27 HAITIAN CHILDREN CELEBRATE YULE PRESENTS: PIECES OF PAPER
For 27 Haitian children adopted by a missionary couple, the spirit of Christmas arrived in pieces of paper.
The papers were certificates of citizenship that the children got in a special Christmas Eve ceremony, four years after they fled Haiti to escape political turmoil."Getting to be a citizen is the best thing that I got for Christmas," said Rosie Blackburn, 16.
She was one of 28 Haitian children, ages 4 to 16, adopted earlier this year by Dan and Kathy Blackburn, former missionaries to the Caribbean island nation.
The Blackburns spirited the children out of Haiti in 1987 to escape the turmoil following the downfall of the government of Jean-Claude "Baby Doc" Duvalier.
One of the children wasn't granted citizenship.
Immigration officials said Mary Blackburn, who has cerebral palsy, was ineligible because she turned 16 before the adoption was made final. But she was granted indefinite parole, which allows her to remain in this country.