Local News

Harrowing Haiti Experience Ends At Perfect Time For Local Family

Posted May 9, 2004

— A three-month adoption drama ended for a local family just in time for Mother's Day.

Dr. Tracy Gaudet arrived home with her adopted son for the first time late Saturday night. She had been stranded in Haiti, waiting to finalize the paperwork during the civil unrest there.

It was a long and, at times, dangerous wait. But the end came on the perfect weekend for Gaudet and her husband, Rich Liebowitz.

Gaudet and Liebowitz went to Haiti in February to adopt their son, Ryan. The process was supposed to only take a couple of weeks.

That was until rebels overthrew the government and violence erupted in the streets around the frightened couple. Liebowitz returned to the Triangle, but Gaudet said she was not leaving without Ryan.

Gaudet and 3-month-old Ryan stayed holed up in a hotel, surrounded by guns. A Spanish journalist that Gaudet got to know at her hotel was shot to death as the violence raged, shutting down government offices -- including the one that certifies adoptions -- for months.

Three months later, Gaudet and Ryan finally made it out.

Immigration at the Miami airport was the last test. The long-awaited paperwork passed.

"Really, honestly, I can't believe it," Gaudet said. "It's just too much for my mind to fathom right now. But I did shed a few tears leaving Haiti. It was the day I thought would never come."

The unrest, the unknown, seemed unending. But Saturday, Gaudet was able to begin sharing her gift of motherhood with friends and family.

"I can't wait to . . . let it all sink in that we are finally home and the ordeal is really finally over," she said.

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