Haitian girl arrives in Donnelly
One of Tamela and Don Sperr's new daughters is making her home in Donnelly, and the family eagerly awaits word on when a second child from earthquake-ravaged Haiti will be joining them.
Tamela Sperr said Thursday that Islande, 10, arrived in Miami on Monday, with her new family waiting to greet her.
Another girl the family has been working to adopt is in good health after surviving the earthquake but there has been no word on when she'll be leaving the country.
It's been a whirlwind few weeks for the Sperr family, so the hectic beginning of this week was handled with relative ease. Especially knowing the reason for all the commotion.
On Jan. 12, Haiti was rocked by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake that left the capital city of Port-au-Prince and much of the surrounding area in ruins and thousands dead or injured.
Just the day before the quake, the Sperrs had left Haiti following a few days in the country to work on the adoptions of Islande and Auddy, 11.
Within a couple of days, the Sperrs received news that both girls had survived the devastation, and it was soon after that U.S. government and Haitian officials began working, for humanitarian reasons, to expedite adoptions that were in progress. The Sperrs had been working for a couple of years to adopt Auddy and, more recently, Islande.
The Sperrs contacted the offices of Minnesota lawmakers Amy Klobuchar, Al Franken and Collin Peterson to seek help on their behalf.
"All three were lobbying for us," Tamela Sperr said.
On Sunday, Jan. 24, the Sperrs received a message from their adoption processor, Reach Out to Haiti: Be in Miami in 24 hours or less.
The Sperrs took off for south Florida, and on Monday a small plane arrived from Haiti, by way of a fueling stop in the Bahamas.
Islande was among six children to step off the plane.
"We were pretty excited," Tamela Sperr said.
Before the plane departed, Tamela Sperr said she gave the Reach Out to Haiti staff two tubs containing thousands of dollars worth of medical supplies that were donated by Prairie Medical.
After flight delays and working through some bureaucratic red tape, the Sperrs and their daughter were on the way back to Minnesota Tuesday night.
There has been no news about Auddy's situation, although Sperr said she has heard the girl is OK.
The family is working to help Islande adapt to her new home -- "so far, so good," Tamela said -- and more details will be worked out in the coming months.
Islande is in good health, although she's suffering from minor medical problems and dehydration.
"She's been sleeping outside for two weeks, so she's got bugs bites and a few other things," Tamela Sperr said. "Little things -- we'll figure it out. Dehydration was an issue. The first day she drank and drank and drank. She drank her water, then my water, then someone else's."
The Sperrs have been made numerous trips to Haiti before the quake to provide assistance, and they've been helping to organize food bagging events through Feed My Starving Children the last two years.
Bringing Islande home gives them hope that more good lies ahead.
"Something good can come from something horrible," she said.