Posts Tagged ‘Mandy Poulter’

After her morning appearance on

After her morning appearance on “Good Morning America,” Maya enjoyed the sights of New York.

As I recounted in the blog yesterday, my great-niece Maya Poulter, now 10 years old, and her parents were featured Thursday morning on “Good Morning America.”

As Robin Roberts recounted her favorite GMA moments as part of the show’s 40th anniversary celebration, the most memorable was the day she found Maya after the 2010 earthquake (and shared the good news by Skype with Mandy Poulter, my niece and Maya’s adoptive mother). The earthquake devastated Haiti after Maya’s adoption had been completed but before the U.S. State Department issued a visa to bring her home to Iowa. (Maya’s story is mentioned at about the 3:00 mark of the ABC video linked above and the studio interview begins at about the 7:00 mark).

Until Roberts called, Mandy and her husband, Matt, didn’t know whether their daughter had survived the quake. On Thursday’s program, Maya and her parents updated Roberts and her viewers on Maya’s current life in Pella, Iowa, again thanking Roberts and ABC for their role in rescuing Maya from the catastrophe in her homeland.

I recounted the story and various follow-up angles at length in Wednesday’s post previewing the ABC appearance and earlier posts linked at the end of this post. Nothing new to report today, but Mandy gave me permission to share some photos from Maya’s first visit to the Big Apple. (I usually try to avoid clichés, but that one seems to fit the fun of this trip).

“We are having a great time in New York,” Mandy reported in an email Thursday. “Maya really enjoyed meeting Robin.”

Matt, Maya and Mandy outside the Good Morning America studio in Times Square.

Matt, Maya and Mandy outside the Good Morning America studio in Times Square.

Maya gave Robin Roberts a Christmas tree ornament.

Maya gave Robin Roberts a Christmas tree ornament.

Maya enjoyed a cruise on her day in New York.

Maya enjoyed a cruise on her day in New York.

Mandy, Maya and Matt enjoying New York by carriage.

Mandy, Maya and Matt enjoying New York by carriage.

Maya outside ABC's TImes Square studios.

Maya outside ABC’s TImes Square studios.

Previous posts about Maya and her rescue from Haiti

The search for Maya made the Haiti disaster story personal

Mandy and Matt reunited with Maya Esther in Haiti

Maya’s enjoying life in Iowa

Maya’s adoption becomes final in Iowa

Humanity is more important and honest than objectivity for journalists

An update on Maya Poulter, six months after Haitian earthquake

Hoping Robin Roberts moves past MDS swiftly

My great-niece, Maya Poulter, was one of the best stories of Good Morning America’s 40 years (and my 60+)


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Maya Poulter, five-plus years after being rescued from the Haiti earthquake, with help from Robin Roberts and "Good Morning America."

Maya Poulter, five-plus years after being rescued from the Haiti earthquake, with help from Robin Roberts and “Good Morning America.”

Maya with Sofia the First at Disney World this May

Maya with Sofia the First at Disney World this May

My great-niece, Maya Poulter, will be a guest on “Good Morning America” tomorrow, featured as one of the best stories from GMA’s 40 years on television. Nov. 12 update: The show aired this morning (their story is mentioned about the 3:00 mark of the ABC video and the studio interview begins at about the 7:00 mark).

I blogged several times about Maya and the GMA coverage of her story in 2010, when the show’s Robin Roberts helped find Maya among the wreckage and chaos there following the 2010 earthquake. My posts from that time are all linked at the end of this post. But the short version is that my niece, Mandy Poulter, and her husband, Matt, had completed the adoption process and were just waiting for Maya’s passport to bring her home to Iowa when the earthquake hit, devastating much of Haiti, including her orphanage. Of course, the wait to learn news about her and the exhilaration when Roberts found her, were a memorable story to our family. We’re glad they were as memorable, too, to GMA.

Maya sleeping on the ground after Robin Roberts and a GMA crew found her in Haiti in 2010.

Maya sleeping on the ground after Robin Roberts and a GMA crew found her in Haiti in 2010.


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My family’s connection to and interest in ABC’s Robin Roberts continues and deepens.

Robin Roberts

When my niece, Mandy Poulter, and her husband, Matt, were wondering about the safety of their adopted daughter, Maya, at a Haitian orphanage following the 2010 earthquake, Roberts found Maya alive and safe and relayed the news to Mandy through Skype. A few days later, with some assistance from Roberts’ ABC colleagues, Mandy and Matt brought Maya home. (She’s doing great now, and Roberts has done some follow-up coverage.)

And any cancer survivor feels a connection of sorts to the people you meet or people in the public eye who battle cancer. I had surgery for colon cancer in 1999 and for basal cell skin cancer in 2005, so I was pulling for Roberts to beat breast cancer when she was diagnosed and treated in 2007 for breast cancer. But that’s a connection we share with some 12 million people.

Our latest connection is a much rarer health challenge. Roberts announced yesterday that she has Myelodysplastic Syndrome, diagnosed in 18,000 Americans a year. MDS is a group of blood disorders, so I don’t know that her disease is identical to the MDS my niece, Kat Devlin, was treated for last year, but in both cases, it was described as a possible precursor to leukemia. Beyond their age difference, Roberts’ MDS appears to have been caused by her cancer treatment. Doctors were studying a possible genetic tie in Kat’s case (her only sibling, Patrick, died of leukemia in 2009).

