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An Earthquake, an Orphanage, and New Beginnings for Haitian Children in America

After the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, 19 children from one orphanage were flown to the U.S. to be adopted by American families. One would later meet President Trump.

By Catherine Porter and Serge F. Kovaleski

When a devastating earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, a teenager named John Peter was playing basketball in the yard outside the small orphanage where he lived. He felt the earth bounce below him. He heard screams and watched a mushroom cloud of dust rising over the walls.

Two weeks later, he and 18 other children from the orphanage boarded a charter plane in the middle of the night as part of an American humanitarian effort. They landed in Sanford, Fla., to start new lives, in a new country, with new families.

“I saw the disaster and death all around. Dead moms, holding their dead kids,” John Peter Schlecht, now 23 and known as “JP,” said from St. Cloud, Minn., where he works three jobs. “I got out of there, but all those people were left. They didn’t get the chance I got.”

Since then, the children have headed in all directions. Some are studying in high school or college, or making a living of their own. Others have struggled with problems brought on by the early hardship in their lives, profound culture shock and the inability of their new parents to handle the challenges. Some were institutionalized or sent into foster care.

  And in perhaps the most unlikely development, one boy and his older adopted Haitian sister ended up in the Rose Garden last month, introduced to the world by President Trump as two of Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s seven children.

“She opened her home and her heart, and adopted two beautiful children from Haiti,” he said, introducing Judge Barrett as his nominee to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court. continue reading

Haitian Times

Haitian Times

The Haitian Times was founded in 1999 as a weekly English language newspaper based in Brooklyn, NY.The newspaper is widely regarded as the most authoritative voice for Haitian Diaspora.
Haitian Times
Oct. 19, 2020

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