operation "get him home"

*UPDATE - OUR SON RECEIVED HUMANITARIAN PAROLE AND IS NOW HOME. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!*

I am home from Haiti, safe and relieved. So many stories to tell, but right now we are mobilizing our energy towards trying to get our son home, too. It was extremely difficult to leave him in Haiti under the current situation. We are hearing rumors that there may be an option for getting him home under humanitarian parole. I know a lot of you are reading this blog and offering help. THIS IS HOW YOU CAN HELP. If this smacks of desperation, it's because we are desperate. We want to get him home. Watching the news since I've been home has made me even more aware of how bad things are over there. I am grateful to be home, but very upset to have left our son there.

We need to make some noise to get our congressman and senators working on this. I would also love you to use any contact you have with immigration, attorneys, press, or anyone who might have influence to get our story out there and put pressure on the state department to intervene. I am outlining the points below. There are also easy form letters on facebook here. If you are interested, let's flood our state reps from all sides: phone, email, and fax. If you contact people in Haiti, please be very sensitive to the fact that they are dealing with their own grief right now.

I've outlined the talking points below, which is followed by the contact info for some of our government officials. If you know of others, feel free to pass this along. I am willing to do press interviews IF they will allow me to talk about Heartline's relief efforts, or about the need for orphans to be granted humanitarian relief.



THE ISSUE:

We have been in the process of adopting our son for 2 ½ years and were nearing the final stages when the earthquake hit. I was in Haiti visiting when the earthquake happened and I had to be evacuated and leave our son there. The government buildings that were processing our adoption were demolished. Many government workers are feared dead. Orphans in Haiti are in grave danger, and yet have willing families in the US who can care for them. When we left our son, he and the other children from the orphanage were homeless, sleeping outside of a missionary’s house because of damage to the crèche and to the missionary’s home. They are at risk of looting and robbery. Everyone in Haiti is at risk of food and water shortages and air-born disease due to the current situation. The local caregivers are focused on their own families, so the orphanage is short-staffed. Supplies are running low. The situation is desperate.

THE SOLUTION:

THE SOLUTION IS HUMANITARIAN PAROLE FOR ADOPTIVE CHILDREN. These children have willing families to care for them and can be brought to the US for care. While granting a humanitarian parole is outside the normal procedures, the United States government has granted them in the past (e.g. Cambodia and Romania).

THIS IS NOT AN EXPEDITED ADOPTION. The adoption process is now completely incapacitated, but when it resumes the United States seeks to honor the adoption process established in Haiti. This is a humanitarian effort to care for these kids, and the adoption will be processed using the usual procedure at a later time.

THE BENEFITS:

Humanitarian parole for adoptive children benefits everyone involved. The kids are moved to safety. There is no cost to the government because these children have families ready to care for them. This frees up the orphanages in Haiti to care for more children. It does not circumvent the already established adoption process. It is ethical and compassionate.

OUR FAMILY’S DETAILS:

Our dossier entered Haiti’s system in the summer of 2007. We have visited numerous times. We have a certificate from IBESR, the Haitian social services office, granting us permission to adopt. We have turned in that permission to the Haitian branch of USCIS. We have filed our I-600, which is the petition to classify him as a US citizen. Our homestudy and fingerprints are up-to-date. Our son’s legal name is Keembert Estime, date of birth is 10/7/06. He lives in Port-Au-Prince. Orphanage is run by John McHoul of Heartline Haiti. If he is granted humanitarian parole, we can arrange for getting him home.

(taken about an hour before the earthquake)


Here are some people to contact:


The Honorable Barbara Boxer
United States Senate
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0505
202-224-3553
202-224-0454
http://boxer.senate.gov/en/contact/policycomments.cfm
Twitter: @Barbara_Boxer



The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0504
202-224-3841
202-228-3954
http://feinstein.senate.gov/public/
index.cfm?
FuseAction=ContactUs.EmailMe
http://feinstein.senate.gov/public/


The Honorable Dana Rohrabacher
United States House of Representatives
2300 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0546
202-225-2415
202-225-0145
http://rohrabacher.house.gov/Contact/Zip.htm
http://rohrabacher.house.gov/
Voice: 714-960-6483
FAX: 714-960-7806


Clinton Foundation
http://www.clintonfoundation.org/about-the-clinton-foundation/contact-us/contact-form



Raymond Joseph
Haitian Ambassador to US
embassy@haiti.org
p 202-332-4090
f 202-745-7215

Kenneth H Merten
US Ambassador to Haiti
Tabarre 41, Blvd 15 Octobre
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
Haiti-earthquake@state.gov
P 509 22 29 8000
F 509 22 29 8028

Hilary Clinton/Dept of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Main Switchboard:
202-647-4000








39 comments:

  1. I've been praying since I heard about the earthquake that through this tragedy your son would be able to come home. I will send emails today. We're in the beginning stages of adopting 3 girls from Nicaragua, and I can only imagine the frustration of being 2 1/2 years into it with no idea when it will be over. We'll continue praying until he's home where he belongs.

