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More Than 2 Dozen Minn. Families Adopt Kids From Haiti

By Liz Collin, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- In the wake of Haiti's quake, more than two dozen Minnesota families have welcomed new children into their homes. The adoptions of 39 kids headed here were among hundreds put on the fast track. Two of them belong to Dawn and Lee Shelton.

At this time last year, the Sheltons were packed. Patricia and Philippe's rooms were ready. The family hopeful that after two years, they'd finally be home.

A few weeks later, they were. Patricia is 10 years old now. In a year, she's grown four inches.

Philippe is 9. He's put on 20 pounds since that Port au Prince orphanage.

"It's been an interesting year, a challenging year, a fun year, but don't think we want to start over again," Dawn Shelton said.

One of the biggest challenges has been communicating. The kids spoke Creole to each other. Philippe couldn't write or read English.

"Now they just seem like regular kids. They're playing with their friends going to school," Lee Shelton said.

They're two grades behind where they should be in school for their age. But, they do really well.

There were nightmares about the quake at first. As each day passes things get better. It's made the Shelton's passion for adoption that much stronger. After a tragedy that rescued two orphans and their family waiting at home.

"We do hope other people see our story and think I can do that, too," Dawn Shelton said.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is credited with helping to speed up the process of adoptions from Haiti after the earthquake. She sponsored new legislation that will make foreign adoption easier in the future.

It's estimated that 380,000 children still live in residential facilities in Haiti right now. About 15 percent of them are considered to be true orphans, losing their mother and father.

WCCO-TV's Liz Collin Reports


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