Friday, January 22, 2010

2 Kilometers - UPDATE

(Port-au-Prince, Haiti) Because of State Department procedural requirements, on the morning of January 21, 2010, 114 children left the Maison des Enfants de Dieu (Children of the House of God) orphanage for the U.S. Embassy. Of the 114 children, 111 were the orphans eligible for humanitarian parole to the United States and three were orphans who have Canadian/Argentinea n adoptive parents and may also qualify for evacuation. Eighty-seven toddlers and children traveled in a bus and 27 infants traveled in a van, accompanied by orphanage staff, representatives from the U.S. ministry, For His Glory Adoption Outreach (FHG), and members of the press. Dead bodies, debris and abandoned vehicles in the roads made movement very difficult. Temperatures inside the vehicles became extreme and began to make the younger children sick. After 2 hours of little progress, the difficult decision was made to return to the orphanage.

After returning the children to the orphanage, staff members returned to the U.S. Embassy and received permission to process the children's paperwork without the children being physically present.

Humanitarian paroles for some of the orphans have been completed, however additional documentation was needed for others. The United States Customs and Immigration Service has pledged to work through the night with FHG staff to ensure that all required documentation will be available Friday in sufficient time to allow all 114 orphans to depart Haiti for the United States. Air Transportation from Haiti is being arranged for the evening of January 22, 2010.

Kim Harmon, President of FHG, stated she is "overwhelmed and amazed by the dedication and willingness of individuals within the U.S. Government to assist in meeting Friday's deadline." She continued to call for "everyone to pray, especially for the health of the children."

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