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Sanibel family wades through bureaucracy to adopt Haitian children

By Staff | Apr 15, 2010

Connor Stone, 15, enjoys some time with a Haitian child during a Sanibel Community Church mission project last year. Connor’s family is working to adopt two Haitina children.

Many people talk about doing something to make a difference in the lives of others.

But one Sanibel family is doing more than just talk.

Dan Budd and his wife Bridgit Stone-Budd are in the process of trying to adopt two Haitian children.

The couple began – what has become a daunting bureaucratic process – two years ago after Dan, 45, and their son Connor, 15, went on a church mission to Haiti and saw the poor conditions in which people are forced to live. The recent earthquake that devastated the country only makes things the couple more determined to adopt Haitian children.

But as dismal as the circumstances are in Haiti adopting a child is not an easy feat. Aside from reams of paperwork from both Haiti and the U.S. governments, scores of detailed personal interviews, psychological evaluations and home assessments.

The two who married three years ago and have blended their children, Eli Budd, 16, Connor Stone, 15, Mariah Budd, 14 and Kate Stone, 13 into a strong, loving family. But they would like to add more children to the brood.

“We’re both very lucky because we’re not done being parents yet,” Stone-Budd, 45, said.

Since the couple cannot have their own biological children they decided to adopt two children from Haiti so they can help make a difference in their lives.

Dan Budd is excited to bring the children home and let them partake of what he and Stone-Budd can offer them.

Which of course is sunshine lots of it on Sanibel, stability and security and big brothers and sisters.

But before they can open their hearts and homes to two needy Haitian children, they must go through different adoption phases and then wait and wait some more as the wheels of progress seem to have ground to a halt.

After the catastrophic hurricane that struck Haiti in January, a freeze has been placed on adoptions, Stone-Budd said.

The Haitian government must ensure that any potential adoptees are truly orphaned since many death certificates are not available due to mass burials and the chaos that has ensued in the country.

So now the family must wait a wait that can take about two years.

“It’s very frustrating but I have faith and I know the babies are out there,” she said. “Why can’t we just take care of few?” she said.

In the mean time while they wait, the couple are doing everything they can to prepare their teen children for the transition.

The children have mixed feelings about the potential adoptions. Mariah Budd and Kate Stone are elated about have two younger adopted siblings. But Eli Budd and Connor Stone are a bit more unsure and resistant to the idea of adding two more children to the six-member family.

Eli is indifferent in his feelings at the moment but getting more excited about the prospect of becoming a big brother, and Connor is concerned about there not being enough love and money to go around with a bigger family, Stone-Budd said.

Though the couple reassures their children that there will be enough emotional and financial resources to care for everyone, the situation is something that each child will have to work through.

But Stone-Budd is confident that the boys will come around and be fine once the children arrive. Connor has spent time in Haiti with his step dad during religious missions with the Sanibel Community Church.

The couple is helping their children as well as themselves work through the process.

“I am just trying to take it one step at a time,” Stone-Budd said.

And in case anyone is considering going through the adoption process Stone-Budd said a strong marriage is vital.

“You need to be married to someone who loves raising children as much as you,” she said.

And she added that getting the entire family involved is key too.

But ultimately, the stresses involved with the paperwork and helping wary children work through the changes of getting another sister or brother are worth it to Stone-Budd and her husband. Budd is going with a Sanibel Community Church mission group to Haiti at the end of the month to help build classrooms in a school,

They just would like things to go a little faster and with less complication in the process.

“I really wish there was a step by step instruction book,” she said.