Haiti Quake 'Orphans' Reunited With Parents All of the 33 children that U.S. missionaries tried to take out of Haiti after the deadly January earthquake have been returned to their parents. But at least one mother says that she would consider giving up her children for a better life elsewhere than subject them to the desperate living conditions in Haiti.
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Haiti Quake 'Orphans' Reunited With Parents

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Haiti Quake 'Orphans' Reunited With Parents

Haiti Quake 'Orphans' Reunited With Parents

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ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

NPR's Jason Beaubien reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF A GOAT)

JASON BEAUBIEN: Mannette Rico sent her only two children - 4-year-old Saraya and 5-year-old Leila - with the Americans.

MANNETTE RICO: (Through translator) We decided to give our kids away because, as you can see, this is my father-in-law's house. Also it collapsed, but mine is behind. It collapsed, too.

BEARDSLEY: Sitting in front of the half-collapsed building where she now lives, her daughter Saraya leaning against her thigh, Rico says she regrets sending her girls with this group. She adds, however, that she might give up her daughters again if someone really could offer them a better life.

RICO: (Through translator) We didn't understand so much what was going on. And we learned from this experience. Then yes, we could give the children away but not in the same conditions.

BEARDSLEY: Other parents in Calebasse who entrusted their kids to the missionaries also say that life was incredibly difficult in the days after the quake.

(SOUNDBITE OF CHILDREN PLAYING)

BEAUBIEN: The missionaries were arrested on January 29 as they tried to take the children across the border to the Dominican Republic without any paperwork. The next day, the children were placed at the SOS Children's Village on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Only this week were they able to go home.

LINE WOLF NIELSEN: They've been crying. They've been missing their parents. They've been missing home. There is a small boy who missed going to church, he told me.

BEARDSLEY: Wolf Nielsen says children like the 33 picked up by the American missionaries are at risk in any emergency situation

WOLF NIELSEN: So many families and children were vulnerable for being separated. And that risk is still out there because there's still a huge need for better shelter and food and water and health care.

BEAUBIEN: Jason Beaubien, NPR News, Port-au-Prince.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED.

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