My husband Jerry and I have been flying food, medicine and doctors to Haiti since 2004. On our very first trip together, a little girl named Yoldine, 1½ years old, came and sat on my lap. It was love at first sight! I carried her around with me for the rest of the weekend.
When Pastor Henri was showing us around the orphanage, he turned around and said that she really needed a mom and dad. When it was time to leave, I remember sitting with Yoldine outside the children's dorm, holding her close, kissing the top of her head, praying and crying - I didn't want to leave her! I have tears in my eyes now thinking how hard it was to go.
In that moment, I felt G-d say to me, “This is the daughter I chose for you.” I would have to hold on to that thought for 6 long years as we worked through all the “red tape” involved to bring our daughter home.
Over the next 6 years, we flew to Haiti at least 50 times to see her and the other 90 children at the orphanage. We filled our plane with fruit trees, rabbits, clothes, water pumps, shoes, teddy bears, dentists, doctors, holiday dinners and all sorts of other supplies - it was quite an adventure!
Jerry and I have been very grateful that we were able to be a part of this adventure. We feel truly blessed. For every one of you that has helped us along the way, we wanted to say that we are forever thankful for your encouragement and support!
Over 18 years ago, Henri Gaetjens and Gladys Mecklembourg were part of a small group of visionaries that had a passion to create a home for the lost souls of their country.
So Hannah's story begins...
Hannah's Art Gallery
Now she is home with us, and it is amazing! The first few weeks, I would say, were “challenging”. I would introduce her as my daughter, “Yoldine,” and she would say, “My name is “Yolnide!” We were not getting along. It was a scary time for her; she was taken from all that she knew, she hardly spoke or understood any English, and we didn’t speak Creole or French.
Everything was new - from getting into a car and driving to a grocery store, turning on a switch and having lights come on, trying on clothes in a store, to just simply having a mom, a dad, and a grandmother...EVERYTHING!!!
Our lives now are unbelievable. Hannah is everything and more than I could have ever dreamed or hoped for. We are incredibly close, and Jerry and I love and adore her. Thank you, G-d!
One week after the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12, 2010, we were cleared by the Department of State to bring our 7½ year old daughter home. Once again, we filled our plane with supplies and flew into the Port-au-Prince Airport. It was a catastrophic time! I can only imagine how scary it was for our little girl. My husband says, “It took an earthquake to shake her loose!”
When we met our daughter, we were told her birth name was Yoldine, so we thought, “Yoldine (Yol-dean) Lowenstein” would be her new name. However, several years into the adoption process, they finally found her birth certificate. Her name was spelled wrong, and she and the other kids started calling her Yolnide (Yol-need). My husband and I didn’t think that name would work in the States.
Here is my story.