It doesn't happen often, but sometimes a chance encounter can lead to a story that continues for a couple of years.
I hadn't been on the ground in Haiti for long after the earthquake-- which struck two years ago on Jan. 12, 2010 -- when a producer handed me a piece of paper with a name and phone number on it. Brian Williams had met a young pastor on a flight out of Port Au Prince, who had literally begged him for help. There were about 50 children in a life or death situation. They had survived the quake and been evacuated to a makeshift shelter, where food and water were running out. They were getting little help, because there was so much tragedy and mayhem everywhere.
What's more, many of the children were in the process of being adopted by American families. Some of those parents had flown to Haiti and were desperately trying to get their "almost-adopted" kids out.
All of this hit me at a deeply personal level. My 3-year-old daughter Siobhan was born in Ethiopia. We adopted her when she was just a few months old. I've spent a lot of years covering conflicts and disasters around the world and I've always been struck by the countless number of children I've seen living in such desperate circumstances. I didn't go looking for this story in Haiti, somehow it found me. It all felt a bit odd at first, and so close. But after mulling all of this with a few colleagues, I pressed on. And I'm glad I did.
Monday, January 9, 2012
Rock Center: Haitian Adoption Story Tonight
NBC's Rock Center is doing a report tonight about adoption after the earthquake in Haiti. I won't have a chance to catch it, but wanted to give folks a head's up. Here's an intro from their website, by correspondent Ron Allen: