Holding her 6-week-old, Jude, Debra Parker hugs Ronel, 9, who arrived from Haiti on Thursday with his dad, Ernest Parker. New sister Carly, 12, and brother Colton, 10, were at the airport, too.
Debra Parker and three of her four children stood facing the baggage claim escalator at George Bush Intercontinental Airport. A semicircle of friends and family fanned out behind them. As step by rolling step flattened at the bottom, empty, the circle grew restless. Debra turned to look back at them.
“This is how I felt for two weeks,” she said.
Debra's husband, Ernest Parker, has spent the last two weeks sleeping on the waiting room floor of the American Embassy in Port-au-Prince, where he was picking up the family's long-awaited fourth child: 9-year-old Ronel. The Parkers have been trying to adopt the boy, an orphan who nearly starved to death, for two years.
Ronel was freed to immigrate to the U.S. after the recent earthquake, but a bureaucratic breakdown delayed his exit while Ernest haggled endlessly with Haitian and American officials.