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The orphans leave 'hell' for new life in Utah with Mormons

SOME 10 young Haitian orphans left the grim Foyer de Sion orphanage on Tuesday for new lives with Mormon parents in Salt Lake City, USA.

For them, it promised to be the oddest of cultural journeys, but then nothing is normal anymore in Port-au-Prince.

Other small groups of orphans arrived in Florida and Pennsylvania.

However, this exodus of supposedly unwanted infants for a new life in America has not been without controversy.

Both US and Dutch officials have admitted that they have cut red tape and speeded through paperwork to expedite the process for children with adoptions pending with prospective parents.

Questions were asked after planes carrying medical aid continued to be turned away from Port-au-Prince's congested airport.


But Edward Rendell, the governor of Pennsylvania, was able to land his chartered plane there to evacuate 61 children from an orphanage run by two of his constituents.

The airlift to Pittsburgh is not the only example of orphan extraction that has perturbed local people.

Pascale Mardy, Foyer de Sion's manager, said some of the relatives of the 10 sent to Utah had expressed misgivings about the speeding up of a process which, she added, usually takes two or three years.

"Some relatives agreed with the children going now, some didn't, but in the end we convinced them," she said.

"The American embassy allowed them to fly without a visa."

US parents choose a child from photographs and then contact the US government to start the procedure, she said.

There was still an adoption process, she added, but it was "just easier now". (©Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent