CHRISTMAS FOR 28 ADOPTED CHILDREN IS MORE GIVING THAN IT IS RECEIVING
The Christmas tree hasn't been cut down and hauled in yet, and there are no presents. The roof of the house leaks, and the lease runs out in a few months.
But nevertheless there's no lack of Christmas spirit at the home of Dan and Kathy Blackburn and their 28 adopted children from Haiti.The children are roller-skating in the halls of the old school building the former missionaries call home, and somebody just dropped off 10 gallons of ham and beans for supper.
Times are hard, but the Blackburns are making out all right - with help from churches and individuals who donate food and money to them.
"We're very comfortable and we're warm," said Kathy Blackburn, 45.
The Blackburns were Christian Evangelical missionaries in Haiti for more than a decade before flee-ing to the neighboring Dominican Republic in 1987 as Haiti was rocked by civil unrest and army repression.
While in Haiti, they adopted 17 boys and 11 girls whose parents either died or gave them up hoping they would have a better life with the Blackburns. The couple came to Indiana in 1989 with the children, whose ages now are between 6 and 17.
Last year, 27 of the children received their citizenship in a Christmas Eve ceremony. This year, Christ-mas for the children involves more giving than receiving.
Most of the children were too young when they came to the Blackburns to comprehend the extreme poverty of their Caribbean homeland, but they have recently become concerned about starvation they've seen in news reports on Somalia, Kathy Blackburn said.
Aaron, 12, asked his mother for some money to send. Kathy Blackburn explained that the family doesn't have much to share.
Then she hit on the idea of a work day. She would pay the children to wash the walls and windows of their home, plus do other chores they don't normally handle, and the money would go to a charity helping Somalis.
"They earned $40," Kathy Blackburn noted.
The family is going to have to find a new home soon. For three years, they have paid about $100 a month for the building 80 miles south of Indianapolis. But their lease runs out in March and it won't be renewed, she said.
But the family isn't worried.
"Our needs are always met as they arise," Kathy Blackburn explained to an interviewer. "Our support doesn't go beyond our needs. It's as if God is in control, knowing our needs."