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Haiti orphans arrive at SRQ

MANATEE —Matt and Robin Tricker, of Avon, Ind., had worked for nearly two years to adopt an orphaned child from Haiti.

Just before midnight Saturday they received a call instructing them to make airline reservations to Sarasota-Bradenton International Airport. The little boy they plan to call Eli would be arriving Sunday night.

The Trickers’ dreams, and those of adoptive parents from Maine, Ohio and Minnesota were answered at about 8 p.m. Sunday when five Haitian orphans, including Eli, arrived at SRQ aboard an Agape flight.

Agape, the Venice-based mission that uses aircraft to provide mail and cargo support to mission families in the Bahamas, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic, was bringing children to the U.S. who had already been paired with prospective adoptive families before the devastating earthquake.

Sara Eisenbart, an adoption coordinator, said that another 30 Haitian children are expected to arrive on board an Agape flight at SRQ today.

Normally, those children might have arrived in the U.S. through airports in the Fort Lauderdale-Miami area, but Agape had room on its planes and was flying into SRQ, Eisenbart said.

The ages of the children who arrived Sunday night ranged from one to 8 years old.

Parents awaited the arrival of their children in an area separate from the main terminal, where a table of stuffed animal toys and snacks were set up.

There was also a row of cots that medical staff could use to check the children’s condition.

Eli, 2, went calmly into the arms of his mother, and his little arms never left her neck.

The Trickers said they had experienced a flood of emotions, including joy and anxiety, with the impending arrival of their son. When he returns to Avon with them, there will be two older brothers in the house, a 7-year-old who was adopted from Guatemala, and a 4-year-old who was born to Robin and Matt Tricker.

The day of the earthquake, Eli was supposed to be on a flight from his orphanage in Cap-Haïtien to the capital of Port-au-Prince for business concerning his adoption. But the flight was cancelled, or he might have otherwise become another victim of the catastrophe, his parents said.

Major Daniel Keefe of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security carried one of the orphans into the terminal and said that this was a good day for the area in assisting a country devastated by disaster.

James A. Jones Jr., East Manatee Editor, can be contacted at 745-7021.

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