Thanks for the adventure so far!
Happy Anniversary--I love you!
(I think we "get" Amelia when we arrive in Addis on July 20!)
Some adopting families are working with a charity in Addis Ababa called Children's Heaven (http://www.childrensheaven.org/). I cannot ask or encourage you enough--please, please visit this website! The woman who heads up this ministry is named Hanna Fanta. She has agreed to meet us and take us to the BIG market in Addis Ababa. (What a treat, to be able to go there with someone who knows her way around!)Some Colorado families who have adopted from Ethiopia are organizing a benefit for Children's Heaven. So in addition to shopping for gifts and mementos at the market, we'll choose items that will be auctioned at the benefit this fall.
We will also be able to spend time at the home for girls that Children's Heaven operates while we are in Addis. There are forty-one orphaned girls, ages nine to seventeen, in Hanna's care. If you are able to send donations for these girls, here is the list of items they most need that I received from Hanna:
Used lap tops
English and Math Tutorial CDs/Books
Piano/Guitar Tutorial CDs/Books
Movies (dvd--educational / Christian / family-friendly)
English Songs (Christian preferred)
Posters (Christian preferred)
The orphanages we will visit are called Sele Enat and Hope for the Abandoned. The items most urgently needed there are:
rubber pants (worn with cloth diapers)
over-the-counter medicines of all kinds
Finally, here's a bit of fun:
We found some sassy brown-skinned dolls today. They were inexpensive, and hopefully Allison and Abby will meet some little girls who might like them.
There is so much to do before we leave in just 16 days! If you would like to send any of the items that are needed for the children we will meet, please let us know. We would be honored to carry them over.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy.
Wonderful people came by throughout the morning....and their change...added up to $202.51. That's a lot of change!
Thank you, Brothers and Sisters! Thank you, God!
Here are a couple of pictures of the kids at work this morning:
We can't recommend this book enough. It's a well-written, amazing read. We hope you'll claim your free copy! :-)
Until you can get a copy of the book, or if you don't live nearby, check out the author's website here--http://www.thereisnomewithoutyou.com/.
The girls collected around $15. Some friends from church shared their change as well. We're on our way to Allison's goal!
Imagine the girls' delight when I came home with the new van. (I'm the resident car wrangler around here.) They immediately raced in the house and grabbed the first DVD they could put their hands on. It happened to be "Akeelah and the Bee," a sweet little movie about perseverance and courage.
Now, imagine their dismay when we couldn't get the DVD to work.
Fast forward several hours. Mom has spent this time poring over the (thick and complicated) owner's manual for the new van. Mom, Dad and the girls are now sitting in the van, in the driveway, trying to figure out the complicated technology of the Rear Entertainment System. Question: How many master's degrees does it take to turn on a DVD player? Answer: Apparently more than two, because we couldn't figure it out.
I took the van back to Boulder the following week, where the problem was easily solved by tightening a fuse.
Fast forward again. We are again all sitting in the van, in the driveway, eagerly anticipating the thrill of watching "Akeelah and the Bee" in the car. Surprise! The problem wasn't solved after all. It still didn't work.
Back we went to the Honda dealer. Imagine this time, Lory, Allison, Abby and three or four Honda service guys ALL sitting in the van, in the service bay, pushing buttons, checking headphones and speakers, loading and re-loading "Akeelah and the Bee" and feverishly reading the owner's manual. For over an hour. It felt like car pool day! Finally, the guys in the service department asked if we could bring the van back in and leave it for a day. (They're all pretty young--I imagine they were having terrifying flashbacks about their moms and mini-vans and their own carpools.)
So Dave dropped the van off at the dealership on Wednesday morning. Later that day, Jason in the service department called to see if we would take a rental while they kept working on the system. It seems the whole thing was dismantled and laying in the van, while they waited for an overnighted part. Sure, no problem. I would love to drive a Chevy Malibu (insert grimace here).
The next day was Thursday. Chevy Malibu: day two. Dealer installed the overnighted part. The system still didn't work. Dealer replaced the DVD player. No go. Replaced the entire unit. Still no good. Dealer started working through the wiring system.
(I think the disassembly looked something like this...)
Yesterday was Friday. By now, we're really missing the van. (The only people who own mini-vans are people who need mini-vans. So, it makes more sense than one might think for a family to miss a mini-van.) It's day three for the Malibu.
I checked in with Jason in the service department. Turns out some of the guys had worked on the problem for several more hours. After many Howlett man/woman/girl hours in the driveway with the owner's manual, three trips to the dealer, uncounted service man hours in the service bay at the dealership, overnighted parts, whole system replacement, re-wiring re-works and three days with a Chevy Malibu......someone at the dealer thought perhaps they should check the DVD. Turns out, we would have never been able to watch "Akeelah and the Bee" from the comfort of our own mini-van. Because "Akeelah and the Bee" didn't work--we had a bad DVD.
We received this message from our adoption agency this morning:
The Court date for Ayitu on Wednesday June 4th was postponed due to power outages at the Ministry. As a result the ministry could not give their opinion on her case yesterday. Hopefully Ayitus case will be rescheduled for today or tomorrow; it may however be next week.
(By the way, they call her "Ayitu." We will call her "Amelia Ayitu.")
So, darn. The waiting continues. We have given birth to a kiddo, domestically adopted a kiddo, lost several babies during pregnancy....but none of these experiences has prepared us for the roller coaster of international adoption. (Even as I complain about the waiting, I realize our journey to Ethiopia has been amazingly fast and smooth.)
So here is a good Scripture for today, from The Message paraphrase:
Why are you in the dumps, dear soul? Why are you crying the blues? Fix my eyes on God--soon I'll be praising Him. He puts a smile on my face. He's my God. (Psalm 42:5)
Dave, not unreasonably, requested some time to pray and think....without input or prompting from me. (Who, me? Pushy?) Imagine my surprise when he called me from an airport just a few days later. I could tell by his voice that something serious had happened. In fact, I thought something was really wrong. Turns out, he had come upon an article about U2's Bono--one of Dave's heroes of the faith--and how God used Ethiopia to break Bono's heart for Africa. After reading the article, Dave was shaken and humbled to realize that we "Howletts Four" were about to become the "Howletts Five."
"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." (James 1:27)