Nova Scotia

Middle Sackville family moving to Haiti to do development work

A Middle Sackville family is about to embark on a life-changing journey that will see them move permanently to one of the poorest areas of Haiti.

Beth and Robin Churchill adopted their children from Haiti following the 2010 earthquake

Beth Churchill says the family has a long history with Haiti. (CBC)

A Middle Sackville family is about to embark on a life-changing journey that will see them move permanently to one of the poorest areas of Haiti. 

Beth and Robin Churchill adopted their children Peter, 13, and Gaelle, 9, from Haiti following the 2010 earthquake. 

The family has had a long relationship with Haiti but it was after the international adoption was complete that they began to consider moving to the island country. 

"Looking back at how this has happened, I just never would have imagined that we would be living there someday. Because it was certainly not part of my thought process," said Beth Churchill.  

The family will work with a Christian development organization called West Indies Self Help or WISH.

The organization provides clean water and other services such as medical and dental care. The family will live on an island called La Gonave, off the coast of the Haitian mainland. 

"Primarily our role is to help transition the Haitian staff into roles of leadership," said Robin Churchill.

Both Robin and Beth Churchill have concluded their jobs with the RCMP. They feel their religion has called upon them to begin new work. 

"From a faith perspective, this is where we need to be. And where we should be," said Robin. But he adds it will be a challenging transition for the family. 

"I have doubts all the time. I'd be crazy if I didn't have doubts. It's not an easy environment," he said. 

'It is scary, because it's different'

The Churchills have already taken exploration trips to the place where they will live.

Gaelle was excited and surprised when she saw the spot. 

"I wasn't sure really how the house was going to look. But it's much different than houses here," she said.

Her parents know it's going to be tough to adapt to a new house, new school, and new friends. 

"It is scary, because it's different," said Beth Churchill. "We don't know exactly what it's going to look like for them."

But the family is confident it's the right choice. 

"Gaelle and Peter have lost a piece of themselves, because they are no longer physically living in the country of their birth," said Beth Churchill.

"They are no longer physically living with biological family. That's just a reality. I just believe that being able to live in the country will help give them a sense of identity, of who they are." 

The Churchills aim to complete the move to Haiti on Sept. 8. 

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