Haiti's Orphans - Old and New - "Scared"

With the deaths of so many adults in the earthquake, the number of orphans in Haiti continues to swell. And Americans already waiting to adopt a Haitian orphan are desperate to speed up the process, as CBS News correspondent Manuel Gallegus reports.

Amidst the chaos in Haiti are frightened and vulnerable children, and many of them are now orphans, having lost a mother, father or both. And for those orphaned before the earthquake, a difficult life is growing more desperate.

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At the House of the Children of God Orphanage, 125 children are now living in tents without enough food, water or medicine.

"They are very scared. They are very scared. That's why we keep everyone one in one place and I am in the center, and we pray with them too," said orphanage's manager Pierre Alexis.

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One of those orphans is seven-year-old Wilgencia.

Sherri and Mike Vanduzer from Colorado are in the middle of the long process of adopting her. They've made several trips to see her, even bringing their daughter.

After the quake they had no idea if Wilgencia (or the others) had even survived. On Sunday, CBS News was able to help them find each other.

Some 50,000 children were living in licensed orphanages in Haiti when the quake hit. Six hundred of them were in the process of being adopted by American families.

But with documents buried the rubble, and even caregivers killed, child advocates are trying to convince the U.S. government to immediately grant Haiti's orphans what's called "humanitarian parole."

"That would allow these children to enter the U.S. very quickly without a lot of paperwork and safely and securely and eventually end up with the family who will adopt them," said Tom DiFilipo, president of the Joint Council on International Children's Services.

More children are already showing up at this orphanage.

"It's kind of hard to say no because they are so very desperate. Very desperate," Alexis said.

The Vanduzers are hopeful they'll be united with Wilgencia soon.

Child advocates are hoping the U.S. government grants humanitarian parole to these children within a few days. Once that happens, the next hurdle is airlifting the children out.
  • Manuel Gallegus

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