Six Haitian orphans resume journey to U.S. homes, board airplane bound for Miami
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Six Haitian orphans boarded an airplane to the United States on Wednesday, four days after Haitian police seized them out of fear they were being kidnapped.
“ They were unbelievably excited to be going home,” said Maria O’Donovan, field director of the orphanage in northern Haiti. She said the children were singing songs — including “ Wheels on the Bus” and “B-I-N-G-O” — on the way to the airport.
“I was just so relieved to see the plane take off,” she said. “I’m so excited for their parents.”
The waiting new families can take the children home on Thursday, according to Jan Bonnema, the Minnesota-based founder of the Children of The Promise orphanage.
Sara Vanzee and her husband, Tim, waited for their 13-monthold son Albert to arrive. They understand the suspicions in Haiti given recent cases, but said their ordeal has been stressful.
“Our hope is that they’re OK with it, that they can see that we absolutely love these children and that we want to provide for them,” said Vanzee, who is from the U.S. Midwest.
On Saturday, a group of 20 men blocked four women accompany- ing the orphans to the airport, shouting: “ You can’t take our children!” Police briefly detained the women and the orphans — ages 1-5 — spent three night sleeping on the ground in a tent city. The U.S. Embassy official carrying the documents needed to take them through immigration had been running late.
At the very moment when Haiti’s impoverished children are in greatest need — and wellmeaning foreigners are most willing to help — fears of child trafficking are making it harder than ever for them to leave the Western Hemisphere’s poorest land.
Those concerns have been fueled by the arrest last month of 10 U.S. missionaries trying to take a busload of 33 children to the Dominican Republic without proper documentation. It turned out none of the children were orphans, and the Americans were arrested; two remain in jail in Port-au-Prince.
Thousands of desperate Haitian parents, unable to care for their own children, have eagerly given the youngsters away in hopes of giving them a better life. At the same time, they are terrified they will be tricked by predators who will enslave or sexually abuse the children. BOSTON (AP) — The brother of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan, charged with assaulting his father in their home shortly before he died, was released from custody Wednesday after his family posted his US$10,000 bail.
Daniel Kerrigan, 70, died last month after a fight with his son, Mark Kerrigan. Prosecutors charged Mark Kerrigan with assault and have said they are considering whether to upgrade the charge.
Kerrigan, 45, was freed on bail a day after he completed a psychiatric evaluation at Bridgewater State Hospital. As a condition of his release, he must wear a global positioning device and be monitored for alcohol consumption.
Nancy Sterling, a spokeswoman for the Kerrigans, said the family is “delighted to have Mark back with them.”
A judge ruled last week, over the objections of prosecutors, that Kerrigan can return to live with his mother in the family’s Stoneham home, where the alleged assault took place.
A state medical examiner ruled that Daniel Kerrigan’s cause of death was “cardiac dysrhythmia”— a loss or interruption of a normal heartbeat that can lead to cardiac arrest — after a physical altercation with neck compression that damaged his windpipe. The findings also noted that the elder Kerrigan had high blood pressure and clogged arteries.
The Kerrigan family disputes the findings and says Daniel Kerrigan had a pre-existing heart condition.