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Published: Tuesday, 1/26/2010

Lima based orphanage rushes adoptions of Haitian children

With restrictions tightening on Haitian children leaving the country for foreign adoptions, a Lima, Ohio-based orphanage put a rush on already accelerated travel plans.

Hal and Chris Nungester, who run H.I.S. Home for Children in Port-au-Prince, were able to evacuate 67 children who are being adopted by American families on military transport planes late Sunday night, said Michele Wassink of Lima, who is Mr. Nungester's sister and among the parents adopting a child from Haiti.

"Chris knew if she waited until government offices opened up [yesterday] morning, she'd be sunk, so she scurried," Mrs. Wassink said.

"She's a tenacious woman, and my brother is too," she said. "You are talking about a couple of people who will risk life and limb to make sure kids are safe."

Mrs. Nungester accompanied 57 children from earthquake-stricken Port-au-Prince to Orlando, Fla., arriving about 2 a.m. yesterday, Mrs. Wassink said. Ten other children followed on a second plane.

Mrs. Wassink and her husband, Joe, are adopting an 8-year-old boy named Alin.

A posting yesterday on the H.I.S. Home Web site said Mrs. Nungester was traveling with the children to Miami yesterday where many would be united with their adoptive families.

The children who are being adopted by families in Ohio are expected to arrive in Dayton today, but plans were not firm late yesterday.

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