The treatment is similar. Roberts will receive a bone marrow transplant from her sister. Doctors could not find a suitable bone marrow donor for Kat, so she underwent a stem-cell transplant. Roberts’ treatment is not described to be as extreme and grueling as Kat’s or Patrick’s. They both spent months in hospitals, then months quarantined at home.

Kat is doing great now. She’s just finished her first year of high school, including track and field competition. I look forward to updates about Roberts’ successful recovery. We want her story to turn out as happily as Maya’s and Kat’s have.

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Reviewing 2010 on this blog:

My job change to TBD was a major theme of the year here. My most-popular post of 2010 shared tips on job-hunting, from my own experience finding a new job and hiring the community engagement staff at TBD. That’s my second most-read post in two-plus years writing this blog. Other posts among the year’s leaders dealt with my job change as well: Pursuing a new opportunity in Washington, Wanted: vision for community engagement and Our community engagement team is taking shape. Another post relating to the job change took a longer view, discussing how I have twice redirected and rejuvenated my career. I also told how TBD’s launch prompted my first foray into public relations and brought back memories of an earlier launch. I explained why we need a director of community engagement, even though engagement should be everyone’s job. I have blogged as well for TBD, writing about our commitment to accuracy and transparency, and about why and how we chose TBD as our name. (more…)

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Judge Terry Wilson with, from left, rear, Mandy, Maya, Matt, Chelsea; front, Whitley, Shay, Denzel, Ethan

An update on my great niece, Maya, from Haiti: Her adoption became final in Iowa yesterday.

Tony Leys wrote a great story in the Des Moines Register this morning, accompanied by Andrea Melendez photos: (more…)

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The Poulter family, from left, front, Whitley, Denzel, Shay, Ethan; rear, Mandy, Maya, Matt, Chelsea

An update on Maya Esther Poulter, my niece’s new daughter from Haiti: She is thriving in her new home and even adjusting to the Iowa winter. (more…)

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One of journalism’s favorite notions is that we don’t become part of the story. We are supposed to be some sort of object (you know, objective) that doesn’t feel, that stays aloof and writes from an omniscient perch above it all.

It is a lie, and we need to stop repeating it. The first principle of the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics is “Seek truth and report it.” Here is the truth about journalism: Journalists aren’t objects; we are people. We feel. We have families and emotions. We have moral standards. When we show up for truly personal or potentially volatile interviews or events, we become part of the story and denying that violates our obligation to tell the truth.

But the Society of Professional Journalists denied it this week, somberly cautioning journalists in Haiti: “Report the story, don’t become part of it.” As I have written before, my family became a small part of the Haiti story this month. I will address the ethics of that story shortly. But first I want to write about the underlying ethical principles. I teach ethics in journalism seminars across North America (Ottawa, Canada, and Berkeley, Calif., this month), and I know that journalists sometimes like to reduce ethics to simple do-this-don’t-do-that rules. And ethics often aren’t that simple. (more…)

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The high point of an emotional week for our family was seeing my niece Mandy Poulter and her husband Matt reunited last night with their daughter, Maya Esther, at an orphanage in Haiti.

Matt, Maya Esther and Mandy Poulter

Since I blogged last week about how an ABC News crew and Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts found Maya uninjured at the orphanage, efforts turned quickly to bringing her home. Sen. Tom Harkin’s office and the U.S. Embassy in Haiti expedited paperwork to get her a visa to enter the United States. (more…)

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Update: Maya Esther is in the United States. Read the update.

A journalist gets an unusual perspective on disaster stories.

Chances are you remember the Oklahoma City bombing from the horrific television images of the demolished building or the heart-rending photograph of a firefighter carrying a dead baby from the building. I remember the bombing from the grit in the air I could feel and taste covering the aftermath in downtown Oklahoma City.

You may have forgotten about the catastrophic mudslides that hit Venezuela in 1999. I will never forget walking with a woman on a devastated mountainside as she pointed at homes where she and relatives once lived. “Es mi casa,” she said, gesturing to some rubble, part of it recognizable as the top of a wall, the rest of her home swept away or buried in mud hardened like concrete. Another woman recalled that horrible night, gesturing downward with her arm, talking about the terror that came rushing down the mountainside, repeating, “cadave” — corpses sliding down in a torrent of mud.

My role as editor of The Gazette during the 2008 flood has received plenty of attention, so I won’t belabor it here. And I recently recalled my role covering the 9/11 attack from a distance. In a career that started in the 1970s, I have covered dozens of tornadoes, floods and other disasters as a reporter and editor. The stories are emotional. You can’t help but feel the human impact, sharing joy and heartbreak with people you interview. But you develop a sort of professional shell that helps you function and keeps you from feeling too deeply.

This week I learned a bit of what it’s like to be one of those people I used to cover, waiting anxiously to learn whether a loved one had survived, trying to bring her to safety. (more…)

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