An Abbotsford family was awaiting word on their two adopted daughters yesterday, the same day that a plane carrying the first Haitian orphans arrived in Ottawa.
Nancy and Mark Custodio of Abbotsford are in the process of adopting two sisters, Emerline, 5, and Judeline, 3, from Haiti.
“They’re beautiful,” Nancy Custodio said.
Judeline likes music, while Emerline, who has lots of energy, loves “girly stuff” like doing her nails and hair.
The girls have photo albums of their new family and call their new parents “Mamma” and “Papa.”
They were living in an orphanage in the southern city of Jacmel, south of the capital Port-au-Prince, when the devastating magnitude-7.0 earthquake struck.
The girls have since moved outside because of structural damage to the building.
“We just basically wait,” said Custodio. “It’s really tough. God keeps us strong. We have to be tough for our girls.”
Twenty-four orphaned Haitian children arrived in Ottawa yesterday, leaving the Air Canada plane wrapped in blue blankets to protect them from the cold.
On Friday, Citizenship and Immigration Canada announced an agreement with Haiti to evacuate 154 children who were in the advanced stage of the adoption process to Canada.
The Custodios, who are 15 months into their adoptions, have been filling their home with Haitian art and books and are learning Creole to keep alive their daughters’ culture within their household.
“We want them to know how very much we want them and how much we love them. We are not going to stop until they are home.”
WITH FILES FROM THE CANADIAN PRESS