The Howerton Family

When I first heard about the earthquake in Haiti my heart ached for the people there.  Maybe it was because I knew they were already a poor and impoverished country that did not have the resources to help themselves after such a major disaster.  Maybe it was because of my huge earthquake phobia.  Maybe it was because of the poor people there who expect hurricanes on a regular basis, but could never see this coming.  Maybe it was all of those reasons combined.  I just couldn’t stop thinking about the people of Haiti.

Then, I read Julie’s blog about her friend Kristen.  Kristen was in Haiti visiting their son, Kembe, who they had been trying to adopt for nearly 3 years when the earthquake hit.  Not only that, but she was there with her 9 month old baby girl.  I was so scared for her and her kids.  Totally scared for this perfect stranger.  I checked her blog and twitter for regular updates until I saw that she and her daughter made it safely home later that week.  But, they had to leave Kembe there.  Can you imagine?  I’m sure it was hard enough to leave him there every time they visited.  But, to leave him in a country that was in ruins?  I’m sure that was the hardest thing Kristen has ever had to do.

But, this story has a very happy ending.  Because of the earthquake Kembe’s adoption was rushed and he was able to join their family in the US on January 23.  Amazing that it had to take such a huge disaster to get this kid home to his family where he belongs.

I don’t think I will be able to articulate how amazing I think Kristen and Mark are.  I only spent a little over an hour with them, but I feel like I know Kristen after reading so much of her blog (Which is amazing by the way.  Get ready to spend several hours going back through all of the archives).  What I admire so much about them is that they didn’t choose to take the easy road.  They have fought hard for all of their children, whether they were “homegrown” or adopted.  But, they don’t see what they are doing as anything out of the ordinary.  They merely believe that what every child deserves is a parent who loves them.  They don’t see black and they don’t see white.  They see their children.  Don’t you wish the rest of the world could be like that?

Thank you Howerton family for spending your afternoon with me and letting me capture this very special time in your lives!  Here’s your slideshow!

PS  A HUGE thank you to Julie who made these signs for the shoot.  She saved me from making horrible and ugly signs and came up with these in less than 24 hours.  Julie, you are amazing!

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Jafta is 5 and he loves The Beatles!  I think he is very happy to have his brother home so he has someone to play with!

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India is 3 and is a total girly girl.  What’s crazy is that India and Kembe have the same exact birthday.  They are both 3.  How cool is that?

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Kembe loves to run and be a boy!  He has a ton of energy!  And he is so very, very HAPPY!

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Karis is 10 months old.  Kristen told me she likes to put things in her mouth.  Yep.  She was right.  Grass.  Sticks.  Leaves.  All in Karis’ mouth :)

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40 Responses to The Howerton Family

  1. Caroline says:

    wow. Drew your compassion and generosity is so inspiring. You captured this family so well and they deserve these moments saved for a lifetime. Thank you for doing this and for continually ‘wowing’ me!

  2. megan welker says:

    SO touching! you really captured the love in this family! amazing job drew…they will truly treasure this moment forever :)

  3. Kristen says:

    What a gift, Drew! These pictures are amazing, and capture such a special time for our family. LOVE IT!!! I will always cherish these.

  4. Julie Carson says:

    The picture of Mark holding Kembe.
    That is what it is all about.
    He is home.
    He is safe.
    He is loved.

    Beautiful Drew. So beautiful.

    Thank you so much for capturing this season in their lives.

    For documenting their family. The goodness that came out of tragedy.

    The love.

    I’m undone.

  5. Becca says:

    When I saw your sneak peek yesterday I was excited cause I thought it was them . . . what a beautiful family and a beautiful story!! :-)

  6. Briony says:

    what a beautiful family. thank you for sharing their story, these images are gorgeous :) just like the people in them.

  7. Julie says:

    What a beautiful family!

  8. Amy C says:

    These are fabulous!!! What a great family. I agree with Julie!! sniff, sniff!!

  9. jenn king says:

    i am totally in tears over this amazing story and photos. i was adopted and so were the other 9 kids in my family! it is so meant to be! i definitely plan to adopt too.

  10. Sarah Craig says:

    Drew, you did SUCH a beautiful job with this family! Of course, it helps that they all look like professional models! ;) Through reading your blog, I found Julie’s blog, & have been stalking hers for many months now. When she posted about this sweet family right after the earthquake, I went & indeed, spent HOURS reading their blog (and crying. oh, the crying). Anyway, it made me SO HAPPY to see your beautiful pictures of them here today! Your work is always so gorgeous & inspiring. Keep it up, girl! Thanks for sharing it with us!

  11. Maggie says:

    Truly amazing Drew. Both this family’s story and your portraits of them! Life captured beautifully!

  12. Catharine says:

    I had read of this story and found the blog, so fun to see them all together.

  13. Jason says:

    Ummmm…. Drew…. YOU ARE OUT OF CONTROL!!!! I have never, and I mean NEVER cried like I have looking at these photos. You captured something SO special. Wow Drew… Wow.

    Best. Photographer. Ever.
    Ladies and Gentleman… Mrs. DrewB!!!

  14. Kevyn says:

    Hi Drew-

    This story and these photos are truly inspirational. I admire the way you use your work for the good of others. Thanks for sharing. God Bless.


