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HMCS Halifax Petty Officer Andy Cotterill plays with Felicity, 2, at the Faith and Love in Action Orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti. Cotterill met the young girl at an orphanage the crew of the Halifax was working at in Jacmel following the earthquake. He fell in love with the little girl and wants to adopt her. (Deborah Baic/Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)
HMCS Halifax Petty Officer Andy Cotterill plays with Felicity, 2, at the Faith and Love in Action Orphanage in Jacmel, Haiti. Cotterill met the young girl at an orphanage the crew of the Halifax was working at in Jacmel following the earthquake. He fell in love with the little girl and wants to adopt her. (Deborah Baic/Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)

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Felicity goes home Add to ...

It has been almost two weeks since HMCS Halifax sailed out of Jacmel's tiny harbour for the last time, en route to the Bahamas for a well-deserved break before docking in Canada.

Before the ship reached Halifax though, Petty Officer Andy Cotterill - the sailor we featured a few weeks ago for his plans to adopt Felicity, a Haitian orphan - received some bad news … or good news, depending on how you look at it.

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"I received an e-mail last night from … the lady in charge of the orphanage, who told me that Felicity was taken from the orphanage two days ago to be reunited with her mother in the Dominican Republic," he wrote to me in an e-mail.

"I'm a little sad that things didn't turn out the way that I envisioned, but truthfully I'm very happy that Felicity has a mother who obviously cares for her and loves her," he said.

A few weeks back when I accompanied PO Cotterill to the orphanage, which is called Faith and Love in Action, he had already learned Felicity might have living family members. At the time, orphanage staffers were still working to figure out who they were and where they might be.

Today, administrator Stephana Cine told me that the man who dropped Felicity off at the orphanage following the earthquake was her godfather and uncle. He left her there, Stephana explained, because the little girl had been separated from her mother in the aftermath of the disaster in Port-au-Prince. In the ensuing weeks, the man was able to track down and reunite Felicity's mother and father, who lives in the Dominican Republic. Then he returned to the orphanage for Felicity with an aim to reunite the entire family.

Here, it's rare to see such happy endings, Ms. Cine said.

As for P.O. Cotterill, he told us from the outset that he knew Felicity might not ever make it to Canada. He hopes some good will come of his efforts to adopt her though.

"I hope that perhaps it broached the subject of adopting a Haitian child in some Canadian families," he said.

Photo: PO Andy Cotterill with Felicity at the Faith and Love in Action Orphanage. (Deborah Baic/The Globe and Mail)

Project Jacmel: Visit the main project page with stories, video, maps, photo galleries and more.

 

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