the Darkness of Haiti

The US Government, in particular USCIS and DOS, are working overtime in an effort to grant Visas to children who have already completed the adoption process in Haiti. The first five children from BRESMA orphanage are currently at the US Embassy, safe from harm.

This effort was coordinated only through extraordinary efforts on behalf of the UN, the US military, USCIS, DOS, the Joint Council of International Children's Services, many parent volunteers, the US Air Force, and of course our brave staff at the orphanage.

The message below was shared by Lt. Colonel Randon Draper, who along with Mr. Julius Fondong of the UN Foundation enabled the children to reach and enter the Embassy safely.

Gen Lepper/Mr. Peters--

I just left the embassy. The children are doing well.

Although I did not get any of your messages notifying me of the UN driver and Pius Bannis until I got back, I was directed to Linda Percy and Pius Bannis while I was there. In the course of our conversations, the UN driver arrived with the children. I felt privileged to help lead them by the hand into the reception area and teach them how to eat their first MRE. They were hungry. I hope their parents don't mind, but I gave them a tootsie roll before dinner! They were very calm, bright-eyed and submissive to their environment.

Jenna is a little sick -- running nose and had vomit on her, but she appeared to be doing well overall. The oldest (maybe 10 or 12) held her and was very attentive. I tried to get her to sit in the cushioned chair so she could better attend to Jenna, but she kept giving the best to the little ones. Very tender. A nurse was going to look at Jenna when I left. They had a lot medical from New Jersey. I've got to say that the plight of these people choke you up at times, and I have not come close to seeing the worst of it.

The kids, as are all adoptive kids, are first priority on the plane. As there were no other adoptive kids, they are on the first plane out.

Mr. Bannis was processing paperwork when I left. As I had traveled with OSI and they had to return, I could not stay with the children.
However, Mr. Bannis will notify me when they are transported to the airport and I will hook up with them there if at all possible.

The process with these little travelers had additional good as the embassy realized that other adoptive kids had been turned away in the chaos because they went to the wrong processing gate -- a simple matter, but so is the minor switching of a train track toward another destination.

Mr. Bannis and Ms. Percy are a God Send. They had damage to their own homes and were working tirelessly. Ms. Percy had her two adopted kids evac'd out to stay with family after the quake. I also saw whispers, tears and embraces among a couple of embassy staff consoling each other for loss of their own family members or friends.

I will send this message twice -- one with photos and one without to make sure it gets through. I appreciate the privilege to be involved with this.

V/R--

Randon

These children are the first of many our government will save.
Thank you to all of you heroes involved!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Rumors Abound!

There are rumors all over the internet that all the children of BRESMA have been issued US Visas. This is NOT TRUE. To my knowledge, the State Department has not issued any Visas since the earthquake. If we had managed to get Visas for our children, I would be desperately trying for Visas for the rest of the children in orphanages.


It is true that we, along with every other agency, are seeking ways to airlift our children to the US for temporary shelter and safety. If we are somehow able to get our children to safety, the KAS team will immediately begin working with other agencies and orphanages to save their children too.


Some humanitarian aid is beginning to get through. BRESMA I received a delivery of water.

Four of the children living in foster care outside of the orphanage have been found alive. One will remain with her foster family. The other three are being brought to BRESMA.

Our hearts go out to the multitudes who have not been so fortunate.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Margarette and BRESMA I children are safe!

I have recieved information from Europe that Margarette communicated with two French families. She and her family are safe. The children at BRESMA I are safe. The following is a translation of the original IM conversation in French.

Bresma...Good evening Marsye could you please pass along the message that all of the children are well since I am unable to reach others

Maryse...Hello, is this Margarette
Maryse...I am so happy to get the news
Maryse...We are so worried for you
Marsye...Margarette is that you?
Marsye...I will passe along the message
Marsye...Tell me if you are ok
Marsye...All of this is so horrible
Marsye...We are going to organize ourselves to try to help you
Bresma...Yes, it's me
Bresma...Thank you
Marsye...Your family? (she is asking how they are doing)
Marsye...I am crying while reading this (hearing from you) I am so happy to read this (hear from her)
Marsye...What do you need?
Bresma...Everyone is fine. The children also. I had to send all the children from bresma 2 to bresma 1, since bresma 2 is a little damaged. I would like an engineer to see it and make some repairs before allowing the children back there.
Bresma...bresma 3 is also damaged the children have been transferred to the guest house.
Marsye... ok
Marsye... I will tell them right away
Marsye...Do you have news from other orphanages?
Marsye...CEPAH? We know that our lady of the nativity has been damaged
Marsye...It's horrible
Marsye...I send my regard to you and all Haiti ens, we think of you a lot and we wish that international aid reach you soon in this difficult time.
Bresma...is leaving texting
Bresma...Thank you I will try to keep you posted
Marsye...Thank you
Marsye...Be brave

Wings of Hope and St. Joseph's Home for Boys

From an adoptive parent:

This is info from people connected with Hearts With Haiti - the organization that supports St. Joseph's Family... Ed Wolterman, from their board of directors, spoke directly with Michael Geilenfeld, founder of St. Joe's, who was @ the building in PAP when it collapsed. They talked to him yesterday, shortly after it all happened. At that point, they also spoke with Renee Dietrich, one of the Americans living & working up at Wings, where my boy is... it's harder getting through to them today...

