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News Story
Updated: 08/07/2014 08:00:01AM

The long journey home

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PHOTO PROVIDED

The entire Grimes family ... from left: Christopher, Dewayne, Samantha, Christabel, Fritzson, Chris, Shasta, Wanna and Destiny.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com

A few days before the children arrive from Haiti, Christopher Grimes lies on the pull-out trundle bed he will share with his new brother Fritzson, who is a huge fan of Batman. Christopher and Fritzon are about the same age; Fritzson has the top bunk.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com

Wanna, left, Destiny, Shata and Fritzson look over some new school supplies they've just received. The two children from Haiti are enrolled in DeSoto schools and will start classes in less than two weeks; this week they've been attending Vacation Bible School at Pine Level United Methodist Church.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com

Shasta Grimes shares a million-dollar smile with her new daughter Wanna.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sunherald.com

Christ Grimes and his son Christopher take a break in the familiy's kitchen the night before Chris and Shata will leave for Haiti. Chris mad some last-minute fixes to prepare bedrooms for their new children; for his part, Christopher is ready to welcome his new brother wearing a Batman shirt, Fritzon's favorite character.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com

Destiny Grimes is bonding with her new sister, Wanna. Destiny says it's exciting to have a sister but takes some adjustment, too.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com

Fritzson is literally rolling on the floor laughing after showing a fake spider. The two children from Haiti arrived in the United States a week ago as new members of the Grimes family.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com

Wanna investigates some school supplies in her gift bag. She has great fashion sense and is enjoying having a sister near her age. The children will start school in less than two weeks.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-heralod.com

Shasta Grimes helps Fritzson examine some things in his back-to-school gift bag. Shasta and her husband, Chris, have been working for four years to adopt Fritzson and his sister, Wanna, and finally brought them back to the U.S. last week.

ARCADIAN PHOTO BY SUSAN E. HOFFMAN, shoffman@sun-herald.com

Destiny looks on as Wanna pinches Shasta Grimes' dimples. The two girls are about the same age and now have adjoining rooms decorated in pink and purple.

By SUSAN E. HOFFMAN

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Four years ago, Arcadian Shasta Grimes traveled to Haiti in response to the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake that devastated the island country of Haiti. Already racked with rampant poverty and a history of political corruption, the small country was rocked to its core. An estimated 100,000 to 160,000 people died; hundreds of thousands more were injured, diseases spread like wildfire and children were abandoned to orphanages or left wandering the streets alone.

Grimes, who has made more than 30 trips to Haiti since 1998, went again to help after the earthquake. And while there, she fell in love. Wanna, a 7-year-old girl, and Fritzson, then only 3, stole her heart. They were living in an orphanage at the time.

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