Released from Prison in Haiti, Laura Silsby: "I am so happy to be coming home, I am rejoicing and thanking God."

Kim Barton of Kuna, Idaho just getting off the phone with her sister Laura in Haiti, saying she had just been released.

Left: Kim Barton, sister of Haitian prisoner Laura Silsby reacts to news her sister was released from prison. Right: Barton's daughter shares the good news. (Sorry, In today's world I believe it is irresponsible to publish the names of minors.)
Left: Kim Barton, sister of Haitian prisoner Laura Silsby reacts to news her sister was released from prison. Right: Barton's daughter shares the good news. (Sorry, In today's world I believe it is irresponsible to publish the names of minors.)

4-17-2010 Kuna, Idaho:

Kuna is one of many small, rural Idaho towns. The town is reminiscent of Andy Griffith’s Mayberry. Concerning the weather, business, and everyday goings-on, my visit was like any other day, so far. On the West side of town is a little gift shop called The Wild Ivy owned by a woman who at this moment is overcome with a wealth of emotion. Her name is Kim Barton. Today brought news Barton had long been praying and waiting for. However, I had no clue at the time.

Barton’s sister, Laura Silsby, a Baptist missionary from Idaho, and founder of New Life Children's Refuge, had just been released from prison in Haiti.

In January, Silsby was on a church mission and had been accused of unlawful transportation of children while trying to take 33 homeless child-survivors away from the death and carnage to the nearest safe haven in the midst of quake stricken Haiti. Haitian facilities in the area were damaged and over-run with urgent need, so she attempted to take the children to the near-by Domincan Republic. However, undocumented people crossing the Haitian border was against the law. Silsby has been held in a Haitian prison since the January incident.

When I entered The Wild Ivy, Barton was on the phone with her sister in Haiti getting the news for the first time. It was Silsby’s first phone call after her court hearing and release from prison for time served. I was surprised to hear the news being under the impression that Silsby’s court hearing was scheduled for the next day. I waited quietly for her to get off the phone and asked if I could ask a few questions. Barton declined to interview and only spoke a moment on the matter as her priority was to start making travel arrangements for her sister to come back to Idaho.

Barton stated that previous phone conversations with Silsby had lead her to fear for her sister in prison, an understandable sentiment she did not elaborate upon. Today’s ruling was among the best news in Silsby’s life since January.

Barton was kind enough to allow a photo to commemorate the moment in Idaho. I asked Barton what her sister had to say on the phone regarding her release.

Laura told Barton on the phone, ‘“I am so happy to be coming home, I am rejoicing and thanking God, I am overjoyed and in shock.” Barton added, “as long as she is out of there, [prison] that’s all that matters.”

I could see that Barton was distracted by a whirlwind of emotion and an urgent need to tend to her part in getting her sister home, but she was very polite toward my imposing presence. I thanked her for her time and quickly departed to give her privacy.

I could go to the local airport tomorrow, take some photos and ask for a statement from Silsby when she arrives, but surely plenty of news-folk will be on hand to shove cameras and microphones in her face so that they can sell newspapers and such. I don’t care to contribute to her stress by being among them.

Welcome home Laura.

- Harlan

Laura Silsby, business woman, mother of three, church lady, and missionary to Haiti.
Laura Silsby, business woman, mother of three, church lady, and missionary to Haiti.

Harlan's Take:

In my personal opinion, when you have extreme carnage, frantic people crying, dead bodies on the ground and children standing in the midst, you go into survival mode. On that day, that meant getting the children to the safest place possible where they can get immediate medical attention, food and other life giving and compassionate services. I believe the intent and spirit of Haiti's law is to protect Haiti's children. But the letter of the law made Laura Silsby a criminal for trying to protect Haitian children in the middle of a national crisis. Some of the US media has since sought to paint a church missionary, business owner, and mother-of-three from small-town Idaho into a child-trafficking monster.

Her business suffered greatly in this economy and she had a hard time paying her bills and her employess. Who's business didn't... and still is? After a heavty bail-out package, the greedy bankers forclosed on her home. Regardless, Laura tried to hold on to her dreams; for that she is being demeaned by some in the US media, the local "Daily Mistaken" in particular.

Silsby was named eWomenNetwork's international businesswoman of the year in 2006.

She is a christian woman who gives God the glory for her release. I do not know Laura, I've never met her, but before the economy tanked she was a successful business woman. Just because times are hard I seriously doubt our business owners, moms, wifes and church ladies suddenly run off to foreign countries in desperate need to kidnap a busload of children in the middle of a natural disaster.

Do you believe Laura Silsby went to Haiti in the middle of a natural disaster to purposefully kidnap children?

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What would you do in the middle of a natural disaster, with dead bodies everywhere, people crying, and children dying of thirst and starvation?

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Laura Silsby should:

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saddlerider1 6 years ago

This is an act of heroism and she should not be crucified by the media or the government for her decision to help the children, it's so sad to see anyone hurt, let alone children. She did what any good Christian would do, self sacrifice in order to get God's children out of harms way at the risk of losing her life. She should be rewarded and given back everything they took away from this poor woman. She is a hero in my eyes. Thanks for the share Harlan and bringing this sad story to all Hubbers attention. I rate it all up and my VOTES were all positive.

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