January 24, 2010

Bringing Samuel Chancelet home: 'Our prayers had been answered'

Posted: 01:38 AM ET

Editor’s Note: Joe and Jill Wilkins of Portland, Oregon, were in the process of finalizing their adoption of a little Haitian boy, Samuel Chancelet, when the earthquake struck. Samuel Chancelet was not harmed in the earthquake, but the Wilkinses had been desperately trying to bring him home - until today. Joe and Jill have documented their journey on the LKL Blog. Joe, Jill, and Samuel Chancelet will be guests on Larry King Live on Monday at 9pmET/6pmPT!

As we sit here, writing this blog update, our son Samuel Chancelet is sleeping on the hotel bed in Miami. Two weeks ago, had someone told us would be in a hotel room, watching our baby, we would have taken a deep breath, sighed and said, “impossible.”


It surely has been quite an interesting couple of weeks. I saw a lot of devastation and yet extraordinary things too. God’s Littlest Angels orphanage was a haven in the midst of catastrophe. All of the workers and volunteers are my heroes.

It is unreal that we have Samuel Chancelet with us now (this very second!) and it is amazing to be able to look over and watch him sleep. He is such a happy boy and I love him so much. It was such a long journey to get to Miami. God’s Littlest Angels (GLA) did a wonderful job entertaining the kids and, as Dixie put it, “We made a fun adventure out of it.”

We had some incredible volunteers, along with GLA staff who cared for the kids for over 18 hours. Yes, 18 hours (1.5 hours drive down from GLA to the airport, 5.5 hours waiting at the airport, 2 hours on tarmac, 2 hours in the air and about 7 hours to process the children’s paperwork in customs).

The kids were tired and the adults were exhausted. We stayed in a small immigration room where kids slept, played or were held by staff and volunteers. Taking care of 81 children is no small task. I was exhausted.

I was keeping Jill updated via text messages. It was hard knowing we were in the same area and couldn’t see one another. Since I had left for Haiti, we really had only talked or emailed regarding “business,” as things were moving so fast. I don’t think either one of us had internalized what was taking place.

When the moment finally arrived, I had a feeling of complete relief, like a burden was lifted off of my shoulders. We were finally together. I am not sure I have fully processed this. We have been through so many ups and downs throughout this adoption. I just can’t believe we were finally able to walk away with him in our arms.


It was such a roller coaster of emotions for those 18 hours. Joe was able to text me with updates, so I was fed tidbits of information when they started their journey down the mountain from God’s Littlest Angel’s orphanage. We had no idea if the flight was actually going to get out, but were praying all the pieces would come together.

The parents were advised that the plane should land around 9:40pm. Most of us knew the paperwork could take some time, but I think we all wanted to meet each other, as we have shared this journey together for so long. Many of us are a part of internet chat groups and track blogs. I was looking forward to finally meeting them! Under normal circumstances that in itself would have been an incredible day. However, we had so much more to share!

We gathered around at the gate… with nothing but cameras and smiles. I really enjoyed meeting, visiting and sharing the anticipation of the incredible moment that was about to come. But around 11pm (around the time were hoping to hear the plane was landing) I got a text that said they were just taking off from Port-au-Prince. We all took a deep breath and sighed. Some went back to their hotel room, while others slept on the floor at the gate.

As frustrating as it was, we all knew that in the scheme of things, we could wait a few more hours. Joe let me know they were processing files and that it was going very slowly. At around 7am, the parents were taken to a new location, where we waited for 2.5 more hours. When Dixie finally walked in the door at 9:30am the whole room clapped, cheered and gave her the warmest reception (we all have such a deep respect for this woman). She spent time talking about the day, the process and what might be in store.

And then she announced it was time to meet our children!!! I was so emotional – was this really happening? When my name was called, I literally ran out the conference room door, where I saw Joe carrying Samuel Chancelet, along with our friend’s baby, Anri Jacob! I was overjoyed and overwhelmed all at once. The journey to having our own family has been so long for us.

All the pain, hurt and frustration melted away when I embraced both my husband and son, knowing we would get to be together, forever! God had a way of working this out. Everything was orchestrated perfectly, and our prayers had been answered. I am still finding that I need Joe to pinch me on occasion to make sure that I am not dreaming. I cannot wait for what life has in store for us!


Today is the day!

Making progress

Day 2

A couple's desperate journey

Filed under: Haiti Earthquake • Larry King Live

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Cori   January 24th, 2010 2:07 am ET

Please Please will someone with the COURAGE to do the job be at Haiti's main airport and distribute the medicine, water and other supplies now to the need people. Please!! Soon!!

