Former Orphan Gives Back To Haiti

Hannah Lowenstein, a former orphan, lives very differently today than she did in earthquake-ravaged Haiti less than less three years ago. Jerry and Susan Lowenstein, Hannah’s adoptive parents, met Hannah when she was one and a half years old. They visited the Canaan orphanage in Haiti, where she was living with 100 other orphans.  “This little girl crawled across the floor toward me and it was love at first sight,” says Susan.

Six years later, Hannah came to live with the Lowensteins in Pompano Beach, Florida. The couple had faced many difficulties going through the adoption process. Susan says, “Every time we thought we were close, they wanted another document, signature, or something else.” Through this experience, Susan says that God taught them perseverance. At the time of the family’s arrival in Florida, Hannah didn’t speak English and the Lowensteins didn’t speak French or Creole. The director of the orphanage had suggested homeschooling to Susan so that Hannah could spend most of her time with them. Hannah was with the couple 24/7 for the first few months. Susan describes this time as being difficult – everything was new to Hannah, who describes herself as being quite nervous and shy at the time. Her mother describes her as being incredibly brave.

Susan began homeschooling her and enrolled her in Kumon (a math and reading center) to help them get started, Tae Kwon Do to help Hannah’s self esteem and art classes to help her express her feelings.

Since Hannah’s adoption two and a half years ago, she has grown in many ways. She has learned to speak English fluently, her IOWA test scores are above a 6th grade level, she won the state championship in Tae Kwon Do, she has learned to swim and to ride a bike without training wheels, she loves ballet, has many friends and overflows with passion and love for God. She calls her parents “Mamoles” and “Dadoles,” the nicknames she made up for them. Hannah was born Yoldine Jean, but her new name, Hannah, came about when Susan asked what her favorite name was. She replied, “Hannah.” In Hebrew, Hannah means “Grace of God,” a name which truly fits her. Susan says, “Hannah is an amazing little girl and I could not be prouder to call her my daughter. When she sat on my lap God said, ‘This is the daughter I chose for you,’ and I’m so glad that I didn’t give up through the years that it took to bring her home.”

Hannah has had an impact on many, both here in the U.S. and in Haiti. She strives for excellence and is very social. “Children really like her,” says Susan. A friend of Susan says that Hannah’s “story and attitude are an inspiration to others.” When Hannah first came to the U.S., she faced overwhelming obstacles, but, “She decided and we decided that it was really going to work,” says Susan. “New country, new parents, new language, new food, new everything – she took all of this and ran with it. She tries to be the best at everything she does.”

After the 2010 earthquake that made it possible for the Lowensteins to bring Hannah home, there were hundreds of children left orphaned and homeless. The Canaan Orphanage is home to many of these children who need the support of others. After Hannah attended a writing camp last summer, she wrote a book, titled Hannah Has A Story, which is written and illustrated by her. It includes many of her beautiful paintings and a portion of the proceeds from the book go directly to the orphanage she was raised in in Haiti. Susan enrolled Hannah in painting classes to help Hannah express herself as the family struggled with communication and language barriers. Hannah’s paintings convey the words she was trying to say but couldn’t because of language barriers. The Lowensteins also decided to make cards from Hannah’s paintings, which are available for purchase. A portion of the proceeds from her artwork are also sent to the orphanage she is from in Haiti. Hannah’s art is full of vibrancy and depth, trademarks of traditional Haitian art. A painting titled “Sunflower” currently hangs in the Canaan Orphanage.

Hannah is a beacon of hope to the orphans of Haiti who have not yet been adopted. When asked what Hannah is doing for God that makes her unique, Susan replied, “I think that everything she does is for God.” Hannah has a website titled hannahhasastory.com, where her books and cards are available for purchase. A WSVN Channel 7 interview and book signing event are also listed on her website. Please visit Hannah’s website to learn more about Hannah, her story, and how she is changing the world and helping others to do the same.

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