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But now Adrienne Poulime has one less mouth to feed.

Ten days ago she gave away her youngest daughter, 12-year-old Benatide, to a group of American Baptists who promised to give her a better life abroad by finding a Christian family to adopt her.

There, they watched as buildings all over Calebasse began to crumble.

Thousands upon thousands of those made homeless are still living in tented towns in the city, including one in the garden of the presidential palace.

Yet despite the new vulnerability of these children, Heather Paul, the international head of the charity SOS Children's Villages, which runs the refuge now caring for Benatide, says foreign adoptions should be only a last resort when 'every effort has been made to reunite a child with relatives or provide suitable care in Haiti'.

But, revealingly, the mission statement of her New Life organisation specifically says its purpose was to get Haitian children for adoption in the U. Some parents of the 33 children were told that living in the Dominican Republic would be a first step towards their offspring going to new families in America.

Furthermore, far from being orphans, the Mail has been told that of the 33 children are parentless or abandoned.

On Thursday, the five men and five women Baptists, led by a 40-year-old Idaho businesswoman called Laura Silsby, were charged with child abduction and criminal conspiracy.

If convicted, they face lengthy terms in a Haitian prison.She added: 'Sometimes Americans think that children are better off in a middle-class environment than being with their own family because they are impoverished. Children love their own families.' That is certainly the case with Benatide.When I met her at the refuge, she whispered to me: 'I want to go home.Since the earthquake on January 12, 300 children have been given to new families in the U. More adoptions are in the pipeline, many arranged by orphanages in Haiti.It is estimated that 7,000 children could leave the country over the next year.Once children arrive in America and are introduced to their family at the airport, they are taken to special centres where lawyers are on hand to complete adoption papers in a process that can take just half an hour.

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