Eudoran Dunback awaits sister’s return from Haiti
Chris Dunback hopes his sister, along with her husband and foster child, is close to coming home.
Kim and Patrick Bentrott moved to Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 2008 to work for Global Ministries as a doctor and seminary teacher, respectively. Last year, they decided to try to adopt Solomon, a baby they met in an orphanage where they volunteered, taking him as their legal foster child through Haitian courts during the process of adoption.
Dunback, who lives in Eudora, and his family have been eagerly waiting since the Jan. 12 earthquake for news that the Bentrotts soon will be allowed to come back to the United States with their son. Because the adoption was not complete when the earthquake struck, they haven’t been able to take him out of the country.
“Either they stay, wait and try to fend for themselves, or leave, and who would do that?” said Dunback, a government teacher at Mill Valley High School. “No one would leave their kids.”
After first hearing of the earthquake, it was most important for Dunback to hear that the Bentrotts had survived. Once that was confirmed, Dunback said his family hoped to have the Bentrotts and the little boy they have been raising for the last year come back to the U.S., but the government would not give Solomon permission to leave. Dunback said it has been hard for the Bentrotts to hear they cannot leave with Solomon due to technicalities.
“This is their child, they’re his legal foster parents and they’ve been loving him for a year,” he said.
So for the past week, Dunback and many of his friends from Mill Valley have been doing all they can to contact legislators about helping the Bentrotts.
Meanwhile, through e-mails and Skype, Dunback has kept in contact with his sister. He also keeps up with her through her blog at kimandpatrick.blogspot.com.
The Bentrotts were able to leave Port-au-Prince and stay with friends in the mountains for a short time, but now they are back in the city. Dunback said they have been trying to help at Solomon’s orphanage, but the lack of food and supplies and the looting in the city have presented challenges.
On Monday, the state department issued a new ruling on humanitarian parole that may allow the orphans to come to the U.S. on at least a temporary basis. A Colorado-based adoption agency that has been assisting the Bentrotts with Solomon’s adoption has arranged a plane to take the 130 orphans from the orphanage, along with the Bentrotts, back to the U.S.
In her blog, Kim wrote of her mixed feelings about the news.
“Feelings of joy in the anticipation of seeing family and friends intermingled with the sick ache of abandoning our Haitian friends at their darkest hour,” she wrote. “Sure we'll come back, but it is hard to leave regardless of homelessness and dwindling supplies.”
All they need now is visas, and bureaucratic rules kept the Bentrotts from getting a visa on Wednesday.
Dunback thanked his friends at Mill Valley for all the work they’ve done to support him, and as conditions become “desperate and dire” in Haiti, he hopes the government allows the Bentrotts to leave with Solomon soon.
“They’re pretty amazing people; they’re worth saving,” he said. “They were trying to help people, and they deserve a little help now.