PITTSFIELD, Maine — For Amanda and Jediah Logiodice, the crisis in Haiti has a high degree of personal urgency.
“Our children have been living outside, on the ground, since last Tuesday,” Amanda Logiodice said. “They have been rationed to two meals a day; and by meals, I mean rice and water.”
Since 2008, the Logiodice family of Pittsfield — which includes the couple’s three biological children, Donavan, 8, Braeden, 5, and Bella, 4 — has been working to adopt two Haitian youngsters from His Home for Children, an orphanage in Port-au-Prince. They have made three trips to the Haitian capital, most recently in September. There they met and held and loved the two special children who are waiting to come home to Pittsfield. Christella is 5 and David is just 1.
Last Tuesday’s earthquake severely damaged His Home for Children, and the ensuing chaos and violence in Port-au-Prince left the approximately 130 children there without basics such as food, clothing, clean water, shelter and medical care, Amanda Logiodice said. On Friday, frustrated by reports of the growing catastrophe, the Logiodices and other families who worship at the First Baptist Church in Pittsfield took matters into their own hands.
“Delta Airlines said they would take whatever we could get to the airport in Boston,” Amanda Logiodice said. By knocking on doors around town, as well as petitioning the local hospital, stores, schools and churches, the families assembled enough supplies over the weekend to fill about 30 large plastic bins with medical supplies, diapers, baby wipes, dried milk, baby formula, tuna, peanut butter and more.
A local U-Haul supplier provided a truck at a discount. The Logiodices were scrambling Monday afternoon to get their supplies loaded up and on the road to Logan International Airport for a midnight flight to Haiti.
The supplies, along with a cash donation from the First Baptist Church, will be accompanied to Port-au-Prince and hand-delivered to the orphanage by a Rhode Island woman who also is waiting to adopt a child, Logiodice said. Additional supplies are being sent to His Home for Children by groups in Rhode Island and New York, she said.
“Almost all of these children have families here in the U.S. waiting to bring them home,” Amanda Logiodice said Monday. Her immediate goal, along with that of many other parents with youngsters in the Haitian adoption pipeline, is to bypass the bureaucratic red tape and get her children home.
The paperwork can and must be processed later, she said. For this to happen, Congress must support a “humanitarian parole” effort to allow Haitian children and other refugees speedy transport and placement in this country.
“We got an e-mail yesterday from the director of His Home,” Amanda Logiodice said. “It said ‘Urgent. Contact your senators. We must get the children out of here; it is not safe.’”
Efforts Monday evening to reach the offices of U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe were unsuccessful.