So how did we get so involved with Haiti? John first went there in 1981 when he was in med school. He had always known that when he became a doctor, he wanted to help poor people. Haiti was it for him; since becoming a doctor, John has spent part of each year in Haiti.
I went to Haiti in 1990 with my church, which had a sister parish in Haiti. I didn't return until 2003, about a year after I met John. Besides all of his working in Haiti, in 1995, John started an organization called Haitian Hearts. In his Haitian clinic work, John kept running across children and young adults with heart problems that could be surgically corrected; however, there is no open heart surgery in Haiti. Haitian Hearts brings these patients to the United States for surgery. One of our patients, 28-year-old Heurese, will have surgery in Ohio next week.
John and I got married in 2004. With the exception of this past year, we have continued to travel regularly to Haiti. I try to help him with his work as a doctor, and we also spend a lot of time on Haitian Hearts--trying to find hospitals for patients and then coordinating the myriad of details it takes to actually bring a Haitian to the United States. In 2006. we took our involvement with Haiti to a new level when we adopted our son Luke from there. He is the joy of our lives.
A family situation has kept us mostly home this past year, but we plan to stay connected with Haiti all of our lives. I'll keep writing, too. Haiti is a place where problems are real, people need help, life is vivid. It is terrible and beautiful at the same time.