Tired and cold, five Haitian children finally found themselves in the arms of their adoptive parents Tuesday night at the Pella Municipal Airport. The children, along with Matt and Mandy Poulter of Pella were flown in on Pella Corporation’s private plane, arriving shortly before 8:00 p.m. and greeted by a crowd of dozens of friends, family members and children holding signs and snapping pictures. The Poulters are the parents of a little girl, while fellow Pella residents Les and Tracy Fuller and Dave and Andrea Vanderhoff each adopted a sister and brother.
Andrea Vanderhoff tells KNIA/KRLS News that Iowa’s members of Congress came through for the three families, particularly Senator Tom Harkin.
“I can not say enough positive things about his office and what he did to get our children out of there,” said Vanderhoff. “They worked all weekend, he and his staff, to get things in place to be able to get these kids out, and these five are some of the first ones to be able to get out and get to the United States. There have not been that many.”
The five children were among nine children at an orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, that survived last week’s deadly earthquake and had been receiving supplies from a television news crew in the days that followed the disaster.
Vanderhoff says the children were granted passage into the U.S. by a humanitarian parole that was enabled Monday by the United States Government. Vanderhoff says there are more Haitian orphans that need help and she hopes their experiences can help others.
“With this humanitarian parole, there will be a lot more orphans available [for adoption], and anything that we can do to help families to get these children into good homes is great,” said Vanderhoff. “We really feel like this is God’s story, this isn’t ours. I mean there’ve been so many people praying for us, and to just see this series of events and the details that we feel like the Lord has taken care of has been astounding. So anything that we can do to help another orphan, we would love to do, and if that can come through as part of this story, that’s great.”
Vanderhoff adds that while only the children from the CTOMA orphanage that were in the process of being adopted were allowed out of Haiti, there are already other families in Pella that have expressed interest to adopt the remaining four orphans to help keep all of the children close together. In a related story, Vermeer Corporation has established a fund through the Vermeer Charitable Foundation that is matching employee contributions dollar-for-dollar to raise money for relief in Haiti.