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“It was an overwhelming show of support from our wonderful church family,” the pastor said.
The couple was part of a mission to Haiti in March 2010 and they found a healthy, smiling Jack at Cabaret.
Although Jack did not recognize Cristina, it was a “confirmation moment,” Herrington said. They returned in December, and Jack “picked us out of the team immediately,” he said.
In May 2010 the Herringtons’ dossier was submitted to the Haitian government, and the adopting agency told them theirs was “one of the cleanest ever submitted.” However, problems arose with their file “at every step,” he said.
He said it seemed that every time he reported a positive step in the process to friends and family, a backward step followed within a week.
“It was a roller coaster of emotions. One of us would ask, ‘Did we mess up?’ but the other one would say, ‘We’re doing the right thing,’” he said. “We were never impatient at the same time, and one of us was always in a place of stability.”
As holidays and summers passed, the family continued to set future goals for Jack’s “coming home.” The extended process took a toll both physically and emotionally.
“This process tries your patience and your Christ-likeness,” he said.
As adoption approval was nearing in Haiti and the U.S., the process was delayed again by incorrect spellings and discrepancies in language and dates, Herrington said. The Herringtons’ Homeland Security fingerprints and background checks expired once during the wait, and was only one day away from expiration when the adoption was approved.
Phillip, Cristina and Emma Herrington flew to Haiti Oct. 15, 2012, to get Jack, and the family returned to Live Oak Oct. 16. As they arrived around 10 p.m. the family was welcomed by church members who lined the streets waving flashlights and glow sticks.
“A whole light parade was there, and some of them followed us to our house,” he said.
Life at the Herrington home changed immediately.
“We have gone from having one little girl doing her thing, to also having a five-year-old boy who is wide-open, adventurous and not afraid of much. He challenges our will,” Herrington said.
Jack Herrington is a pre-kindergarten student at Suwannee Primary School. After learning to speak Haitian Creole, he comprehends more English than was expected, and total immersion in English has contributed to his learning the language. Jack is “catching up with American ways,” said his father, and he loves to eat hot dogs and Cheetos.
The long wait for Jack’s homecoming has made the family appreciate the journey.
“Our perspective is faithfulness and obedience. We were faithful to the journey, walking step by step while looking to the goal. We knew in the right moment Jack would be home,” Herrington said. “Jack has rolled with us, and he loves his big sister. It is a beautiful picture to see God put our family together like this.”
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