exposing the dark side of adoption
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Missionary couple concerned about Haitian orphans


Emily Longnecker/Eyewitness News

A husband and wife from Martinsville are in a dire situation to survive following the Haitian earthquake. They've been missionaries in the country for 13 years, caring for orphaned children.

"Right now, we don't know. We really don't know what tomorrow brings," said Keith Lashbrook.

But Lashbrook is certain of one thing to come in the following days.

"I believe you're going to see an influx of orphans right now with all the deaths," he said.

Lashbrook and his wife, Cindy, run a children's home and adoption center for 118 orphaned and abandoned children in Port-au-Paix, 150 miles from the earthquake's epicenter. But the devastation has left several adoptions the Lashbrooks were working on in limbo.

"I would really like to see America move and help us get these children moved so they can have a chance at life," Lashbrook said.

He says that would give the children newly orphaned after the earthquake some kind of chance, too.

"I'm going to say there's probably thousands right now," Lashbrook said. "We just want to set up to be able to take in the children, even though we're overcrowded."

But food is running out.

"We have about two days left," Lashbrook said.

Also, business throughout Haiti is at a standstill.

"The banks have not opened and I cannot get funds," he said. "It's chaotic. They shut our gas stations down this morning. We cannot buy fuel. We went to a two meals a day program starting yesterday."

The Lashbrooks have been in touch with their adoptive parents via Facebook. The parents want to know when they can bring their children home, even as the number of orphans in Haiti grows with the mounting death toll.

"Of course, they are beside themselves," Lashbrook said.

The parents are also pleading for emergency visas and other help from the State Department. Lashbrook is pleading, too.

"I would just really ask the government, 'Let's do something for these families'," he said.

But adoption advocates say there may be little the U.S. Government can do right now, with Haiti in shambles.

"We're just going to take care of the kids as long as we can and we'll be with them here 'til the end," Lashbrook said.

2010 Jan 21