A. Smith, Oregon   January 24th, 2010 2:24 am ET

Larry King, I'm pleased and happy for Joe and Jill Wilkins of Portland, Oregon, with their adoption of a little Haitian boy, Samuel Chancelet.

I hope there are many more positive events and outcomes of this terrible tragidity upon the people of Haiti in the days, months and years ahead.

Beth Boyd   January 24th, 2010 4:15 am ET

Larry. Could you discuss this story to help the haitians? *Haitian workers earn only 6 cents for every pair of Disney “101 Dalmatians” outfit that Disney sells for $20. Disney pays its workers in Haiti about 28 cents an hour. A woman in Salvador working in a sweatshop makes 12 cents sewing a GAP T-shirt that sells in the US for $20. (Sources: In These Times; National Labor Committee; Jobs with Justice) Beth Boyd

Debra   January 24th, 2010 3:41 pm ET

I think it is wonderful that all of these children (little miracles) are being placed with loving families where they will be safe and taken care of. Congratulations to all of these families and may their lives be filled with much happiness and numerous blessings.

Joe G. (Illinois)   January 24th, 2010 7:25 pm ET

Let’s be careful about all these Hero/Savior Complexes.. I recommend picking up a Bible and reading the Book of Job. Job (A very rich, prosperous, fortunate family man) never credited the Devil for the devastating misfortunes that later fallowed him.. Furthermore he never became arrogant toward God. Yet fallowing this recent Haiti earthquake we see how little people think of God next to the devil and how quickly so many of them are willing to dig in their heals with arrogance and make themselves as the mighty heroes. All I’m saying is that there is nothing wrong with helping others in need. But let’s do it being humble with humility and appreciation in our hearts for the love and mercy of God.

Mohamed Eltayeb   January 24th, 2010 9:46 pm ET

I wish if the relief efforts in Haiti copy the Saudi experience in erecting fire-proof tents that accommodate 2,000,000 people during pilgrimage. It will be much easier to build and control with all facilities avaialable. If the tents are not available in America they can be definetly donated by the Saudi Arabian Government becuase they will not be using these tents again until November of 2010.

I hope this suggestion captures Larry king's attention and finds it way to implementation. It takes 2 days to build the camps the house 2,000,000 people in a rugged mountainous area in Suadi Arabia.
Here is google earth's adress for the tents I'm talking about :

in Goolgle Earth's search write Mina, Mena, Saudi Arabia

Carol Loperena   January 24th, 2010 10:37 pm ET

My hope is that the focus on this crisis in Haiti will also bring attention to the effort by the Carter Center to eradicate Malaria on the island by 2010. The Center is trying to get the two governments to work together to beat Malaria, and this crisis could be used to extend the focus on this effort.

GUINA ST VIL   January 24th, 2010 10:41 pm ET

I am from haiti , i've been living in the us for the past 7 year. Actually my family is living on the buit they are alive that is all matter!!!!i can't tell you how gratefull i am to the people in the us for caring.I don't think any country has ever been so caring to my country as you guys are, even my own people NEVER CARED for more than 206 years .
Thank you! t=Thank you! Thank you Thank you!!! Thank you !!!!!!!

GUINA ST VIL   January 24th, 2010 10:43 pm ET

I am from haiti , i've been living in the us for the past 7 year. Actually my family is living on the STREET but they are alive that is all that matter!!!!i can't tell you how gratefull i am to the people in the us for caring.I don't think any country has ever been so caring to my country as you guys are, even my own people NEVER CARED for more than 206 years .
Thank you! t=Thank you! Thank you Thank you!!! Thank you !!!!!!!

Dodie   January 24th, 2010 11:28 pm ET


Thank you for expressing your appreciation of what we have done to help Haiti!

Your people, the people of Haiti, are wonderful and vibrant! I was in Haiti as a child and will always remember the music and dancing! They had little, but enjoyed life.

still me just a new name   January 25th, 2010 1:58 am ET


So many people are still willing to I mentioned before my Aunt is getting ready to go to Haiti...please keep everyone in Haiti and the volunteers in your prayers.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   January 25th, 2010 2:19 am ET

@GUINA ST VIL January 24th, 2010 10:43 pm ET
This is a heartfelt thanks from you on behalf of your country. God Bless.

Jessie from Auckland, NZ   January 25th, 2010 2:22 am ET

What a beautiful story the above article is.

