Couple Redoubles Efforts To Adopt Haitian Boy

Erin and Geoffrey Lancer i i

Erin Lancer was with Geoffrey in Haiti when the earthquake occurred. Courtesy of Erin and Michael Lancer hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Erin and Michael Lancer
Erin and Geoffrey Lancer

Erin Lancer was with Geoffrey in Haiti when the earthquake occurred.

Courtesy of Erin and Michael Lancer

Erin Lancer, an American, was caught in Haiti this week during the earthquake. She was there to visit a three-year-old boy that she and her husband Michael are working to adopt.

She didn't want to leave the country without Geoffrey, their newly adopted son. But the boy doesn't have a U.S. passport yet.

Erin and Michael Lancer joined Scott Simon on Weekend Edition Saturday. Erin has just returned to her home in West Seneca, N.Y., from Haiti.

"It's always difficult to leave him every time we've gone," said Erin, who has visited Geoffrey five times in the last year. "This was just so much worse."

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There are reportedly 254 U.S. families in line to adopt Haitian children. Like many of them, the Lancers are appealing to their members of Congress for help.

"Actually, I'm pleasantly surprised," Michael said when asked about the response from Congress and the State Department. "When I started this process, what I heard from elected officials was, 'You don't have a passport — you can't do that.'"

But he said that media involvement has helped open doors. Michael said, ideally, the United States would reach an agreement with Haiti to allow children going through the adoption process to travel to the United States and then clean up the immigration issues later on.

Erin had been staying in Port-au-Prince with friends when the earthquake hit.

"All of a sudden, there was a huge rumbling," she said. "Some of the people that I was with said they thought it was a bomb."

She said that she sat down immediately because she couldn't walk. The walls between the house she was staying at and the neighbor's house swayed like a snake, she said.

"It was terrifying," she said. She said Geoffrey ran to her, and they sat together until the quake was over.

Until the Lancers can get Geoffrey back to the United States, Erin said that Geoffrey will be staying with family friends in Port-au-Prince. She said, "He'll be safe until we can get him, and I hope it will be soon."

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