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  2. Just want you to know I am praying and am totally willing to contact anyone I can. I am already starting. I also want to know if you know of any way to get any of the other children over here to families such as ours who were planning on beginning adoption processes and would be THANKFUL and blessed to take in a couple of children...is this somehting that would be included in the humanitarian visa?

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  3. So glad you're home. Your family has been in my thoughts and prayers since I heard you were there when the quake happened. I can't imagine how much more difficult than before it was to leave Keanan to come home.

    Was Keanan the one hugging Diane Sawyer?

    Niki (justnik from HP)

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  4. The Haitian Ambassador to the US was just interviewed on CNN saying he would do everything he could to get adoptive children like yours to the States. Haitian passports will be issued from the DC embassy to adoptive children ready to come to the US

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  5. Anonymous4:25 PM

    My friends Geoff and Kori are saying that they are moving all their efforts towards trying to activate a plan to get adoptive children on with the process of coming to US...Ill keep you posted.. as I hear...Ill share. Alea

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  6. Anonymous4:53 PM

    Kristin and mark,

    I have been following your story through the Sharmans. I will be in Washington DC the first week of February for the National Prayer Breakfast. At that I will be attending a number of personal meetings with CA congress and reps. If no progress has been made by then, I would be happy to try and address them personally and give them any info directly. I will continue to follow but let me know if I can try anything. I have personally spent time in Haitian orphanages so personally know kids like you son and want to help in any way I can!

    Blessings,

    Brian solecki

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  7. Hi Kristin,

    We haven't yet met (although my husband is friends with yours!) but I wanted you to know your story has been on my heart the last few days...I've prayed for you and your family, and especially for your little boy. I've written to all the contacts you listed, wish there was more I could do to help! We think you and your family are incredible, and clearly blessed by God. Best wishes in all the future holds for you guys!

    Sarah Carter

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  8. I sent letters to my congressman and Reps here in TN. Posted it to my blog and FB...Getting the word out....

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  9. Anonymous5:12 PM

    I'm an adoptive mom whose heart is breaking for all the families in Haiti but even more so for the children like your son who were so close to having permanent placements in loving families. I think they would have had to rip him out of my arms before I would have left. I know you must have felt that same way. I am here for you. I am posting your link on my blog today. I hope you don't mind. Prayers are coming your way and to Haiti for a fast safe reunion.
    Nichole aka Frizzy at
    http://7-7-7heavensent.blogspot.com/

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  10. I would like to try to write/email some of the people you listed. Should we just repost what you wrote? I didn't know if they needed contact info for you. I would love to help but I've never done anything like this before. You and your family are in my prayers!

    Veronica (vbbradford@gmail.com)

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  11. Praying for you here in South Carolina. I was following your story from Joy's Hope the other day. Yesterday, my husband and I were watching the news to see what was going on in Haiti. We generally watch FOX but flipped about and landed on the Diane Sawyer interview while she was holding your boy -- not that I recognized him, but how Sweet God is to do that for you!

    Just remember in this time of desperation -- God's hand was on you and your children in the middle of that chaos. He got you home safe and sound for a reason. Stay calm so you can think. Remember all He has done ...

    Our local Christian DJ (WMHK, Columbia, SC) and wife brought home their Haitian son this spring after a 2-year wait. I forwarded your link to him so he would know your story, too.

    -- michele

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  12. i am posting your story on my blog...i am going to write the people you listed...praying for your son...

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  13. Dear Kristen,
    I don't know you personally but I feel like I do after reading your blog. I am writing and emailing the contacts you provided now. If there are any other ways we can help please post and let us know.

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  14. Amazing to read your story. Your writing is captivating--despite the intensity of your story. I have a suggestion--write a sample letter so that people can just copy the text and send to the people you have suggested. Is that possible? He'll be home soon. Keep picturing that moment he is in your arms, and your family is together.

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  15. I've been keeping up on your story since Julie posted that beautiful picture of you, Keenan and Karis. Anyways, we've been keeping you all in our prayers and knowing that God will get your little guy home soon! Will try to send out some letters tonight when my little ones crash out for good.

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  16. I came to your blog through Joy's Hope and am simply inspired by your love and determination. Know that so many people are praying for you and that sweet little man. I have never done anything like this before, but am VERY moved to help ... letters, emails, what else can we do for you? He WILL be home soon. Keep your positive attitude and faith. He knows you (and your posse:-) are doing everything to get him home. Stay strong!

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  17. Anonymous8:09 PM

    I have been praying that through this situation your son would come home!! I am going to write letters and share you story with my friends and family.

    ~Jennifer

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  18. So glad you're home but cannot imagine leaving your son there... I will send letters starting tomorrow!

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  19. Hi there!

    I found you through Joy's Hope and just wanted to know that prayers are going up on your behalf! I can't even begin to imagine what your family is going though right now!

