Miles apart: local mother hopes to reunite brothers from Haiti to the U.S.

Reporter: Ashley French
Published: Updated:

The process of adopting a child is different for everyone, but Michelle Reed’s passion has always been to adopt children into her family. 

In 2022, she followed those passions when she adopted 9-year-old Vidal and 8-year-old Jiberson from Haiti. The boys flew from Haiti to Miami with just the clothes on their backs. 

“I have two older children that are biological, and they just think these boys are the greatest blessing to our family,” said Reed. “Adoption has always been something that I just knew it’d be part of my life. When the opportunity arose to adopt them, I just knew it was the right thing to do.”

It turns out Vidal and Jiberson have a younger brother, 6-year-old Esai, whom they haven’t seen in years and who is still stuck in Haiti. 

Reed said she’s been trying to adopt Esai for the past year and a half but hasn’t received consistent and clear communication from the U.S. Department of State, the Office of Children’s Issues

This is an organization that provides information on preventing and assisting in cases of international parental child abduction and is the central authority charged with the implementation of the Hague Abduction Convention.

“The process in Haiti to adopt is a long, arduous process,” said Reed. “The U.S. Department of Office of Children’s Issues sent us an email on March 22, saying that they’re going to get our kids out after some advocating that we did. They asked us to send them some documentation and choice of escort to have the children escorted to Miami.”

After Reed sent the required documentation to adopt Esai and the 70 other children from Haiti approved for adoption in the U.S., she received an email stating the opposite of what she had hoped for. 

“On the 12th of April, they sent an email out and said there is no path forward for families that don’t have an adoption decree a finalized adoption in Haiti, and that they were no longer going to get our kids out. So of course, that was very difficult to hear,” said Reed. 

The ever-growing humanitarian crisis in Haiti is exposing young Esai to danger and uncertainty. 

“The crisis has escalated so severely that my son was evacuated three times to get away from the gangs that infiltrated his orphanage,” said Reed. “My son is now living in a different part of the country, and I have no idea where he is. To have a six-year-old son unsupervised or somewhere I don’t know where he is is very difficult.”

Despite the roadblocks and fear, Reed won’t stop until Esai is home safe with his two older brothers. 

“Our plea is just that the State Department would consider emergency humanitarian parole immediately for the 71 children that are matched with U.S. families in the adoption process in Haiti, to bring them to safety so we can continue the adoption process under Hague law, Haitian law and U.S. law and complete it and finalize it, but have the children home safely with us so that we don’t have to experience loss of life.” 

The U.S. Department of Children’s Issues is chartering a flight from Haiti to Miami on Thursday, May 30. Reed urges the Department of State and Homeland Security to board all 71 kids, including 6-year-old Esai, to bring him home safely. 

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