Hatboro a refuge for Haitian orphan

    One of 53 Haitian orphans airlifted from a Port-au-Prince orphanage to Pittsburgh is now making a home in Montgomery County. Governor Ed Rendell himself shepherded the group from the earthquake-ravaged country January 19th. For one Hatboro family, the work is just beginning.

    Haitian orphan Wadner arrived at his new home in Hatboro, Pa. this week

    One of 53 Haitian orphans airlifted from a Port-au-Prince orphanage to Pittsburgh is now making a home in Montgomery County.  Governor Ed Rendell himself shepherded the group from the earthquake-ravaged country January 19th. For one Hatboro family, the work is just beginning.

    Carolyn Simon had been making her way through the adoption process before the earthquake, and she was expecting 7-year-old Wadner to come to the U-S in June.

    But everything changed when the earthquake shook Port-Au-Prince and the orphanage where Wadner lived was nearly destroyed.

    Simon: It was very late Monday night – I had actually fallen asleep and woke up around midnight and saw an email from our adoption agency that said ‘there’s a plane on its way to the Pittsburgh. We have no idea who’s on it but we think it’s all the kids from the orphanage so I jumped out of bed, packed a bag and drove to Pittsburgh. So I did not know he was on that flight until i saw him at Children’s Hospital basically.

    Wadner and Carolyn Simon

    Simon says Wadner is settling into his new life in Montgomery County: he loves sports, and being outside. And although he’s had some rice and beans, she says Wadner’s also a big fan of lasagna, pizza, and macaroni and cheese.

    In many ways, Wadner sounds like a typical 7 year old American kid.

    Simon is scrambling to enroll Wadner in school, and struggling with another challenge:

    Wadner speaks Creole, and only knows a little English.

    Simon: You do a lot of pointing.  I understand key words. I know what hungry is, I know what certain toys are and he will call certain toys by their actual names…like “dog” – we have two dogs and so he uses some English words like that and I know some of the Creole words for what he’s asking for. And I have a Creole dictionary so if I really can’t understand, I’ll look it up.

    Simon says she’s trying to find a French major at the local high school who might be interested in tutoring Wadner.

    There are also difficult personal issues. Simon says Wadner’s mother was alive when she gave him up. Wadner had been in the orphanage for 4 years. Simon says she was trying to get an appointment with his birth mother, before the earthquake, but now she doesn’t even know if his birth mother is alive.

    She says Wadner hasn’t said a whole lot about Haiti, and seems happy but she’s not fooling herself about his past, or his future.

    Simon: He’s been great. There’s no way that this can go on forever without him having some flashbacks or you know – he’s been through a lot. Even before the earthquake – these kids go through a lot you know. So there’s no way he’s going to be unharmed by any of it. But he’s been great. He’s playing, he’s having a ball – there’s toys all over the place.

    Simon says she hopes to finalize the adoption and give Wadner a home he can count on in Hatboro.

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