Haiti

Moore County couple waits to adopt Haitian child

Posted January 20, 2010 5:32 p.m. EST
Updated January 20, 2010 6:55 p.m. EST

— When Chris and Amie Fraley, of Whispering Pines, first saw a photo of 19-month-old Jefferson, they fell in love.

“It’s almost like an ultrasound picture when you’re pregnant. You’re not going to meet this child for a while, but at that instant, they’re your child now,” Amie Fraley said.

The Moore County couple plans to adopt the boy from Haiti, an area hit with a devastating earthquake last week.

Jefferson’s orphanage, the House of Angels in Tabarre, Haiti, crumbled from the aftershocks of the magnitude- 7.0 quake, but all of the children and staff made it out of the building safely, the Fraleys were told.

The children were moved to a more secure building and are getting food and supplies, but the Fraleys said they are still worried about their soon-to-be son.

Chris Fraley said they think about “just how tragic life is there already and the situation Jefferson’s coming from."

The Fraleys were matched with Jefferson through Carolina Adoption Services in Greensboro.

Officials say efforts are underway to get Haitian orphans matched with American families airlifted to the United States.

“It could be days. It could be weeks. We just really don’t know,” said Siri Scott, marketing and communications coordinator for Carolina Adoption Services.

Scott said the U.S. and Haitian governments have to be extra careful before airlifting any children to the United States on humanitarian grounds.

"The last thing we want to happen in a crisis situation is have children who aren't necessarily orphans or aren't necessarily the children matched with families here {in the United States} be brought to the states," Scott said.

Because of the red tape of international adoptions, the Fraleys weren't expecting to bring Jefferson home until the end of this year.

The disaster in Haiti may help speed that up.

Amie Fraley said she's been reaching out to state senators and congressional representatives to put some pressure on the State Department to get these adoptees out quickly and safely. "I feel like we're not moving quickly enough to get the kids to a safe place, and that is pretty disheartening," she said.

Jefferson will be the couple’s fourth child. They have two biological children – 8-year-old Colette and 6-year-old Tavish – and a 3-year-old adopted daughter, Maya, from China.

The Fraley family is one of two in the U.S. matched with a child in Haiti through Carolina Adoption Services. The other family is in Virginia Beach.

CAS said they have seen a spike in families wanting to adopt children from Haiti since the earthquake hit. Since Friday, the agency has received more than 1,000 calls from people wanting to adopt children from the country. Typically, the group gets maybe a handful of calls a week.

Scott said interested families typically undergo pre-application, a four to six–month process in which professionals evaluate the home environment to see if it is stable and suitable for adopted children. Because of the uncertainty in Haiti and what the Haitian government will allow, Scott said the organization is waiting to put them through the formal application process.

Before the earthquake, CAS said there were an estimated 500,000 orphans in Haiti, making up about 13 percent of the country's population.