MOUNT VERNON, Ind. (WEHT) – Nicot Burnett has been electric on the field helping Mt. Vernon sail through the season and even being crowned Home Team Friday MVP. Just twenty miles east, his cousin, Jonas Burnett, is the leading rusher for the undefeated Reitz Panthers.

“We support each other no matter what we’re doing,” said Jonas. “Even when we’re on the opposite team. We’re going to support each other.”

But Jonas and Nicot have more in common than their last name and their dominance in football. They were both born in Haiti and adopted from the same orphanage.

“I basically had nothing back then,” said Jonas. “So just being able to come over to America and have a whole new life having a whole new opportunity. It just means everything to me.”

Jonas was the first to make his way to the United States – adopted by Todd and Kristina Burnett – followed by his sister Ellie as well as Nicot and Maty – adopted by Troy and Cathy Burnett.

“It just started a whole flurry from there,” said Kristina Burnett, Jonas’s mom. “And before we knew it, there were 19 kids from 11 families that were adopting from the Tri-State area. It was mind-blowing.”

The earthquake in Haiti in 2010 expedited the adoption process. President Obama granted humanitarian parole to any families that were in the process of adopting children. Todd Burnett, Jonas’s dad, said they received a call saying they must be in Florida that same night to pick them up. And so began their American journey.

“I’m so thankful, beyond thankful,” said Nicot. “I don’t know what I can do, or what I can show, to express my gratitude to my family, and everyone in the process of helping me get here.”

“Everybody tells you ‘Wow, what a great thing to do,'” said Troy Burnett, Nicot’s dad. “And yeah, maybe it is, but it’s just so much bigger than just people adopting kids. You just can’t put it into words. But the biggest thing is just having faith and believing and trusting and knowing that God has brought you on this journey and and he’s gonna see it through and like say they’re a bigger blessing to us than anything we’ve ever done for them.”

The four had each other to share their Haitian roots, while getting the best of both worlds and learning American culture.

“I kind of laughed because I think boy they are real he’s serious about this American dream,” said Cathy Burnett, Nicot’s mom. “And they’re gonna come over here and they can do whatever they want to do. And they have set in their mind what they want to do, and they have put all their energy toward it.”

Jonas and Nicot’s grandpa was a die-hard football fan and his passion rubbed off on the boys.

“I remember the year the Colts had a player that was from Haiti,” said Todd Burnett, Jonas’s dad. “And dad bought Nicot, and Jonas matching jerseys – Colts jerseys – because it was important that they have those because [Pierre Garcon] was from their country.”

“God has a sense of humor because we are the most unathletic parents on the planet and he gave us this uber athletic child,” said Kristina.

“I feel like I got put in the right family,” said Jonas. “I mean, they’ve been there for me since day one. And they’re like, the biggest support group I have. And that makes me feel pretty happy.”

But even though the two love and support each other, they’re still a little competitive.

Nicot – “I’m a better running back.”
Jonas – “Cap!”