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Published January 13, 2011, 09:39 PM

Minnesota Family Gets Bigger with Haiti Orphan Additions

Jim and Kelli Hewitt's home near Lancaster is a full house. And the Hewitt's family got bigger in 2010 after the Haiti earthquake. Their daughter Lacey Hewitt was volunteering in an orphanage there when the earthquake struck a year ago this week.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

This week is the one-year anniversary of the earthquake that killed thousands and left more then a million people homeless.

One northwestern Minnesota family adopted four Haitian children after the disaster.

Jim and Kelli Hewitt's home near Lancaster is a full house. And the Hewitt's family got bigger in 2010 after the Haiti earthquake. Their daughter Lacey Hewitt was volunteering in an orphanage there when the earthquake struck a year ago this week.

"It was a very emotional experience for me yesterday, just because I was there during the earthquake and a lot of memories and visions came back to me," Lacey Hewitt said.

The Hewitt's connection to Haiti didn't start there. 14 years ago, they adopted three Haitian children. The recently had planned to adopt two more kids from the orphanage from where their daughter Lacey worked. That changed after disaster.

"This brother and sister came to live with her and she called home and said 'mom and dad we, just can't leave these two here.' So we adopted the four instead of just the two," Jim Hewitt said.

Jim says with 12 children, including five of their biological kids, it's a labor a love. They just added on a seventh bedroom and meals are usually in shifts. But they always seem to make due.

"Everyone asks 'how can you afford it?' Because a lot of people have two or three children and they know it's a hard time and so financially, it is a challenge, but it's all how we prioritize things. I don't drive brand new vehicles and we buy in bulk," Jim said.

Sacrifices that Jim says have been worth it and will gladly continue to make for his family's latest addition.

"It's just been a wonderful year, they have adjusted really well and they fit really well into our family," Jim said.

"It has just been awesome to have the children here and to see them heal emotionally and physically. It has just been amazing," Lacey said.

The Hewitts continue to help children in Haiti. They are holding a special benefit concert on March 5th at the Roseau School Gym with the money raised going to rebuild the orphanage where their adopted children stayed.

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