A seven-year-old Haitian girl’s fascination with snow caused a little bit of a kerfuffle in Ottawa on Wednesday.
Dalina, the adoptive daughter of a Caroline-area family, flew into Canada with 51 other orphans as part of the Canadian government’s Operation Stork program to fast-track Haitian-Canadian adoptions.
Wanting to play in the white stuff, Dalina ran out of the program’s holding space in a hangar at the airport and outside out of the secure area. Security guards were in hot pursuit. But it was smiles all around for the little girl’s first taste of life in Canada.
An excited message left at a phone at the Advocate summed up the story.
“We have her!” new mom Anna-Marie Loomis practically yelled into the phone, voice agitated among the chaos awash in the background. “We are having a great forever first family day.”
Anna-Marie, husband Neale, and their two children had been waiting around in the Ottawa area since Saturday for Dalina’s arrival.
They were disappointed when she didn’t show up with the first plane full of adoptive children on Sunday morning.
But patience paid off.
The adoptive families were contacted by Citizenship and Immigration officials, brought into a waiting area at the airport on Wednesday, and watched as the children came off the airplane. They were reunited soon enough, emotion showing even among the government staff members according to Anna-Marie, and processed in a matter of hours.
“It was just phenomenally organized and orchestrated. The people here were so good to us and so caring,” Anna-Marie said, adding that local firefighters cooked up rice and chili for the children.
The children were given temporary residence permits and then had initial medical evaluations.
“Once the shock of it was over . . . over the initial ‘What am I getting into?’, she’s been really good. She’s been playing with her sister and her brother and colouring and laughing,” Anna-Marie said.
Neale said Dalina is very intelligent and seems to understand what’s going on, likes to joke around with her new family, and that “it seems like she’s been here all along.”
He added that while what has happened in Haiti is extremely sad, as least some good was able to come of it.
The Loomis family flies into Calgary this afternoon, where they will be met with paperwork. Then, Anna-Marie said, a home visit will be arranged by someone from international adoptions and social services department in Edmonton. After that, the family will work for an Alberta adoption order, and eventually Canadian citizenship for their daughter.