A Monett pilot and a Monett church are helping a Neosho couple in their efforts to adopt four children from Haiti, who are flying to southwest Missouri from Miami, Fla., today.
Edward and Leatta Workman, of Neosho, made arrangements to adopt four Haitian children prior to the recent earthquake. Leatta Workman has a business, Workman and Associates, which provides services to people with disabilities. Edward Workman is an educator working in Parsons, Kan. One of the four boys being adopted, Jon, age 6, has severe cerebral palsy and is medically fragile.
The Workmans and their oldest daughter, Grace, flew to Florida at the beginning of the week to make arrangements to bring the children back. Their pilot is Andrew Zahn, of Monett, a Monett High School graduate and member of First United Methodist Church in Monett.
Zahn, son of Frederick Zahn, former pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Monett, is donating his time to the effort. His church congregation is helping with donations to cover the $1,500 fuel costs for the flight.
Use of the plane and part of the fuel for the trip was secured from Zahn's Wichita- based employer, Brad Pistotnik. The City of Monett is selling fuel for the flight at cost.
"Andrew's help with arranging the flight has been a huge stress reliever," said Leatta Workman. "Commercial flights home would have taken seven to 10 hours and would have been so stressful on Jon and us. We are so thankful for Andrew's willingness to be ready on a moment's notice when the word that we could travel came."
The Workmans had started Jon's adoption in December 2008 and then added his three brothers, Matthew and twins Mark and Luke, last autumn. Having previously adopted from Haiti, the Workmans had expected a 24-to 36-month wait for the children's adoptions to be finalized and Haitian passports and visas granted.
|About two weeks ago, the family was in contact with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to let them know the children would likely qualify for Tier 2 humanitarian parole.||"It has been a roller coaster ride for the last two weeks," Leatta Workman said. "One moment it is happening and the next minute it is jeopardized by something like the missionaries being arrested for child trafficking. We waited until the last minute to tell family and friends, because we did not want them to be disappointed if something kept the boys from coming home."|
|The adoptees range in age from 14 months to 6 years old. Family and friends have been helping the Workmans prepare with donations of baby furniture, diapers and clothes.|
"Colleagues and community members have been instrumental in getting our home ready so quickly," said Edward Workman.
Drama students from the Parsons (Kan.) High School donated funds raised by selling wristbands saying "Haiti 01/12/2010."
The family will be visiting their pediatrician Shari Smith as soon as they arrive back to the area. The family says they will be staying at home for the next month or so while the children adjust to their new home and family, but they said that they cannot wait to take the children to meet their church family at Second Baptist Church in Neosho.
"The church has helped us welcome three other children to our home," said Leatta Workman. "It is always special when the children realize that they have a whole church full of people who visit us, pray for them and love them too."