SEATTLE - A Bellingham father completed his mission of mercy, delivering 60 Haitian orphans to families in the U.S. – among them, his two adopted daughters. After uniting kids and families in Florida and Utah over the weekend, Scott Gordon and his wife, Michelle, arrived Tuesday afternoon at Sea-Tac Airport with their two, wide-eyed girls.
Two weeks earlier, Gordon jumped on a plane to Haiti to bring as many orphans cleared for adoption home from "Hope for Little Angels of Haiti." The orphanage had been destroyed by the earthquake and the children moved to a safer building. Working with Congressman Rick Larsen's office, senators from Utah and Idaho and the orphanage staff, Gordon tried to clear as many orphans as possible to come back to the U.S. with him.
"If I hadn't been down there and the people who went with me hadn't gone and put that time in, we wouldn't have gotten the children out," said Gordon. "And now I think this week it's going to be even worse because of some of the other things happening with children trying to get out of the country. The Prime Minister just said, 'You know, it's not worth it. How about nobody gets to leave?"
After a week of administrative hassles which Gordon likened to "jumping through flaming hoops", the Haitian government was still slow to approve the children's travel. Michelle Gordon said on Friday, the pilot of her husband's plane took a stand. "The pilot refused to leave the tarmac until all the children were onboard. He said you can arrest me or you can shoot me but I'm not leaving without all these children on the plane."
Late that night, with signed releases in hand, they took off for Florida with 60 orphans. Some families were united in Florida, others in Utah. Tuesday, Scott and Michelle walked off the plane with 6-year-old Destina and 2-year-old Avire.
"I can't wait until I'm home," says Michelle. "I still turn around and think, 'They're here! They're with us! I can't believe it!"
Scott and Michelle have five other children waiting to greet their new sisters at home in Bellingham. The Gordons had been trying to adopt children from Haiti for three years. During that time, two children they had made contact with died. The couple was not going to let even an earthquake interfere this time. Scott said, "Our adoption might have ended at that point. And that would've been a heartbreaker."