Haitian children being adopted by Iowa families survive

Maya and others at the orphanage sleep outside in case of aftershocks.
Maya and others at the orphanage sleep outside in case of aftershocks. ( )
Saturday, January 16, 2010

For two days, as stories of unfathomable suffering poured out of Haiti, three families in Pella, Iowa, prayed that their children were alive.

On Thursday, a phone call answered their prayers. Five children who were in the process of being adopted by the families had survived the earthquake.

"It's unbelievable," said Mandy Poulter, who, with husband Matt Poulter, was in the final stage of adopting a 4-year-old Haitian girl named Maya. After three years of effort, they feared they might have lost her in Tuesday's earthquake.

On Thursday, their phone rang. It was an ABC News correspondent who was standing in front of the Central Texas Orphan Mission Alliance, where Maya and the others lived.

The call was cut off before Mandy Poulter could learn Maya's fate. But a Skype call soon confirmed that she and the other children at the orphanage were alive.

"It's one of the greatest moments that I'd ever experienced," she said.

The children were on the second floor when the quake struck. The building, near the airport, survived, but the children are sleeping on blankets outside in case of aftershocks.

Mandy Poulter gave the reporter a message for Maya, who speaks only Creole: "I said to tell her we loved her and Mommy and Daddy would come as soon as possible and bring her home."

-- Tara Bahrampour

© 2010 The Washington Post Company