Haitian child reunited with parents

March 22, 2010 4:41:53 PM PDT
A 3-year-girl who was separated from her parents by the earthquake in Haiti was finally reunited with them last week.

Haitian-born Maulissa Onelien arrived in Chicago on Thursday when she was reunited with both parents.

"I'm feeling really happy because my daughter is with me and my husband. The family is complete," said Mary Maud Onelien, Maulissa's mother

Maulissa had been living in Haiti with relatives while her mother was here applying for U.S. Citizenship. Her father, Jean Onelien, a U.S. citizen who lives with his wife in Skokie, was forced to travel to Haiti twice hoping to bring his daughter home. He was told the visa section of the U.S. Embassy was closed and his daughter's request could not be processed until she had a physical that could take weeks to get.

"When I get there on a Tuesday, they leave me paper to do the physical exam. You cannot get done the physical exam in a few days. It has to be weeks. So I went to different places and was able to do it and they give me the paper on Friday. Unfortunately, the embassy was closed Friday," said Jean Onelien.

After a great deal of red tape and spending several thousand dollars Jean Onelien finally was able to get his daughter and bring her to Chicago last week.

"My daughter is here next to me and we played together?I cannot believe it," said Jean Onelien.

Jean Onelien, a manager at Sunset Foods in Northbrook, says he received a great deal of support from his customers and friends following the earthquake in Haiti and not knowing whether his child had survived.

"The house collapsed," said Jean Onelien.

Maulissa has adapted quickly to her new home. She is a happy child who loves to play with her father. The parents say they are now living the American dream.

"Knowing you have my daughter, my wife together and I have a job and my house for me is a paradise," said Jean Onelien.