January 20, 2010 – Never in a million years did Brett and Kendra Schlenbaker, both 37, dream it would be such an arduous undertaking to adopt two children from Haiti, but after three long years of being tied up in bureaucratic red-tape, the couple has finally brought the children home to Bellingham.
While the Schlenbaker’s had worked for three years to adopt Dejennika, 8, and Dejouvensky, 6, it took them only eight days after the devastating 7.0 earthquake to get the kids out of the impoverished and suffering nation.
Late this afternoon Kendra posted on her Facebook page, “We are home!! It’s like we’ve always been together. The kids are upstairs playing and exploring their new rooms. I hear giggling like this house has never known before. My heart is FULL!…and everyone said AMEN!”
On Monday morning Brett, determined to find his two kids, boarded a plane to Port-au-Prince. All he took with him were two backpacks – one filled with clothes and the other with non-perishable foods like jerky and protein bars.
Brett had no plans on how he would get to the orphanage and thought he would probably have to walk.
“He was so determined,” said Kendra Schlenbaker. “He was just going down there with the attitude that I’m not leaving the country without my kids.”
As luck would have it Brett ran into missionary workers at the airport in Florida who were headed for the orphanage and offered to give him a ride once they arrived in Haiti.
When they arrived at the orphanage Brett was reunited with Dejennika and Dejouvensky almost immediately. Officials invited him to spend the night at the embassy – he passed – choosing to sleep at the orphanage with his kids instead.
The next day they spent twelve hours at the embassy, then caught a flight to Miami, and finally a flight back to Seattle.
Brett said the process was easier and faster than he imagined it would be. He arrived at 4:30 Monday afternoon and flew out of Haiti at 7 a.m. on Tuesday.
The entire family, including the Schlenbakers’ two biological children, Austin, 12, and Karson, 8, were reunited at Sea-Tac Airport. Mom broke down and sobbed while Austin and Karson ran to their father to give him a long welcoming hug. The kids then went over and hugged their new brother and sister.
Bellingham couple’s journey of prayer, hope and determination – kids are alive! (Video), Part 1
Bellingham couple’s journey of prayer, hope, and determination – trying to get to the kids, Part 2
Bellingham couple’s journey of prayer, hope, and determination; kids are coming home