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OC family reunited with adopted son from Haiti

January 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
After surviving last week's earthquake in Haiti, an orphaned child is at his new home in Costa Mesa.

Three-year-old Kembert arrived at Los Angeles International Airport Saturday afternoon to be with his new family, the Howertons. A crowd of friends and family watched as his new mother and three new siblings greeted him with hugs and kisses.

"I think he's definitely overwhelmed," said Jennifer Halliburton, a friend of Kambert's adoptive parents. "He knows Mark and Kristen as his parents, he's seen them about every other month.This is his new community. All of us here will be his friends and his family."

Within minutes, Kembert had a smile on his face thanks to some balloons.

It's been long week for this family. While visiting Kembert last week in Haiti, Kristen Howerton and her daughter were caught in the devastating earthquake. They were evacuated but had to leave Kembert behind. The nearly three-year process to adopt the orphaned child was put in jeopardy after the quake.

"The next day I saw a gal who had been at the office where our paperwork was at the time of the earthquake and it had been flattened," said Kristen Howerton. "My assumption was that this would potentially ruin the adoption process."

But after being granted a humanitarian parole, Kembert can finish his adoption at home. Now he and his siblings are finally going to bond.

For this Costa Mesa family it's a bittersweet reality, knowing there is still so much devastation in Haiti.

"It's a weird feeling to know that something good has happened from this tragedy," said Kristen. "We're going to go home and kind of sequester ourselves and work on bonding and helping him acclimate."