Baptist Pastor: We'd Do It Again in Haiti

Haitian government officials are adamant about sending a strong message as they determine how to deal with the Americans arrested for attempting to take Haitian children out of their earthquake-ravaged country.

CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker reports the 33 Haitian children are safe, playing at a Port-au-Prince orphanage, unaware they're at the center of a swirling controversy.

Across town, the 10 American Baptists accused of kidnapping them remain in jail - and maintain their innocence.

"We showed them where we were going, and they were excited to go with us," said Laura Silsby of New Life Children's Refuge.

The controversy began when the Americans tried to take the children across the Dominican border. Long plagued with illicit foreign adoptions, and now with thousands of quake orphans, Haiti has put a hold on all adoptions.

Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive wants to make an example of the Americans.

"There is a law," Bellerive said. "Those people are supposed to know the law. They violated the law.

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Some of the Americans being held belong to the Central Valley Baptist Church in Meridan, Idaho. Appearing on CBS' "The Early Show" this morning, assistant pastor Drew Ham said while information about the incident involving their church members is incomplete, "Based on the information we have, I'm not sure that we would do anything different. I think they did handle it in the best manner possible.

"We don't know who knew what and particularly with the language barrier, it was probably remarkably difficult to know how all that transpired."

"With a history of sex trafficking in Haiti, can you understand why the Haitian government is so insistent on procedures and rules being followed here?" asked anchor Maggie Rodriguez.

"Absolutely, absolutely understand," said Ham. "And to be real honest, even the families who are here have expressed their desire for Haitian government to really raise those standards. So in many ways this is a positive step that they've raised those standards."

But Ham maintained that the Americans arrested had the best intentions.

"I know the hearts of those folks that went to Haiti, and their heart was to help combat the problem of human trafficking," Ham said, "and so certainly this would never be something that they would be a part of, at least those things that they're charged in doing in."

Ham said there were many lessons to be learned from the event.

"Based on the information that we've been given, our folks had certain procedures that they were supposed to follow, they followed that to the best of their ability, only to realize that they were missing a document when they got to the border. They were certainly willing to go back to Port-au-Prince to get that missing document and it was there that they they were arrested."

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CBS' Bill Whitaker went to the home village of 20 of the children, and were told by the children's parents and siblings they willingly signed their children over to the Americans.

To get a better life, one woman said. "We have nothing; look around here."

Did anyone offer anyone any money? asked Whitaker. No, they all said.

"We have to get these people and these families, we have to make them able to take care of their own children," said Georg Willeit of SOS Children's Village. "We have to empower them."

One mother said she'd send her daughter away again, if it meant she'd get a good education.

Try telling that to her 10-year-old daughter in the orphanage, crying on her cell phone.

With the Haitian courts in shambles, the Americans could be returned to the United States for trial.

The incident is intensifying an already-bitter debate over international adoption.

Some groups are urging a long pause on new adoptions from Haiti because there is too much chaos and too high a risk of mistakes or child trafficking. Other groups fear any long-term clampdown will hurt future adoption efforts.

Chuck Johnson, chief operating officer of the National Council for Adoption, calls the Baptist group's actions a "critical mistake" that could undercut efforts to expand adoptions.

SOS Children's Villages, which is caring for the 33 Haitian children targeted by the arrested Americans, said international adoptions should be avoided until every effort at family reunions are made.
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