"This is joyous and heartbreaking at the same time," said Mike Gibson, a For His Glory Outreach board member, standing with his back to children who were left behind. "I don't even want to turn around and look at the kids who aren't going right now."
The newly established Utah Haiti Relief organization also participated in the effort.
"It's not about anything but the kids. Honestly, the only thing we need to do is get them on that plane today," said Erik Sorensen, a Utahn who helped start www.utahhaitirelief.org.
Nannies at the orphanage made sure the children who left Saturday traveled in clean clothing. Clothes have been strewn across the orphanage to dry all week. Each time it appeared the kids would be leaving, the nannies hand-washed their clothes in metal tubs.
"We are organized and ready to travel," Tawnya Constantino said before getting the green light to head to the airport. "We're just waiting for flight confirmation."
Meantime, some 200 children played, cried and laughed in the Maison des Enfants de Dieu orphanage as several dozen nannies tended to their needs the best they could.
Several women mixed baby formula and cuddled newborns under a tent. Youngsters in fresh clothes lined up for a spoonful of cold cereal with milk. Seven toddlers clung to the rail of a crib. A dozen others played in a tent filled with mattresses.
But mostly the children wanted to be held. By anyone.
They walked up to strangers with arms outstretched and longing in their eyes.
St. George residents Brian and Tonya Wilson, who arrived in Haiti on Friday night to help in any way they can, quickly obliged.
"All they want is someone to hold them and give them attention," Brian Wilson said with a child draped around his neck.
"It just tears at my heartstrings," said Tonya Wilson, who held a baby girl who couldn't have been more than 1 month old. "I'd love to do more. It's really sobering."
The Wilsons, who have been married for 4 1/2 years, have no children. They said they're now thinking about adopting a Haitian child. Said Tonya Wilson, "I just fell in love today."
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