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Haiti earthquake interferes with grad's adoptions
The devastation left behind by the earthquake in Haiti has also disrupted the plans of a Ceres High School graduate who is in the process of adopting two daughters there.

Mary Chew, a CHS graduate, was attempting to leave Haiti with her new adoptive daughters but the Jan. 12 quake has disrupted all of life there, including the legal system. According to her sister, Mary Chew has paid thousands of dollars to process the adoptions through Haitian Social Services but when the courthouse went down in St. Mark, all the papers were destroyed and the judge and lawyer in her case are missing and presumed dead.

"She feels like she is trapped," said Mary's sister, Rhoda Chew of Merced. "It's not safe to leave the building with the armed guards and chaos on the streets.

"She's finding out little by little what's necessary to get them out. They've started allowing families little by little to leave. Right now we're just concerned that anything can happen at this point because of the government and what's happening on the street, hunger and death."

Within hours of the devastating earthquake on the Caribbean island, the former Ceres woman was able to send a cell phone message to her family in California to let them know that she survived.

"We were all worried about her," said Rhoda.

At least one cousin has reported talking to Mary Chew by cell phone.

In 2007 Chew took a leave of absence from her position as a Bay Area social worker to work at the Christian Haitian Outreach orphanage which her parents started. During the last six to eight months Chew has been staying at the Youth With a Mission. Last Christmas she began a ministry to female prisoners and extended Christmas gifts to their children outside through the Angel Tree program.

Rhoda said her sister had jumped through all the hoops of the corrupt government.

"She paid thousands of dollars and then they would tell her to do one more thing and this much more money," said Chew.