53 orphans from Haiti arrived safely in Pittsburgh this morning after whirlwind planning to get them passports and visas to come to the U.S. The BRESMA orphanage, run by 2 suburban Pittsburgh sisters, was heavily damaged in last week's earthquake but the children were not injured. Most of the children were already in the process of being adopted by families in the United States. But sisters Ali and Jamie McMutrie appealed to government officials in Pennsylvania and in Washington to evacuate the children.
Governor Ed Rendell, Congressman Jason Altmire, doctors, nurses and volunteers flew to Haiti yesterday to deliver 2 and a half tons of medical supplies but also to pick up the orphans. Rendell called the McMutrie sisters "true heroes" for holding the orphanage together. Ali McMutrie said the children are in good shape and she was more afraid of the flight in the cargo plane than the kids were. When it appeared that several of the children would not get passports or visas, the McMutrie sisters insisted they would not leave any of them behind.
One child did wander away before takeoff and Jamie McMutrie stayed behind. They are now scheduled to arrive in the U.S. later today.
After a thorough medical exam at Children's Hospital, Catholic Charities will place the children in foster care till the adoption process is completed. 47 of the children have adoption agreements....40 of those in the United States. The other 7 will be allowed to remain in the country for 2 years to allow them to be adopted.