Local family worried about Haitian kids they want to adopt

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by JENNIFER CABALA / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on January 14, 2010 at 8:04 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 14 at 10:37 AM

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- A Bellingham couple is nervously waiting to hear what has happened to the two children in Haiti they have been trying to adopt for more than three years.

Kendra and Brett Schlenbaker had just finalized the adoption of two Haitian children when the earthquake hit. They have heard the children have survived but have received few other details about how their children are doing or how they can get them out of Haiti.

Kendra Schlenbaker fell in love with Javinski when she visited a Haitian orphanage three years ago.  When she found out he had an older sister, Jennika, she and her husband agreed to adopt the two siblings and bring them back to America.

But the bureaucratic red tape has taken nearly three years.  Last week, they were waiting for a formality, just two more signatures from Haitian officials so the two children could leave the country and come home.

Now they aren't sure if their paperwork can be found or if the officials are still available. The building that handles immigration is across the street from the presidential palace, which was destroyed in the earthquake. And the orphanage where the children were staying has been severely damaged.

The children have spent the last few nights sleeping on mattresses in the courtyard. The Schlenbakers say they want the children home and are ready to pick them up now.

The Schlenbakers are working with Congressman Rick Larson's office in the hopes the U.S. government can help the Haitians finish the process to get Jennika and Javinski out of Haiti.

An aide for Representive Larson's office says there are other families in our state who are in the process of adopting Haitian children and they are doing what they can to assist those families as well.

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