Monday, April 12, 2010

The Story of Kiefer Thomas Patterson, Part 2

The continuation, part 2...

At 3AM, Thursday, April 1, my 12-year-old daughter, Mattie, and I headed to the Austin airport and boarded our flight to Miami.  We were ecstatic to know that in the early afternoon of April 1, 2010, we would be united with our Haitian cutie pie who stole our hearts.  Per US ruling, all incoming orphans from Haiti were required to fly into Miami to be processed by our government.  We had been contacted by USCIS (immigration) multiple times, letting us know what to expect and what records we needed to bring to Miami.  We were informed that all Category 2 orphans (like our son) would have to go to "His House" (an emergency safe house/foster care facility), which had been contracted to process the humanitarian parole paperwork of all incoming Cat 2 Haitian orphans.  Our son, Kenwechtley of Ruuska Village in Haiti, was granted humanitarian parole, which allowed  him to get home quickly, but it would require different forms on our end in order to take him home.  We had everything ready and sent to Miami ahead of time so that the process could be expedited at His House.  Mattie and I arrived in Miami before Noon on April 1, so eager to hold our lil guy.  Unfortunately, we were notified that the plane our son was on leaving Haiti (escorted by orphanage director, Barbara Walker) had been delayed by 2 hours, so they were set to arrive around 5:45PM at the Miami International Airport.

The international customs area of the Miami International Airport.

Mattie and I made our way to the international customs area of the airport where we waited...and waited...and waited.  We were joined by 2 other dads who were also receiving their children from Ruuska Village, via Barbara Walker.  We spent 4 hours chatting with them and getting to know the customs security guards while we waited for our kiddos to make it through immigration at the airport.  At 9:45PM, four hours after the plane from Haiti arrived in Miami, our precious son was finally "processed" at airport immigration and we were able to meet him, hold him, hug him and love on our sweet boy!  He had traveled well, according to the orphanage director and a sweet young lady (who was being adopted by one of the dads who was waiting with us) who helped take care of Kenwechtley on the plane ride.  The immigrations officer who processed Kenwechtley's paperwork came to meet us to tell us that she wanted to steal Kenwechtley and take him home with her!  She wanted us to let our son know that out of the hundreds of incoming orphans she's processed, Kenwechtley was the only one who ever stole her heart!  (We were touched, but not about to let her take our precious boy, and I could see a defensive, protective glare in Mattie's eyes as she sheltered her new baby brother from this well-meaning immigrations officer!)
Waiting...and waiting...and waiting...after only a few hours of sleep, too.

One of our first glimpses of our son, being carried by a sweet Haitian girl who was being adopted by another family.  Bless her heart, Kenwechtley is a big lug!!!

He's looking at his mommy and sister for the first time!!!  Barbara Walker is in the background in the blue floral dress.  She's known in Haiti as "Rambo in the blue dress"!!!

Mommy's first time to hold her precious darling!!!

Here is the airport immigrations officer who told us that Kenwechtley stole her heart.  She asked us to always remind him that he was the only orphan who ever stole her heart!  (Mattie is smiling, but Momma knows that look...get away from MY brother, woman!!!)

Mattie and her new baby brother at the airport!

Barbara Walker, one very excited mommy and Kenwechtley at the airport!

We only got to spend about 20 minutes at the airport with our son before he had to be taken to His House for more humanitarian parole processing.   Because the plane arrived late and it took 4 hours to get through immigration at the airport, His House was closed for processing since it was so late at night.  This meant that our young son would have to spend the night, away from us, at His House until his humanitarian parole documents could be processed the following morning.  We choked back tears as we strapped our exhausted sweetie pie into the car seat of the white His House van that came to pick him up.  We took a little comfort in knowing that Kenwechtley would have other Haitian orphans accompanying him to His House for the night, but it didn't make the separation any easier on any of us.  Kiefer cried as we strapped him into his car seat, and when I told him that I loved him in Creole (the language of Haiti), he nodded his head yes as a big crocodile tear slowly dripped down his chubby cheek.  It broke my heart.
The His House van waiting to take Kenwechtley back to their place for more humanitarian parole processing. The immigrations officer stayed near Kenwechtley until he drove away.

"Say WHAT?!? They're taking me WHERE?!?" This was taken just before the tears started flowing.
To be continued...


Addie Talley, Photographer said...

He is gorgeous... I cant wait to read the next part of the story!

Cindy Foote said...

lovin' every detail of this story! And, btw... you look amazing.. how do you get no sleep and look that good!??

blog comments powered by Disqus