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Indiana family says Haitian children they adopted are trapped in the country

Missy Tennant and adoptive Haitian children
Posted at 8:32 PM, Mar 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-11 20:32:59-04

GREENFIELD — Missy and John Tennant officially adopted two boys from Haiti, but they're still waiting for their adoptive children to come to Indiana. Recent violence in Haiti has made that wait difficult.

"In our kids' situation, they should be home," Missy Tennant said. 'They're terrified for their lives."

The Tennants said they started the process to adopt the two boys, who are now 15 and 13 years old, in 2019. They say the process was completed in March of 2023.

"We have the documents showing that the boys have our last name," John Tennant said.

They have visited the boys in their home country multiple times and were motivated to adopt after a prior service trip to Haiti. However, they no longer feel safe visiting because of politically-motivated gang violence.

"They're your kids, but you can't go in there and just get them," John Tennant said.

The Tennants say they have attempted to speed up the diplomatic adoption process to bring the boys to the United States by contacting lawmakers, but have not had luck doing so.

"We have our adoption decree and we've been told they're coming home on a certain date, but it continues to get moved," Missy Tennant said. "Haitian government offices are shut down and it's really hard for some of the paper work to be complete because it's just not safe for those workers."

They are now worried that Haiti is no longer safe for their adoptive children, either.

"It is heartwrenching," Missy Tennant said. "We got notice from the orphanage that the two are hiding under their bed and fearful. We just want them home."

They hope elected officials do what it takes to waive certain documents so adoptive Haitian children can leave the country while they can.

"Anytime they talk to us, they ask when we're coming to see them or when they're coming home," Missy Tennant said. "You always want mom and dad to make things better, and that's hard."