By Debbie Bruell
Sopris Sun Correspondent
Last Monday, Lindsay and Hadley
Hentschel were elated to receive the phone call they’ve been waiting 3 ½ years
to receive: their adopted sons finally will be allowed to leave Haiti and come
live with them in Carbondale.
Mykerson (6) and Leander (4) have
lived in the same orphanage in Haiti for most of their lives. The Hentschels
committed to adopting Mykerson in August of 2010. When they travelled to Haiti
to meet him for the first time in December of 2010, they also met Leander,
another boy in the orphanage. The Hentschels originally hoped to adopt two boys
and it seemed to them that Leander was meant to be a part of their family. By
January of 2011 they had officially added Leander to their adoption paperwork.
Typically, an international
adoption from Haiti takes about 18 months. When the terribly destructive
earthquake of January 2010 hit Haiti, adoption processes became much more
delayed. One third of all government workers were killed in the earthquake and
numerous government buildings and offices were destroyed.
“Haiti has always been a complex
country to adopt from, due to government corruption and inefficiency,” Lindsay
told The Sopris Sun, “and the earthquake augmented that.”
A contested presidential election
then led to further delays for the Hentschels. A spelling error on Mykerson’s
passport was the cause of the final delay.
Lindsay said that only one other
family from this orphanage has been struggling through the adoption process for
as long as they have. Mykerson and Leander have watched over 50 other kids
leave the orphanage with their adopted parents. Haiti recently passed a new law
that aims to shorten the adoption process to an average of 6 – 12 months.
Over the past few years while
Lindsay and Hadley have waited for their two sons to be allowed to come to the
U.S., they have travelled to Haiti six times to visit their boys, spending a
total of 14 weeks there. In the summer of 2012 Lindsay and Hadley spent two
months in Haiti teaching English to the children in the orphanage, the
orphanage staff and some high school students.
The Hentschels are both teachers by
profession. They have worked in the Roaring Fork School District for the past
11 years: Hadley as a RFHS science teacher and Lindsay as a CMS language arts
teacher, RFHS English teacher and in a new position beginning this past fall as
a district-wide instructional facilitator.
Hadley and Lindsay will take a few
weeks’ leave from their positions in the district to get their family of four
settled in Carbondale. They plan to fly down to Haiti on March 22. They don’t
know exactly how many days later they’ll be flying back home, but they do know
that this time the boys will be flying back with them.
Once they return to Carbondale they
plan to take a couple of weeks just helping the boys adjust to their new lives.
“They’ve never had anything that’s truly their own,” Lindsay said. “Everything
in the orphanage is communal … toys … rooms … even their clothes were
Mykerson and Leader’s first
language is Haitian Creole. They do speak some English, which they’ve been
learning in school. Lindsay studied Haitian Creole for a couple of years and
has practiced on all of her trips down there. “I do alright with basic
communication now,” Lindsay said.
Around the end of April the boys
will start kindergarten and preschool at Crystal River Elementary School.
“We can’t wait for them to be a
part of the community here,” Lindsay said this week. “I don’t think there are
many communities that would have been so open and welcoming and excited to meet