What Fresh Hell Is This?

January 18, 2010

CNN Update & WPXI Report On BRESMA Orphanage (Updated 5x)

UPDATE 6: BRESMA orphans arrive in Pittsburgh. Story here.

UPDATE 5: Overnight BRESMA update here (1/19/10, 3:00 AM ET)

UPDATE 4: Report from Bob Mayo's blog here. (For those coming to this blog from outside Pittsburgh, Mayo is an excellent and reliable reporter from WTAE.)

UPDATE 3: Best advice from Chris Potter (Slag Heap at Pittsburgh City Paper) here

UPDATE 2: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story here. [Completely new article, same URL]

UPDATE: KDKA is reporting on a "secret mission" (well, not so secret if they broadcast it on their noon news). They report that 60 more children will be flown to the US from the BRESMA orphanage. A plane left Pittsburgh today with Rep. Jason Altmire, and ten doctors from UPMC and McMutrie family members. See the video here.

WPXI story here.

First, let's state from the start that the media has been mistaken in some of their reports; most notably when they claimed that all 150 children from the Brebis de Saint Michel de L'Attalaye (BRESMA) orphanage in Port-au-Prince -- run by Pittsburgh (Ben Avon) sisters Jamie and Ali McMutrie -- had received clearance to leave Haiti and come to Pittsburgh.

The children are in various states in the adoption process and many were never slated to be adopted in the US to begin with (for example, we've received numerous hits from France and the Netherlands in the last couple of days).

What's most important to know now is that the situation at BRESMA is still dire. Getting water and food into the walled-off orphanage is dangerous because there are Haitians understandably desperate for supplies surrounding it. At this point, the BRESMA orphanage probably needs security as much as supplies.

Those following the situation on Twitter at #BRESMA know that rumors abound and that people are "retweeting" old information. Virginia Montanez at her That's Church blog took the extraordinary step of removing several older blog posts so that people would not stumble upon outdated information, post rumors, or give out too much information in their comments which could possibly lead to breaches of security that could endanger the orphans. (I'm seeing GPS coordinates being tweeted publicly which I'm sure is a bad idea!)

What we all need to understand in this era of texting, IMing and tweeting is that the old saying, "A lie can be halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on" is more true now than ever before.

That said, three sources -- CNN, WPXI and the KAS in Haiti blog -- are all reporting that five children from BRESMA have been evacuated to the US. These children were apparently all well along in the adoption process and had the most documentation available. Note that there is one main source for all these stories: Diana Boni. She has worked with BRESMA Orphanage directly for five years and is the Haiti Coordinator for Kentucky Adoption Services. However, CNN has actual video of children leaving Haiti on a military plane.

You can see WPXI's interview with Boni here (they've been repeating parts of it this morning). Her blog is here. She is quoted in Time Magazine here.

You can view the CNN update on BRESMA here (original CNN story here):

I would still highly recommend going to That's Church, @JanePitt on Twitter, and Ali Pace's Facebook page for McMutrie Family-verified information. It may be slower in coming, but that is because their top priority is the safety of all those concerned and because they are busy working to get all the kids out.


lcoleman427 said...

Hi Maria,

I found you from That's Church. Wanted to thank you for this post. I hadn't seen the CNN video, and I'm sitting here at work in tears for these kids - happy tears for once! There is a long way to go, but this is a good start.

You hit the nail on the head re: Twitter. I think there are people out there tweeting about BREMSA to draw attention to themselves, not the kids. Aggravating.

Maria said...

I want to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. I understand that some are frustrated by a lack of info and just don't get that they shouldn't do things like publically give out GPS coordinates. They also get confused when they see things at supposedly reliable news sources not being confirmed by people Like Virginia. Meanwhile, like I said, she's just trying to keep the orphans and staff safe and working on their release so her priority is not to be a news source.

I'm getting loads of hits for whatever reason so I know people are desperate for news and stumbling on this blog as a source of news (I must be very high on Google in France, for example). I'm trying to walk a careful middle line so that I provide information that's as accurate as I can find without unwittingly causing harm.

albamaria30 said...

This is great. Thanks for supporting Ginny's efforts, and giving a great perspective (as you do so often) on what is good and what is bad about our media, including Twitter, etc.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

Absolutely NO politician should have been on this flight, especially Ed Rendell. Everything concerning bringing the orphans and the McMutrie sisters home should have been cleared PRIOR to the flight. The politicians are DEAD-WEIGHT and taking up a space better suited for a health care professional. Of course, the US Ambassador to Haiti wnated Rendell on the plane - it's POLITICAL.

Conservative Mountaineer said...

And, before you liberals attack me.. Please, just please, justify WHY Rendell or Altmire needs to be on this airplane? Are EITHER qualified to perform ANY medical care (possibly) needed on infants?? Hmmmmm? ONLY medical professionals should be involved at this point.

Disagree? STFU.

Maria said...


First, I won't STFU on my own blog, silly rabbit.

"Everything concerning bringing the orphans and the McMutrie sisters home should have been cleared PRIOR to the flight."

Have you been following along? They needed to get out yesterday, or the day before yesterday, or the day before that.

Moreover, the situtation on the ground is extremely volatile -- having someone high ranking on the flight like Rendell makes perfect sense to smooth over any potential last minute glitches.


Conservative Mountaineer said...

Didn't know you considered it "spam" when responding to 2 different threads. Maybe, you should limit your posts to 1 topic per day... jyst sayin';

Pajama Mama said...

Just wanted to thank you for posting on BRESMA...I have been scouring the web for more info since I saw them first on CNN. Thank you for sharing the info.

jen said...

Although it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, having politicians on the plane does have a purpose. They can cut through red tape and get things done when others cannot. Unfortunate, but it is reality.

I often disagree with others, but when you disagree and tell others to STFU, you loose all credibility. Civil discourse is the American way, or at least it used to be.

Maria said...


And as it turns out, they were needed! They had to secure a new plane at the last minute.

Jackie said...

Desperate to know if Davidson St Jean came out with Jami. He is around 12. We were adopting him but our social services were so slow with our paperwork that somebody else began to adopt him. I have no idea if he is OK. Love that boy so much!