Editor’s note: This article was originally published September 11, 2013

Hundreds of Haitian orphans are desperately awaiting new homes – and countless Americans, including many right here in Central Texas, are eager to adopt them.

Seems like a problem with an easy solution, right? Well, the process isn’t as simple you might think.

In a 30-minute special airing at 7 p.m. Friday on KVUE, investigative reporter Andy Pierrotti and photojournalist Derek Rasor take viewers to Haiti, showing the shocking conditions children are forced to endure while waiting for adoptions to be completed.

The process can take years, Pierrotti said, due in large part to government red tape.

"It’s awful," he said. "These kids are stuck in orphanages, enduring third-world conditions, while the process drags on. Experiencing it first-person was eye-opening."

The cost of an adoption, on the low end, runs about $30,000, Pierrotti said, although some prospective parents have been known to pay as much as $100,000.

"I met one child who had been told by two different families that the process was taking too long and that they’d run out of money," he said. "It’s just heartbreaking."

The goal of the special, a follow-up to a report KVUE aired earlier this year, is to get lawmakers to implement changes at the U.S. State Department that would, hopefully, speed the adoption process, Pierrotti said.

"There are tons of complications right now," he said, "and the longer these kids wait, the more danger they’re in. I’m so glad we were able to do this."

When to watch‘KVUE Defenders: Children Left Behind’7 p.m. FridayKVUE, Channel 24 (Time Warner Cable Channel 3)