Woman's Haitian adoption derailed by earthquake

January 29, 2010 5:31:39 PM PST
A Bay Area woman who was living in Haiti when the earthquake hit is desperately trying to leave that country and return home with the two young orphans she was in the process of adopting.

Oakland native Mary Chew just wants to bring her girls home from Haiti. The missionary is the legal guardian of two young Haitian orphans, 7-year-old Naomi and 4-year-old Ruth.

Chew was living with the girls and in the process of adopting them when the earthquake struck on Jan. 12.

Chew spoke to ABC7 by telephone from the town of Saint Marc, 40 miles from Port-au-Prince.

"We ran out the door, the three of us and just kept going further and further away from any buildings until we reached an open field area," she said.

Chew and the girls were not hurt, but Chew believes her adoption attorney was killed in the quake.

Now, Chew and her family are trying to get the State Department to grant a waiver for her and the girls to travel to the Bay Area.

So far, they have been unsuccessful.

"If people who are in the adoption process from afar could have their children released to them, how much more should Mary, she wasn't even content to leave Haiti without her children," Chew's brother-in-law Bill Betts said.

The State Department will not comment on specific cases, but stated in a press release, "The United States is seeking to expedite the departure of children approved for humanitarian parole."

Each case must also be approved by the Haitian government.

In the meantime, conditions in Haiti are deteriorating rapidly.

"I'd love to see them come home because that's their hope and desire and because we want them to be safe," Chew's sister Lydia Betts said.

"These are my daughters and although I am an American, and it's unsafe for me to be here, I will not return home without them," Chew said.