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Dozens of Haitian orphans from the devastated Caribbean nation headed to Pennsylvania on Tuesday to meet their newly adoptive parents.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and a crew of medical personnel traveled aboard a plane with the 54 Haitian children, who landed in Pittsburgh Tuesday morning. The orphans -- who are all under age 4 -- will be taken to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh to be examined by doctors.
"We're going to save the 54 kids and lead them to great lives," Rendell told Fox News in Haiti. "They're happy, good kids despite all the things that have happened to them, despite being orphaned, despite being in a hurricane (sic). I'm amazed at how happy these kids are. I think everyone of us in Pennsylvania has a wonderful feeling."
The State Department announced Monday that orphaned children from Haiti will be allowed to enter the U.S. temporarily on a case-by-case basis to ensure they received proper care.
Under the plan, humanitarian parole into the U.S may be granted to the following children: those who have been legally confirmed as orphans eligible for intercountry adoption by the government of Haiti and are being adopted by U.S. citizens; or children who have been previously identified by an adoption service provider or facilitator as eligible for intercountry adoption and have been matched to U.S. citizen prospective adoptive parents.
An official from the Department of Homeland Security, speaking to Fox News on condition of anonymity, said the administration is working to "provide relief in Haiti and provide humanitarian parole to orphans and medical evacuees in special cases."
Other U.S. officials are also working to facilitate speedy adoptions with Haitian orphans and families in the U.S.
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, announced Tuesday that he had helped to unite an Iowa family with their 4-year-old Haitian daughter -- nicknamed "Maya" -- who was found unharmed at an orphanage in Port-au-Prince.
After a news report identified the girl at the Central Texas Orphan Mission Alliance orphanage in Port-au-Prince last week. Harkin pressed the State Department to obtain humanitarian parole for the girl, who then met with her adopted parents in Haiti before heading to Pella, Iowa.
"This story truly tugs at your heartstrings: a local family so close to bringing their adoptive daughter home when a natural disaster strikes and almost prevents this reunion," Harkin said in a statement. "My office saw an opportunity to help this family and in doing so, transform the images coming out of Haiti -- if only for a moment -- from one of devastation, to one of celebration."
Fox News' Major Garrett contributed to this report.