Thacker says nightmare in Haiti now paying loving dividendsPublished 10:21am Tuesday, May 29, 2012 Updated 12:23pm Tuesday, May 29, 2012
It has been said that Americans have a short memory when it comes to disasters that occur outside of the U.S., but one local family has kept Haiti in mind two years after the devastating earthquake.
Sarah Thacker and her husband Dave held a benefit on Friday night for the orphanage from which they adopted their son, Reese.
The Thackers were in the middle of the adoption process and were already scheduled to pick up Reese from Haiti before the earthquake hit.
After the earthquake, Thacker decided to go to Haiti to get her son. Kids who were already matched with parents received a special status and were given permission to leave before the wave of children who were adopted after the disaster.
“Haiti was so chaotic,” Thacker said. “I didn’t mind the chaos. I like kids, so I packed a backpack and went there for what I thought would be one day.”
After her flight, she was accused of forging paperwork and detained in Port-au-Prince where she was held at a police station.
The issue was eventually resolved, but it was six days until Thacker was able to return to her family. It was all worth it in the end, however, because she got to bring Reese home with her.
Reese was lucky to be at such a great orphanage, Thacker said. Children of the Promise is an orphanage and feeding center run by a family from St. Cloud. Unlike many orphanages in Haiti, Children of the Promise provides education services along with food and fresh water.
At the time of her visit, things were so chaotic that Thacker was not able to visit the orphanage, but she hopes to get there someday.
It is now two years after Thacker’s ordeal in Haiti, and Reese and the family are doing well.
“Reese is doing fantastic,” she said. “He loves Minnesota, and he loved it right from the start.”
Adopted at two years old, Reese is now four and enjoys sledding, baseball and hockey.
Although things are going well in the U.S. for Thacker, she still wants to provide for those in Haiti who haven’t been as lucky as Reese.
“Our hearts are so sad for the kids who don’t have families and food,” she said. “That propels us forward to want to do more.”
Thacker is actively helping Children of the Promise, and the benefit held at Putters Bar and Grill on Friday gave area residents a chance to meet Reese, hear Thacker’s story first-hand and help raise money to provide food, clean water and an education to children in Haiti.