Two Chicago-area families on Friday welcomed their adopted Haitian children home for the first time.
"I've been waiting for this for two and a half years," said Elaine Morgan while holding her adopted daughter, Djoude. "It's like a miracle."
The adoption agency, Oak Park-based Adoption-Link, had been working non-stop over the past 10 days to make sure 16 Haitian orphans who'd already been matched with American families were safe in the wake of the earthquake.
"Until they touched down last night, it wasn't a sure thing," said adoptive mother Lisa Gregg, who just welcomed her Haitian son, 3 year old Nelson. "We were nervous but hopeful."
Tens of thousands of children are believed to have been orphaned in the quake, and their fate remains unclear, aid groups and United Nations officials say.
Because of that, there is some concern that rushing children out of the country could break up families and have damaging psychological effects on the children.
"The most critical thing is that you don't take children away from their families - we may not know for several months if these children have families, it may even take a year," said Kathie Neal, the development director of SOS Children, the world's largest orphan charity, according to Al Jazeera.