A ceremony finalizing the adoption of four children from Haiti was held Wednesday afternoon at the Marion County Courthouse. The ceremony was for pairs of siblings adopted by Les and Tracy Fuller and Dave and Andrea Vanderhoff of Pella. The couples were in the process of adopting the children when the earthquakes struck Port-au-Prince – where the children were staying at an orphanage.
Days later, Matt and Mandy Poulter, who also were adopting a girl from the same orphanage, flew to Haiti and were allowed to bring the children back to Pella to finish the adoption process. Andrea Vanderhoff says while the day was significant for their family from a legal standpoint, the more important day came earlier this year.
“The exciting day for us was really when the kids came home on January 19th,” said Vanderhoff. “Today was more of a legal formality – obviously very important from a legal standpoint – but it just really feels nice to close it out and have our family complete.”
The Vanderhoffs newest children are daughter Roselande and son Carl, who join their biological children – Silas, Abigail and Andrew. The newest additions to the Fuller family, daughter Roselaure and son Kenson are cousins of the Vanderhoff’s adopted children. Tracy Fuller says for her, the experience of the past three months is continuing to set in.
“It’s still kind of seems like a dream. Everything has changed so much since the earthquake happened in January,” said Fuller. “We’re so grateful that the judge was willing to go ahead and waive the 180 day [waiting period], and go ahead and help us along, because it helps so much with all of our citizenship paperwork and all of that stuff that we’re going to be getting into.”
The Fullers also have biological children, a daughter Samantha and son Grant. Wednesday’s ceremony indicates the court’s finalization of legal names for the children, and will begin the process for the families to make their children United States citzens. Along with the Poulter family’s adoption ceremony last week for daughter Maya, another Pella family – Mark and Jamie Kriegel – also finalized the adoption of two boys from Haiti last Wednesday.