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Haitian Adoptees Thriving in New U.S. Families

A year after a devastating earthquake in Haiti killed more than 230,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless, families across the U.S. are celebrating life with the children they saved from the decimated Caribbean nation.

A year after a devastating earthquake in Haiti killed more than 230,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless, families across the U.S. are celebrating life with the children they saved from the decimated Caribbean nation.

Nearly 1,100 Haitian children have been adopted by U.S. families since a magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck near Port-au-Prince on Jan. 12, 2010, according to State Department statistics.

In Bridport, Vt., Tim and Annette Franklin told the Burlington Free Press that 3-year-old Gedeleine is now singing and speaking in English and has made many new friends at her local church since coming to the United States via Miami roughly 10 days after the earthquake.

"We stayed up all night long," Tim Franklin told the newspaper of the night before adopting the girl. "We waited for them to call her name. That was our cue to go and get her. The children were in the adjoining room. We could hear them singing. We were all crying."

When the couple united with the girl, who is HIV positive, an instant bond ensued. She eventually settled into their Vermont home within about two months. Now the Franklins are in the process of fundraising to adopt again, this time a 13-year-old boy from Ethiopia.

"We can't change the world for all those kids, but we can change the world for some," Tim Franklin told the newspaper. "If people can't adopt, they can support an adoption or orphanages. It would be wonderful if these children could stay in their own countries, but the economic situations in these areas are often dire."

In Flower Mound, Texas, Maya Poulter, whose odyssey from Haiti to Iowa made national news last year, continues to thrive, her mother told the Des Moines Register in an e-mail last week.

Mandy and Matt Poulter had nearly completed the adoption process when the earthquake struck. After racing to Haiti, they picked up Maya and four other Haitian children who were in the process of being adopted by families in Iowa, the newspaper reports.

The girl, now 5, has grown nearly 8 inches since arriving in the U.S., Mandy Poulter told the newspaper in an e-mail.

"Almost unbelievable that she could grow that much in a year! She's a very girly girl and would wear skirts and fancy shoes every day if we'd let her," the message read.

The Poulters moved to Texas last year after Matt was transferred by his employer, but they hope to return to Iowa within a few years.

Meanwhile, in Suamico, Wis., Jaime and Patrick Franklin say the past year has simply flown by since they adopted then-2-year-old Shae. Now 3, the girl has easily adjusted to her new life and enjoys swimming and dancing lessons.

"It seems years and years ago quite honestly," Patrick Franklin told WFRV.com. "She loves to color. She loves to dance [and] sing."

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