PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was one year ago.
Their names were Stanley and Laura, Kerwin and Kesley – beautiful babies and young children shivering in insulated blankets on a freezing January day dressed in shorts and t-shirts, tiny bare feet dreaming of a new life away from their island home rocked by an earthquake.
Valery, 9, was among the 54 Haitian children brought to Holy Family Institute. He’s watching the children’s fantasy “The Neverending Story.” He’s already familiar with the reality of long journeys.
“I take two airplanes when I was coming here,” he said. “Now when I [am] gonna go Colorado, I [am] gonna take two airplanes.”
“I saw them come off the plane and the video of that at the hospital and I thought that’s really cool,” Kathy Van Etten said.
She and Valery will be flying home to Parker, Colo. tonight joining her husband Jeff, their four older children and the twins Jack and Jimmy they adopted from Haiti in 2009.
A year ago, Kathy got another call from the twins’ adoption agency.
“They said that they had a list of kids that needed homes and were we interested in adopting more?” she said.
The answer was yes. But over the past year, most of the Haitian children airlifted to this country faced complex legal hurdles in the adoption process, but all that is behind most of them now, says Sister Linda Yankoski.
“One more is leaving today and then there are four more children who are in process for being matched with families,” Yankoski.
For all at Holy Family, it has been an amazing year. “We’ve had the opportunity to nurture theses children – see them through some difficult experiences of trauma and fear they have all progressed marvelously.”
Valery likes chicken and ice cream, “Sponge Bob” and “Popeye” and says he polished his English in music class.
“And,” says his new mom, “I’m still trying to get used to the fact that I have another child, but I think it’s wonderful that he’s going to be part of our family.”
And in his musical voice – Valery had these words for those he’s leaving behind.
“The kids in my class, I will miss you. Thank you for being my friend.”
It’s very likely that Valery will have friends wherever he goes.