I got word yesterday that Delmace and the other kids at the home where he lives (Wings of Hope) are OK. They are all safe for now – but there was serious damage to whole back of their building (the area that houses all of the dorms and areas where they kids generally are). Last night they were all huddled in one rather small room, near the front of the building. The main home of the organization, St. Joseph’s Home for Boys (in Petionville), was not as lucky. Their building is a total loss, but thankfully, all of the boys survived - Bill, one of the directors, was injured jumping from the roof but is expected to recover. We also got reports that their house in Jacmel, Trinity House, was OK and everyone is safe. They are all scared, and we are worried about immediate needs – food, water, shelter, and also about the long term process of rebuilding. But are thankful that everyone is alive.

Twitter link

I will be posting snippets of confirmed information on Twitter, as I cannot answer the volume of contact I am receiving individually.

Please go to http://twitter.com/KASHaiti to follow along.

I will do my best, but as all information is at best second hand, I cannot guarantee its accuracy.

Haiti earthquake - an email from Dr. Bernard

Dr. Jacob Bernard, director of New Life Link orphanage, managed to send out the following email:

DEAR CHRISTIAN FRIENDS,

THANKS 1000 TIMES TO EACH AND ALL OF YOU MY DEAREST FRIENDS WHO SEND US EMAILS ABOUT THIS DISASTER. THANKS 1,000,000 TIMES FOR YOUR CONTINUED PRAYERS. WHAT WOULD WE HAVE DONE WITHOUT YOUR FRIENDSHIP, PRAYERS, AND FINANCIAL SUPPORT. PRAISES, GLORIES, AND POWERS BE TO OUR ALMIGHTY SAVIOR AND LORD JESUS FOR SAVING MY LIFE FROM THIS BIG EARTHQUAKE WHICH MIGHT KILL THIS AFTERNOON THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE. IT WAS ABOUT 4:50P.M, I STEPPED UP INTO THE MAYOR'S OFFICE ON MY WAY BACK HOME FROM WORK. AS I JUST ARRIVED ON THE 2ND FLOOR, THE BUILDING COLLAPSED ON EVERYBODY WITHIN SECONDS . THE ROOF CAME DOWN OVER OUR HEADS. I WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DESCRIBE THIS MIRACLE.I WAS ONE STEP TO DEATH, BUT PEACEFUL, TRUSTING THAT MY LIFE WAS IN GOD'S HAND. MY MIGHTY GOD GOT ME OUT SAFELY. AS I JUMPED FROM THE 2ND FLOOR INTO ALL THE DEBRIS, I GOT HURT ON MY LEFT SIDE.HOWEVER, I AM SAFE AND SOUND...IT IS A LONG LONG STORY.WHAT A MIRACLE! WHAT A GOD THAT WE ARE SERVING! HE SURELY IS NOT DONE YET WITH ME.WHEN I GOT HOME, CLAUDETTE AND THE OTHERS WERE FINE, BUT THE GUEST HOUSE SHOOK UP SO BAD THAT THE WATER COOLER, BOOK SHELVES FULL OF BOOKS, AND CABINETS FELL ON THE FLOORS.AS I AM WRITING THIS EMAIL, THE HOUSE IS STILL SHAKING UP. WE WILL SLEEP OUT SIDE, UNDER THE FRONT PORCH.

ALL THE CHILDREN AT THE ORPHANAGE ARE FINE. BECAUSE TELEPHONES ARE OUT OF SERVICE, IT WAS ALREADY NIGHT AND THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE IN PORT-AU-PRINCE WERE IN THE STREET, MOURNING THEIR TRAPPED AND DEAD FAMILY MEMBERS, THERE WAS NO WAY I COULD GET TO THE NLL BUILDING OR HAVE ANY NEWS. EARLY TO MORROW MORNING, I WILL GO THERE. OH ! HOW I PRAY THAT ALL THE CHILDREN AND STAFF ARE SAFE.

THE SITUATION IS AWFULLY AWFUL, TERRIBLY TERRIBLE. PLEASE, PRAY FOR THE GREAT NUMBERS OF FAMILIES WHO HAVE THEIR LOVED ONES STILL UNDER THE RUBBLES WITHOUT MUCH HOPE TO SURVIVE. PRAY FOR HAITI, AND THE CHURCH OF CHRIST.I WILL KEEP ALL POSTED.WE ARE SO GRATEFUL TO GOD TO HAVE YOU ALL IN OUR LIVES.Blessings,Jacob

I have confirmation that Creche le Infant Jesus, managed by Lucien and Gina Duncan is okay.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Earthquake in Haiti

Haiti was rocked by an earthquake measuring 7.0 on the Richter scale at approximately 5:00 pm Haiti time today. The devastation is enormous. Communications are down.

We are extremely blessed in that an adoptive parent was able to make contact with Jamie and Ali before it became impossible to call in to the island. Ali had spoken to Ti Ness at BRESMA III (Jamie and Ali's House) and Maryann at BRESMA II (the big kids' house). Both are still standing and the children are safe. I also have confirmation that God's Littlest Angels in Kenscoff is safe.

Please pray for the people of Haiti, and send what humanitarian aid you can. Haiti needs help like never before. Eyewitnesses, including Jamie and Ali, are reporting that 'half the houses are down'.