MIAMI (CBS4) ― One of the most heartbreaking stories from the devastation in Haiti is the children. Nearly 80 orphans from Haiti arrived in South Florida to meet their adoptive parents for the very first time.
From the chaos of Haiti to the comforting embrace of loved ones, they arrived at Miami International Airport Friday morning to meet the families who have opened up their hearts and their homes. They are from 'God's Littlest Angels', a Christian orphanage outside of Port-au-Prince, which stood through the earthquake.
"Here's my son, right here, he's great," said one proud adoptive father.
These adoptive parents, from all over the country, have waited years in some cases, for this moment and thought it was lost when the earthquake struck.
Tim and Annette Franklin from Vermont are adopting 2-year-old Gedeleine.
"It's amazing. It's an amazing moment," said an emotional Tim Franklin to CBS4's Michael Williams. "We wondered a week ago if this moment would ever come. Now it's here, it's awesome."
Kevin Downes is a California film producer. He and his wife were touched by the plight of Haitian children through a documentary he's working on. Now 21-month old Benicio is an orphan no more.
"It's overwhelming, it's exhausting, it's tiring, it's a long journey but more than anything we're just thankful," said Downes.
The last leg of a long journey included 7 hours of immigration and customs paperwork before happy reunions at the airport early Friday.
Jennifer Ebenhack and her husband, missionaries living in Haiti, have a son and daughter and are adopting three Haitian children who have lived with them for years
"Only God can make something miraculous out of such a horrible nightmare," said Ebenhack.
Her adopted son Justin couldn't be happier to be here.
"I'm very excited because now I get to come here with all of them and see all of my relatives, and I get to see my great grandmother and great grandfather who are too old to see us," exclaimed Justin.
While the earthquake twisted steel and shattered the country, the human spirit has endured. Every reunion that took place this day, and will take place in the future, is testimony to that strength.
"Our hearts break for everyone still in the country, but we're glad that she's here and that she has the opportunity for a future that she didn't have," said Gedeleine's new dad, Tim.
Of the 80 children who arrived Friday, 58 came to the U.S. through the Bethany Christian Services, one of the largest adoption agencies in the country. Right after the earthquake, Bethany worked with its Haitian counterpart God's Littlest Angles to receive clearance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
"All of these children escaped from this tragedy unharmed, but it is important to remember that there are millions of others who still remain in Haiti," said Pam Harrington, director of international adoption services for Bethany.
If you're interested in adopting an orphan from Haiti, click here to get more information from the Bethany Christian Services web site.
To watch the video click here: video of Benicio