Linda Allen   January 25th, 2010 2:37 am ET

Well i just have to say that i am apalled. If every one of you super stars would cough up say even a fraction of your fortunes, we wouldnt have to have a telethon. If each star at that telethon gave 5 million dollars problem solved but no they get together and are so generous to answer the phones to get those of us who can barely pay our mortgage to donate when these people have the nerve to show at awards shows in gowns that would feed the country of haiti for a day. So please please spare us the sad songs and the telephone answering and lets see some cold hard cash to back up all the phone answering. If i make $3000.00 a month (before taxes) and i give $300 for Haiti, are all those movie stars going to give 10% of their income before taxes?? I bet not. It is just sickening to see these stars and celebrities at their galas and out spending money desighner clothes and outragous cars and homes all over the country and then answer the phone on a telethon trying to get money from the rest of us, insulting to say the least. Yes Oprah gave 1 million dollars well what is she worth? So if you folks really want to put your money where your mouth is then cough it up like the rest of us. Yeah it sounds great that some star donated 1 million but if they are worth 80 million, doesnt sound so good after all. When the people with all the money start donating some serious cash then the rest of us will as well. For me, i can only affort $300 but i am a nurse and i am on my way over there to help so if i am willing to take a month off work UNPAID to save lives, what are the rest of you rich folks willing to do. As long as you have wealthy people trying to get money from the rest of us we will take offense. If each of those celebrities on that show gave 2 or 3 million each my my what a nice total you would have. Its hypocrasy at its most blatant. Linda

Dodie   January 25th, 2010 3:46 am ET

@ Linda Allen

All the celebrities made personal financial contributions along with working on Larry King CNN show. Example:

Sandra Bullock contributed one million dollar donation for Haiti.

Pierce Brosnan donated over $1million.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie also $1 Million to Haiti

And the list goes on!

It would be advisable to check out the facts before making assumptions of these celebrities!

Krishna Chamling   January 25th, 2010 3:49 am ET


I, myself have become
Just the Nouns and Adjectives
Both by penny and power
A word without wordless
And a voice sans voiceless.
But, Haiti
We do extend to you
The very sympathies and condolences
From the Himalayan Republic of Nepal
From within,
Of our heart, en bloc
The sense and cerebral
Those of million of people’s
Hands as the hands of God, worldwide
May turn into one single force
Against that brutal
Momentous tick of time, anew
In the name of so-called
Natural devilish disaster
That caused you
Into an abysmal of catastrophe
A country into rubbles
A Caribbean air into the dust
A rhythm of Haitian heartbeat
That has rhymed
In woe and torment
Those native ancestors
May behold from heaven in agony
From the Eastern to the Western
And the Northern to the Southern
For all of us,
It’s in truth, Painful
So, Haiti,
You not to cry all alone
We all would share
Your hurting wounds
With togetherness of helping-hands
To hear your low weak whisperings
For to heal you up
That has left you
In such a shocking destruction
The hellish Tsunami of devastation
No matter how much
The budding dreams and the hope of roses
The strings of the country
The sonorous musics of harmony
Those all are seen now
Lacerated flesh and nerves
Ruptured bones and limbs
Being fresh wounds
The sobs and tears
In their hearts and eyes
The smothered cry of help
Those of the survived by
From and under the debris
Of the bricks, beams and slabs
Smashed pillars of earth and iron rods
Every niche of desolate walls
The graveyard

gunnaraz   January 25th, 2010 9:07 am ET

While I respect CNN's coverage of the Haiti disaster, again it CONTINUALLY repeats the same clips over and over, like so many news stories. Can't you be original, hundreds of hours of news feeds have been shot, thousands of unique stories of this tragedy, yet the same hour or so of repeat footage. Your producers are not unique, your access and urgency are. Get a clue, repeat what viewers want to see, not what is easy to repeat and sensationalize.

KRISHNA CHAMLING   January 25th, 2010 9:40 am ET

Iam from Nepal and really wanna go to Haiti for the service of aids to distribute to those people as a volunteer but the fact is that how to be there. Would you please kindly suggest me.
Sincerely yours,
krishna chamling

JBM   January 25th, 2010 3:13 pm ET

You should stop acting like you own this site. Rest assured, the stars did not give 10% as Linda Allen did although they did give a significant amount. You, too, should check out your facts. You have posted several suggestions that pharma, oil companies have not given when in fact some of them have given as much as $10 million. Just post your thoughts and leave others alone with theirs. Why do you only support perverse comments.

Linda Allen,
Your generosity is very admirable.

Dodie   January 25th, 2010 3:24 pm ET


It is nice to know you have taken the time and interest in reading my blogs!

Thank You!

JBM   January 25th, 2010 6:10 pm ET

Yes I read most of the blogs so yours are no exception. For someone to be so misinformed yet judgmental about everyone else is a bit over the top.

