March 3, 2010

Maine couple desperate to get daughter home

BETH QUIMBY

— By

click image to enlarge

Erin Boisrond, seen here with her daughter Roshlyne in Haiti last summer, is trying with her husband, Gabidson, to bring her back to their home in Kennebunkport.

Staff Writer

The earthquake in Haiti has postponed Erin and Gabidson Boisrond's reunion with their 11-month-old daughter.

It also has added urgency to the Kennebunkport couple's effort to bring the ailing child home.

''When we speak to my husband's family on the phone, they cry and tell us there is nothing to eat, no water to give Roshlyne. I am terrified,'' said Erin Boisrond, a special education teacher at Wells High School.

The Boisronds learned of Roshlyne's existence in August. The child, Gabidson Boisrond's biological child, was born after he had left Haiti to marry Erin and live with her in Kennebunkport.

The two met five years ago, when Erin was in Haiti as part of church mission. They have been married for about a year and a half.

Gabidson Boisrond now works at Bradbury's Market in Kennebunkport. He's also a volunteer firefighter and a part-time student.

Erin Boisrond said the child's biological mother, who died in the earthquake, was very young and didn't know how to care for the baby, who was left alone for hours at a time.

The mother gave up custody of the child, who was suffering from malaria and was malnourished, underweight and developmentally lacking, to the Boisrond family, who have been caring for her ever since.

In Kennebunkport, Erin and Gabidson Boisrond have been working with U.S. immigration officials for months to bring Roshlyne to the United States.

Although Roshlyne's condition has improved, the Boisrond family is very poor and has many members to feed, said Erin Boisrond. They live in Blanchard, a poor, crime-riddled neighborhood about two miles north of Port-au-Prince.

She said there have been several short cell phone conversations, enough to establish that Roshlyne is all right and being breast-fed by an aunt who has a 6-month-old.

The family is staying outside a medical clinic. There is no safe water to drink.

Erin Boisrond told them to make a giant SOS sign that would be visible to helicopter crews passing overhead. She urged them to boil what water they can find.

''We are just praying they get some sort of relief,'' she said.

Her mother-in-law had a major stroke a couple of years ago, which makes the family's daily survival even more difficult. Most members of the family appear to be all right, she said, but two aunts and a cousin apparently died in the quake.

Gabidson Boisrond's best friend was buried under wreckage for four days before being rescued. He had his work badge on and his discovery was announced on a local radio station.

''Thank God my husband's family was able to go down and carry him to a hospital,'' said Erin Boisrond.

Boisrond said she hopes to get their friend to the United States for treatment.

On Monday, the Boisronds got a bit of good news. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced it was expediting the process to allow children such as Roshlyne to enter the United States for humanitarian reasons.

''Who knows what their version of expedite means?'' she said.

The Boisronds contacted Maine's congressional delegation but had not heard back as of Monday. They are receiving support from Erin Boisrond's family in Kennebunkport and their church, the Church on the Cape.

On Sunday, Gabidson Boisrond gave a report on what was happening in Haiti to the congregation, which supports 12 children in Blanchard, all of whom escaped injury. Boisrond read out the names of the children and sang a song in Creole, said the Rev. Ruth Merriam.

''He has a beautiful voice,'' said Merriam.

In a special collection, the congregation donated $3,165 for earthquake relief. Merriam said there will be another collection next Sunday.

On Monday, the Boisronds surfed the Internet for news from Haiti and the immigration service.

Erin Boisrond said it was hard not to panic over the conditions in Haiti and the safety of their daughter. ''We need to get her now.''

 

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

bquimby@pressherald.com

 

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