After almost three months of legal wrangling, a Haitian couple was finally able to fly to Miami to reunite with their baby daughter. The couple feared their daughter, Jenny, had died in Haiti's devastating earthquake in January. But Baby Jenny had been found alive under rubble five days after the quake and had been airlifted to a hospital in Miami. The family will be able to stay in the United States for at least a year while Baby Jenny gets the medical treatment she needs.
The Haitian couple was able to overcome legal obstacles and reunite with their baby, almost three months after she was nearly crushed during the January earthquake.
Junior Alexis, Baby Jenny's father, says his faith in God gave him the strength to continue searching for Jenny, even though he feared she was dead. "I would pray every day that I would find her because the baby was all I had," he said.
What they needed was a miracle. Nadine Devilme, the baby's mother, was on the top floor of their home in Port au Prince with Jenny when the quake struck. The house collapsed, killing Jenny's babysitter and two relatives.
Afterwards, Devilme was unable to find Jenny. "I always had hope that the baby had survived and in fact the first few days I would tell Jr. to go look for the baby and he would go look and come back and I would tell him to look for the baby," she said.
As luck would have it, a US television crew had videotaped a baby being pulled from the rubble five days after the earthquake. The couple learned that the baby was theirs.
But reuniting with Jenny has been a challenge.
Both adults had to have DNA testing to prove they are the biological parents. They had to get Haitian passports and US visas.
Mark Lapointe, Baby Jenny's attorney, is helping the family with the legal issues "Once the (DNA) test was done and it was determined that they were in fact the parents, needless to say, everyone was very happy cause you could say you averted two tragedies: because now you know you have a child with parents and two people in Haiti who did not lose their child," he said.
Jenny technically is in the custody of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Child welfare administrators are unable to release her to her parents until the US government gives permission.
In the meantime, the couple is living in a cottage close to the agency providing Jenny with medical care and physical therapy.
The International Rescue Committee will help the couple move into an apartment and find jobs during their one-year stay in the US.