You only look for the negative comments and then reinforce them regardless of how inappropriate they are and sometimes even sexual in content.

Because of this nonsense, many rarely bother with LKL blog. Did you give 10% of your salary like Linda did; and you think you should find fault with her. Sad.

Dodie   January 25th, 2010 6:18 pm ET


It is nice to know people read my blogs. Obviously you bother with LKL since you are blogging on here.

Thank you for your extremely positive blog!

Brenda   January 25th, 2010 6:21 pm ET

Hello Everyone–I think it is great that Americans are adopting Haiti Orphans. But were is the privacy about adoptions? The children have been through enough–give the privacy.

JBM   January 25th, 2010 6:45 pm ET

I do occasionally blog on LKL but usually not due to the anti-American sentiment of a select few. As you know, others have called you on that also. There is no one reading your last two blogs who does not know what you are doing with your couple of positive comments. Stop acting like we are all idiots.

Unfortunately I cannot play your game and thank you for the same since, again, your blogs are very anti-American. But I will say I hope you continue to have a wonderful, fulfilled life :-). (Well, we can always hope for you at least.)

JBM   January 25th, 2010 6:51 pm ET

It's so nice that Joe, Jill and Samuel and finally be a family. Look forward to hearing from them.

Ivy   January 25th, 2010 10:48 pm ET

First I would like to say that it is wonderful to see so many individuals and families stepping up to become forever families for these beautiful and deserving children.
As someone who has dedicated much time and energy to this field and as someone who has been adopted herself, I think this is a great opportunity to address some of the challenges that these children will face and the need for more "culturally relevent" families to step up for these kids. I am hearing what seems to be a magic adjustment with these children now that they are here in the states, and although I do fully agree and celebrate the gift of these families, I also know that it is a journey that is sprinkled with challenges for these children and their families.
This conversation right now will help with the much needed support for these families HERE and in the future. More cross=cultural education and support for the adults and more transitional therapy for these children with professionals who specialize in the field of adoption. Please talk about these critical pieces while people are paying attention so that we can help secure the future of all of these new amazing families.

Anastasia   January 25th, 2010 10:56 pm ET

I come from a big family and my whole family is praying for the people over at Hati.We all donated $2.00s to them.I know thats not alot but when we get more money will give more. Thank You So much!

Martha Galarneau   January 26th, 2010 1:39 am ET

Sam----WELCOME HOME!!!!!!!!

Noel   January 26th, 2010 3:09 am ET

I am happy to see Joe and Jill home with their little one, too! But all of the children are not home yet. Our agency followed the rules, waited for instructions, took in perfect paperwork on Friday and were told to pick up the children's humanitarian parole paperwork on Monday. Now with all of the stories of child trafficing (and I know it happens and I understand the concern completely) but ALL children must be cleared individually by the Haitian President. Apparently he is not worried about the 800 children who have already left (350 to their prospective adoptive parents). And considering how long it takes to get anything done in Haiti – who knows when he will get around to signing 100+ approvals for children to leave to the parents with the exact qualifications that already have their children home. I am beyond frustrated. Please don't forget about all of us until all of our children are home. In the meantime, my son stays outside with no running water and no electricity.

Laura and John   January 27th, 2010 12:37 am ET

Jets and Joe

Great job and good luck! The only person I know that can swim through all the red tape is you. It will be a walk in the park when you get your breath back.

Marie Saint Cyr   January 27th, 2010 1:33 am ET

It is appaling that we are waiting for the Haitian government to respond to the needs of the Haitian people. While I am concerned about our children as they are becoming more and more vulnerable, giving them away does not solve the issue of their future. These children as much as the" restavek" who live in dismal conditions because parents are unable to earn a living to keep their children fed, are hurting and will hurt for a long time. What Haiti needs is reconstruction that takes into account the People of Haiti. We are a land run by foreigners. Who are these "foreigners"? They are "the Haitian so called leaders who are in power. where are they? They have yet to prioritize the life of haitians since I can remember. And I am fifty years old already. The Haitian people deserve better and should be the priority in the rebuilding of this nation. This government knows no risk management and shows no ABILITY to manage any crisis and has no understanding of its people. The haitian government shoots its people rather than feed them. Haiti shows no sign of being a nation. our Country is a series of Fragmented communities on the edge of great precipices, like this major earth quake. Before the earthquake, there was hunger, abandonment, flight, illiteracy, premature death and now "stupid death".
I hurt for my countrymen and my people Larry. I thank you and all your colleagues for the assistance and the exposure.

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