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Haitian siblings survive earthquake, meet their new family

By Kim Segal, CNN
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Haiti orphans meet new parents
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Brother and sister flown from Haiti to join their adoptive family in Florida
  • Orphanage housing Dayana and Moise had partially collapsed in earthquake
  • Big smiles, hugs when they finally joined their family for good, mom says

Fort Lauderdale, Florida (CNN) -- Dayana and Moise smile as they shovel chips, with a mix of sand, into their mouths on a beach in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

They dig in the sand and run from the waves.

The Haehre family looks like any other family on vacation, but this unplanned trip to Florida was where their brood grew from two children to four.

Mindy and Oyvind Haehre started the process to adopt siblings Dayana, now 7 years old, and Moise, 5, from a Haitian orphanage in 2008. The adoption was to be completed next month when the family expected to move the children from a Port-au-Prince, Haiti, orphanage to their home in Loveland, Colorado.

But that orphanage partially collapsed in last week's devastating earthquake. All 25 children there survived, but they had to move out onto the street.

Search lists of the missing and the found

Video: Saving the children
Video: Haiti orphanage update
Video: Orphanage falls, children OK
RELATED TOPICS
  • Haiti
  • Earthquakes
  • Disaster Relief
  • Adoption

Mindy Haehre said her family was lucky; the good news about her children traveled quickly. "We knew they were safe," she said, "but still when your kids are in danger nothing can be good enough unless you are with them."

The Haehres heard that Dayana and Moise might be among a small group of Haitian children whose adoptions were set that the U.S. military would fly to Florida. So they packed up their other two children, Silje and Jakob, and caught a flight to Fort Lauderdale.

On Sunday as they checked into their hotel, the phone rang. It was the call they were hoping for. Their children were indeed among the small group of children from the orphanage being evacuated to the United States.

The flight was heading for an airport in central Florida. The Haehres jumped in their rental car and drove about four hours north.

"We said their names and they looked over and their eyes got big and they got big smiles and they came over and hugged us and kissed us and just kept smiling," Mindy Haehre said.

Big brother Jakob admitted he didn't enjoy the drive but said: "I was pretty excited. It was really fun to know that I can bring them home."

Dayana and Moise were already familiar with their new family. They had met in Haiti several times while the adoption process was slowly moving along.

If there were any signs of trauma after the children's ordeal, the Haehres said they did not see them.

Watch how the children had been living outside

"Within probably 10 minutes all four kids were running around the customs area of the airport, playing and being noisy and acting like kids," Mindy Haehre said.

And being kids was exactly how they appeared on the beach in Fort Lauderdale. Splashing, laughing and playing with language being no barrier for the four Haehre children.

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