Kaylin Churchill clasped her hands and waited anxiously at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport on Wednesday night to greet her parents and her two younger siblings, newly adopted children from Haiti.
"My heart's beating really hard right now, I'm just emotional," she said before her family members arrived.
Minutes later, Robin and Beth Churchill, from Lower Sackville, N.S., descended to the arrivals area with eight-year-old Peterson and four-year-old Gaelle. Robin Churchill held Peterson's hand, while Gaelle sat in Beth Churchill's arms.
"Hi Peterson, how are you?" said Kaylin, while the siblings hugged.
The journey is over for the Churchills, who had been waiting three and a half years to adopt the children. Peterson and Gaelle were among 52 Haitian children who had boarded an Ottawa-bound flight from Port-au-Prince on Wednesday morning.
Moments before he boarded the flight, Peterson was asked what he was looking forward to most in Canada.
"My mom and dad," he said with a smile.
On Wednesday night, Robin Churchill said he was tired, but relieved.
"It's just a huge relief just to see them and to see that they're safe and that they're here, there's really no words to describe how we're feeling," he said. "Frankly, it's been such a long wait as far as the three and a half years go, that this is just incredible."
The children were living in an orphanage when the earthquake struck Haiti on Jan. 12. The orphanage was not damaged.
Churchill said every aftershock affected the people living there.
"They would get scared and the nannies would get scared and they would end up spending a night outside or the nannies themselves would be terrified to even go back into the building," he said.
"The kids are safe and that's what it's all about right now."
Arrival in Canada
The plane carrying Peterson and Gaelle — the second such flight — arrived at Ottawa International Airport earlier on Wednesday with Immigration Canada officials and a medical team aboard.
The children emerged from the plane wearing tuques and hooded jackets. They were then wrapped in blankets and carried across the tarmac to the terminal.
The Churchills had travelled to Ottawa on Sunday night — with warm clothing in tow. They went to the airport early on Wednesday to meet other families adopting children.
Robin Churchill said he learned a lot from his talks with a family from Alberta on Tuesday night. That couple had already adopted two children from Haiti and was awaiting a third.
"It was nice to kind of meet up with them and talk about their experience," he said.
The federal government fast-tracked adoptions that were in the works before the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake.
Kent said Canadian Embassy staff in Haiti continue to find and identify all the children who have been cleared for adoption by the Haitian government and by provincial adoption authorities.
On Sunday, federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said that about 90 children had been approved by Haitian authorities to move to Canada.