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#628: Mother finally reaches hurt son (fwd)


Published Friday, October 1, 1999, in the Miami Herald 
 Mother finally reaches hurt son BY SHARI RUDAVSKY
 She refused to eat. She refused to sleep. The only thing Victoria
Adrage -- mother of a 17-year-old boy hit by a car four weeks ago --
wanted to do when she reached American soil was visit her son in the
hospital. It has been more than two years since Adrage's boy, Joassaint
Estinville, left Haiti to come to the United States on his own.
Authorities here placed him in foster care. On the night of Sept. 1,
Estinville barreled into a car on his bicycle a few blocks
 from his foster home in Fort Lauderdale. He has not regained
consciousness. He lay unidentified in Broward General Medical Center for
five days as police and medical staff wondered why his family had not
come forward. Thursday night, Adrage, a tiny woman in a pale blue dress,
arrived to see her son, now in critical but stable condition at the
hospital. But first she had to stop at the offices of the Florida
Department of Children and Families, which purchased her $375 round-trip
ticket from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to speak with staff members.
 Representatives of the Haitian Community Center in Fort Lauderdale,
which arranged for her host family here, also greeted Adrage, who speaks
Creole. ``She's been holding on because of God,'' translated Marvin
Dejean of the Haitian Community Center. ``Her faith has been keeping her
strong. God gave her these children, but if He wants to take them away .
. .'' Adrage said that since her son left Petit Goave, a rural town in
the southeastern corner of Haiti, he had been in touch regularly,
telephoning and sending audiotapes. Estinville is one of nine children.
 Recently Adrage lost a grandchild, she told translators. ``She's really
 heartbroken,'' DeJean said. Estinville's caseworker, who speaks Creole,
was on hand to welcome Adrage. The two had met before, when the
caseworker tracked her down while on vacation in Haiti. Dejean and the
others at the Haitian Community Center also want to ease the
 pain of Adrage's trip to the United States, her first. Not only will
they provide her with lodging and transportation here should she need
it, they have established a trust fund in Estinville's name and are
accepting donations.
 Contributions may be made through Minority Development & Empowerment,
470 NE 13th St., Fort Lauderdale, Fla. 33304.