Couple Back in U.S. With 28 Haitian Children
Published: December 19, 1989
LEAD: An Indiana missionary couple re-entered the United States today with 28 Haitian children they intend to adopt.
An Indiana missionary couple re-entered the United States today with 28 Haitian children they intend to adopt.
The children, who range in age from a year to 14 years of age, were granted special holiday parole status by the Immigration and Naturalization Service, allowing them legal entry with the couple, Dan and Kathy Blackburn.
''Cases like the Blackburns' show us that the law can be administered with heart,'' said Gene McNary, the Commissioner of Immigration. ''We would have made the same decision at any time of year, but getting the family home before Christmas made it all the more satisfying.''
The Blackburns and the children then boarded a flight to Indianapolis, with Elizabethtown, Ind., as a flight destination. They will stay there temporarily, in a dormitory at a Christian campground.
A Humanitarian Parole
The Rev. Bob Lay, pastor of Community Church near Elizabethtown, planned to meet the Blackburns with blankets and a rented schoolbus.
''I don't even know if they'll have coats,'' he said.
Mr. McNary granted the children humanitarian parole because they were ineligible for entry under any other immigration category. Under the immigration law, he may allow an otherwise inadmissible alien to enter the country temporarily for humanitarian reasons, or when it is in the national interest.
The Blackburns, Christian Evangelical missionaries, went to Haiti in 1976 with their two sons and started a ministry in a small mountain village. After about 18 months, they began taking care of sick or abandoned children taken to their home.
Lives Are Threatened
When the Government of Jean-Claude Duvalier collapsed, the immigration service said, the Blackburns and the children were forced to flee to the Dominican Republic in 1987 after the rebels threatened to kill them.
They found a home in the republic with the help of other missionaries while they sought a way to adopt the children and return to Indiana. They were unable to complete the adoptions in Haiti or the Dominican Republic because the children's natural parents are dead, unknown or untraceable.
With the help of church groups, the Blackburns petitioned the immigration service to let the children come to this country so they could complete the adoptions in Indiana, said Duke Austin, a spokesman for the Immigration and Naturalization Service.