updated 12/1/2010 7:26:35 PM ET 2010-12-02T00:26:35

The way has been cleared for U.S. families to adopt 12 Haitian children who've been living at a Roman Catholic institution near Pittsburgh.

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The development comes after months of uncertainty since a chaotic airlift that followed the devastating earthquake in January.

The State Department said Wednesday that the Haitian government had sent a letter formally approving the adoptions — and the children will be matched with U.S. families over the coming months.

Unlike some 1,100 other children flown out of Haiti to the U.S. after the quake, the young people at the Holy Family Institute in Emsworth, Pennsylvania, were not part of the adoption process prior to the disaster. Most of them had birth parents still living.

However, those parents have formally relinquished custody of the children.

Story: Reunited: Desperate dad rescues Haitian kids

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