  15. annie says:

    What a beautiful set of pictures. You are so great at capturing expressions and love.

  16. Daryn says:

    What a gorgeous family…and absolutely beautiful pictures!! Drew, you captured the true joy of an amazing family — I don’t know how you do it, but I’m completely envious of your talent. SO. AWESOME.

  17. Jess says:

    I, too, have been following their amazing journey through blogging. These images are the perfect icing on the cake!

  18. Kimmie says:

    Also a HUGE Howerton fan. Julie knows how to pick ‘em! :) The photo of India and Jafta holding the sign makes me want to curl up into a fetal position and cry my eyes out. ALL YOU do NEED IS LOVE! And yes, yes, yes, I do wish that everyone in the world could be like them. I sent emails and made phone calls on their behalf when Julie posted about it all- for complete strangers. For HAPPY, BEAUTIFUL, strangers. <3 These photos capture true beauty, Drew.

  19. Bobbie Brown says:

    Wow! There is no way I could pick a favorite, they are all so amazing, so REAL and full of love. I do however adore the ones of the kids by themselves… each of them feels so crisp, like I could just step right into the picture! Drew, this shoot is def up there on my list of favorites of yours! Awesome, awesome, awesome!

  20. Jasmine* says:

    LOLOVELOVLEOVELOVEL LOVE this shoot!!! great job, drew!!

  21. Alicia says:

    love this shoot! recently found her blog and love it. These pictures capture the love so well!

  22. Megan Beth says:

    It’s so amazing to see that he made it ‘home’ finally! I had followed her blog for a while, but lost it when I got really busy. As soon as I saw the picture with his adorable little hair, I was elated. Amazing shoot drew, you can feel the love ooz from the images.

  23. Karlee says:

    Wow! What an amazing story! There are such great people out there. You are so lucky to have photographed them Drew! And your pictures, as always, are AMAZING!

  24. Cat Watson says:

    What an amazing story, thanks for sharing:) Another reminder that I have MUCH to be grateful for. I love number four from the bottom, with Kembe and his dad, that is just precious, you can see how happy Dad is to be able to hug his boy.

  25. Tracy Blake says:

    Absolutely beautiful. My favorite session you have ever done. What an amazing family. Thanks for sharing.

  26. Beautiful images, Drew. To go along with a truly inspiring story. I have been reading your blog for a while, and just wanted to comment on how amazing your family portraits are, especially this one. Amazing work!

  27. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. I think these are some of my favorite images you have done – so full of love and warmth.

  28. Sandy says:

    I was so happy to hear that this story had a happy ending, I’m glad that Kembe is safe and sound with his new family! You’ve really captured the spirit of this family so well from the All You Need Is Love and Imagine signs to the joy that shines through their smiles. I love how you took individual portraits of each of the kids b/c each individual is important within a family! My favorite photos are the ones of the two boys jumping around on the white couch (it doesn’t even look dirty) and the one with Jafta and India holding the All You Need is Love sign together! The light is also truly ethereal! You did a really great job capturing this family Drew!

  29. Kristen says:

    I love these pictures so much. I come by and peek at them several times a day!

  30. Rebecca says:

    I’ve been following along with the Howertons too. They are amazing!

  31. Trista says:

    Love this post!!! So special that you got to capture such a special family!!!

  32. Bj Hickman says:

    Holy wow…these are amazing. Would love to have you do our family’s next photos.

    Can’t believe how big Jafta’s getting, and Kembert is so precious!!

  33. piper says:

    like candy for the soul.. i love these pictures so much for so many reasons… the photos truly capture
    the love that has carried this beautiful family..

  34. Ki says:

    almost every single one of those photos brought a tear to my eye!!! So beautiful!

  35. Sharon says:

    Hi Drew,
    I am Kristen’s mom. Thank you, thank you, thank you for capturing my family on film in such an amazing manner.
    I’ve always known Kristen’s family was photogenic .(she is quite the photographer at home!) . . but your photos have gone SO far beyond that. I sat with my hand over my gaping mouth as I looked at these photos and fought tears. Are my grandkids really that beautiful?? Is Kristen’s family as amazing as they look? Has Jafta really grown that much since I saw hiim in July? Is Karis getting that big since I saw her in January? Where did Kembe get those mesmerizing eyes? How did this person named Drew get so much love and life iin every photo? And most importantly: Why doesn’t everyone practice that Love that is all we need.
    Thank you, Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Kristen, Mark, and their kids are so special to our family. Thank you for showing how special they are to the rest of the world.
    PS: How can I order some photos???

  36. Kelly says:

    I am in complete awe of this post… of your words, of this family, of these images. I’m blown away at everything. These images are fantastic, and show a full representation of the love that this family has for one another. Amazing work, as usual!

  37. ~love says:

    love this so much.

    they are beautiful.

    our 1 year olds are “incidental” twins, too & i just LOVE it!!

    thanks for sharing this family!

  38. Amanda says:

    I was just watching the view on hulu and saw this family, the first thing that I said was “thats Drew B’s pictures!” I love you work it always makes me want to grab my camera and jump out there, keep up the good work :)

  39. Pingback: The Howerton Family | Grey Likes Baby

  40. Shannon Gray says:

    Amazing photos and story! They seem like an awesome family!

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