    My boyfriend's family has always considered adoption, but never really went through with it. Now the devastation in Haiti is motivating them and they are seriously considering if they should bring home a sibling set/group from Haiti. They haven't even done anything to start the process, do you know if the Humanitarian Parole would help sort of speed up the process for someone who hasn't even started the process?

    Morgan

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  20. I am really glad you are home safe and sound. This is really great post, the way you laid the information out. I think I am going to try something similar for my blog. The facts are so confusing out there - and this just puts it all out there crystal clear.

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  21. Kristen,

    I was reading someone else's account from Haiti and they linked to you and I realized I knew you from HP (I'm Renae - RNicho).

    I've already sent letters to my representatives. I was wondering if you'd be OK with me posting this on HP to get you more responses. I know they women on there are very willing to help.

    So glad you are home safe and praying you can get your little guy home very, very soon!

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  22. Thanks for all these responses! Yes, please feel free to use the info below, and to forward our contact info along with email (howertons at hotmail.com). Post it anywhere you want. The more info, the better. I am so humbled by all of this support!

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  23. Kristen...I will also send some emails on your behalf. Pray pray praying that your little guy will be home soon. eryn

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  24. I'm also an adoptive mom who wants to see you united with your son. I'll make some noise via email with our reps. God is faithful and will complete this good work He has begun.

    Sarah
    www.muchhasbeengiven.blogspot.com

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  25. Anonymous12:18 AM

    Hi Kristen,

    Praying for your family. Someone linked your blog on facebook and I also saw you on the news. I wrote to the people you suggested. Please keep us updated as you are able to.

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  26. Hi Kristen...please tell me if there is anything to be done to help your situation from the Canadian side. I have copied the Help Haiti button and posted it on my blog. Praying for you and your family and your misplaced son that I KNOW you so desperately want home!

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  27. Found your story through a friend. I am spreading the word and plan to contact my reps as well. Please keep us updated! Praying for you and all the families who eagerly await to hold their children again.

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  28. we're making some noise in NC!

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  29. Hi! I found you through Joyshope, I am writing letters and emails. I am praying for your family and your little boy. May God Bless you and give you peace throughout this VERY challenging time!!
    -Autumn

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  30. I read about you the other day, I'm glad I found your blog. I am so happy you and your daughter made it through such an awful thing. I'm glad you got out, but I am so sorry about your son. I am praying for him and your family that he can make it to the states soon, and safely!

    Megan

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  31. Mark asked that I link to the Facebook page set up to explain humanitarian parole and how you can help by contacting YOUR representatives as well.

    Go to www.humanitarianparole.com and it will direct you to the Facebook page with sample letters if you need help getting started.

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  32. hi kristen, found your blog through Julie at JoysHope. Praying for your family and I'm totally in tears as I read this. I'm posting this info. on my blog and FB and going to see if there are any connections I might possibly posses to help your family.

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  33. praying and posting your story on my blog.
    God Speed!

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  34. Praying for you- we are adoptive parents to 2 girls from Ethiopia. Oh God hold you and your sweet son!

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  35. I am from Overlake Christian Church...count me in that a letter will be faxed to all the above mentioned people tomorrow morning from my office to theirs. We serve a BIG God! Here is to getting your beautiful son to his FOREVER home!

    Heidi McKnight
    Overlake Christian Church
    Adoption Ministry - Seattle, Washington

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  36. Anonymous5:48 PM

    We will be praying for you and your family. You will get your boy home, do not lose heart. We will keep writing letters.
    Our love,
    Jane and Roger

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  37. I found my way here from Stephanie Ackerman's blog and I am praying for y'all and sending emails on your behalf. You probably already know about this, but on ABC "Good Mornning America" today Robin Roberts profiled a family from Iowa who are on their way back home with their daughter and four other children whose adoptions were in process. The ABC new team there helicoptered the family in from the Dominican Republic and provided help on the ground. It also sounds like Iowa senator Tom Harking played a pretty big part in getting them through the embassy quickly. This a link to that story. http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/HaitiEarthquake/haitis-orphans-us-couple-haiti-bring-home-adopted/story?id=9595752

    May God keep watch over Keenan and bring him home soon.

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  38. Do you have an update? I just read somewhere that some Haiti orphans were going to get humanitarian parole - the process was supposed to start yesterday. Wondering if you son is in that group?

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  39. totally late in the game here. I just figured that out. Don't even know how I got to this post, but read it. Then went to project 320 blog. Then emailed barbara, diane and few others on your behalf. Then came back to your website and realized. Your son is home. Woohoo. I tried not to be totally offended by the "rage against the minivan" because my DMV (dirty minivan) is like home to me and a bunch of other crud. Anyway, I quickly perused your blog (because it is almost midnight and what am i doing up? I have 3 sick kids who will wake me any minute) and I am in love. I will come back and really grasp your situation. But lovin' the family God has made for you. And your James 1:27 life.
    So cool. Blessings to you and your new arrival.

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talk to me.

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