March 3, 2010

Quake hastens Maine families' growth spurt


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They had been working to adopt their children from an orphanage in the Cap Haitien area of northern Haiti, almost 90 miles away from Port-au-Prince. That's where they had adopted Reggie from last year. And that was when they met Sassia and Richard.

Cap Haitien felt the earthquake and subsequent aftershocks, but suffered no damage. But even that far away, there is suffering. Food and gas prices have jumped, and the city's hospitals are serving many quake victims from Port-au-Prince.

Even the orphanages are stressed. Any child who was in the adoption process was united with his or her new parents as quickly as possible to make room for new orphans from Port-au-Prince, said Matt Lenfestey.

Just this week, the orphanage where their new children had been living received 20 new orphans from the Haitian capital, he said. The two children were flown to Florida, where they were met by their new parents and brother.

As Carlyn Lenfestey stood holding her two new children, little Richard clutched a bright plastic payloader toy, and his sister a baby doll. Their mother considered that in only eight months, she and her husband have become a family of five.

''It's heavy -- it's wonderful,'' she said. ''It's great.''

As the two families talked, Sassia began crying -- signaling to parents, family and media that it was time to get some tired kids to their new Maine homes.


MaineToday Media Staff Writer Erin Rhoda contributed to this report.


Staff Writer Matt Wickenheiser can be contacted at 791-6316 or at:


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