Vacaville Haitian adoption family waits for word

January 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Among those waiting desperately for word about loved ones are hundreds of Americans preparing to adopt children from Haiti.

Families want to rush those adoptions, but the process is now on hold until the Haitian government is back up and running.

One family, who has adopted children from Haiti, lives in Vacaville and is anxiously waiting to hear whether one of their kids is OK.

The only time the Grays stop watching CNN is when the network goes to commercial and that is when they all run to the computer to see if Jimmy has emailed them or given a Facebook update about him. Waiting for news is consuming them.

Jody and Gail Gray of Vacaville are not just watching the devastation in Haiti on TV, they are identifying piles of rubble as the store they once shopped in or the hospital they once visited. However, it is not the buildings they are most worried about. The Grays are looking for their adopted son.

"Every time they go live, we're watching all of the scenes, we're watching all of the pictures seeing if 'Is that him? No, that's not him,'" says Gail.

Jimmy lives in a suburb of Port-au-Prince. He just went back there in October after his visitor's visa here in the United States expired. Gail has kept a cell phone in her hand ever since the quake hit, so she will not miss his call. She says her emotions are all over the place.

"I'm really up and feeling good and strong and then I see something on CNN of them trying to rescue someone and my heart sinks thinking that could be my son, he could be in that building," says Gail.

After Gail gave birth to three kids, the couple started thinking about international adoption. She turned to the internet and the faces from Haiti stole her heart. They have adopted three small children from Haiti and during one of their visits there, they met Jimmy, who was 20 at the time and living on the street.

"He's not legally adopted because they won't allow it to because he's an adult, but it doesn't matter he's our son," said Gail.

At this point, they are assuming he just cannot get a phone line out of the broken country.

"I'm secure in my faith that he's ok and until I hear otherwise, I'm not going to jump to any conclusions," says Jody.

Life with six kids is a distraction from the devastation; the family still has to get dinner on the table. But the tragedy is still in the background, they're finding it tough to think about much else.

"I think it's pretty heartbreaking. We consider Haiti a second home, so it's like watching an old friend be injured," says Jody.

ABC7 asked Jody if he would stay in touch with the station or how will we know when Jimmy calls and he said, 'Oh, you'll hear the screaming!'

Jody plans to record this story and save it, since he wants to show it to Jimmy.