Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children

Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children
What could be better than an Ethiopian welcome, FOVC style?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

She's a big 'un

I had Amelia weighed today: Drum roll please---she gained ONE POUND, TWELVE OUNCES in the last month. She's up to 14 pounds, 4 ounces. All of her eating is starting to pay off!

Also, she had her second physical therapy session today. It's great, the physical therapist comes to our house and they have a big ol' play date together. She is already making progress. She rolls and rolls and rolls. She's a great sitter-upper (but working on soft landings and getting to sitting) and she's now a pre-crawler. The therapist says crawling is a really important developmental stage, so we want to be sure she crawls.

Amelia has made so, so, so much progress since she came home just three months ago. In a way, it's hard to believe that she still has some catching up to do. When she came home, her gross motors were probably like a 3 month old's. At this point, I think she's in the 7 to 8 month range. We know she'll catch up. As the physical therapist says, "She's a hard worker!"

Amelia thought it was awfully fun to read the paper with Dad the other morning. (Don't be fooled by the newspaper section she chose--we're not making her get a job!)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Lil Pumpkin in Photos

Our small group went to Longmont's Halloween Parade yesterday, followed by a trip to the pumpin patch. Here is the morning in pictures:

It was still chilly when we set out,
so Amelia was in full pumpkin regalia.
Taking it all in...
I love a parade!
Mom, can I have some candy? (No!)
With her junior babysitter, Lucy Weber...
The Howletts 5
Pumpkin patches are exhausting!
The end!

First Cabin in the Mountains

With Dad working all weekend, the Lady Howletts (plus friend Rebecca) joined the Peratt family at the YMCA's Snow Mountain Ranch over near Winter Park.

Here's the view from our deck. We love Colorado!
Breakfast time...
...where Amelia discovered the joy of pancakes!She's just hangin' out, enjoying the view.

A first

Amelia has a sippy cup!

The Cost of Beauty

Allison came home the other night, concerned about bushy eyebrows. She asked me to thin 'em out. I don't think she had ever considered that beauty could hurt!

(Note: She's laughing, not crying...that said, she does have quite a flair for the dramatic. I'm not sure where she gets it--ha!)

(Here is our outcome. Understated, non-bushy brows.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Woliso (Amelia's home town)

My heart has been yearning and hurting for Ethiopia this week.

Going through some of our paperwork today, I found a document that sheds a tiny bit of light on Amelia's first days. She was born (or at least, she was found) in a place called Woliso. Woliso is in a rural area about seventy-seven miles from Addis Ababa, the capitol city.

During our time in Ethiopia, we never left Addis Ababa. I looked around on the internet, and found some photos from Woliso, and also a YouTube video. I have to say, it really strikes me and haunts me, to see where Amelia would have lived (or even died), had her first mom not found a way to give her a chance.

Here are some of the pictures I found:

This would be a kitchen area. I recognize the various pans and the
coffee pots that are everywhere in Ethiopia

A beautiful, but primitive, hut on a hillside.

It looks like there are monkeys in Woliso!
Such a sweet little girl.
The countryside looks green and beautiful.
Another little girl (can you tell I'm a girl mom?)
This is the school.
A beautiful place.
Another sweet little girl (yep, I'm still a girl mom).
I think that is coffee on the donkey's back.
On the way to town...
I think this would be "in town."
Finally, here's the link to the YouTube video I found. It was made by members of a humanitarian relieft organization who visited Woliso. More than anything, for me, it provided images and insights into life in the place of Amelia's heritage.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A year ago this weekend...

....we told our small group that we were considering adopting from Ethiopia. We asked them to pray for God's guidance as we sought Him in making this decision.

One of our dear small group friends keeps a journal of our group's prayer requests. It was amazing last night, as he reminded each of us where we were just a year ago. I would have to say we have seen God in action among each of the families in our group over the past year. We saw a family sell a too-small house and move to a lovely family home (and it's a good thing, as they are now expecting their third baby!); another family has experienced the joy (and a few trials) of raising a teen-age daughter and a baby daughter; another family has experienced blessings at work, delightful daughters and the mom's move from part-time to full-time teaching; our own family has covered a lot of ground over the past twelve months, too....And all of this by God's provision and direction.

Thanks, Derek, for marking our moments!

I would like to share a bit about small groups. Our church is called Rocky Mountain Christian Church. It's a big church, and now we have two campuses. I work at the church as the small groups coordinator. We currently have about ninety groups, each with around twelve members. I have the privilege of training leaders and equipping groups, helping new leaders launch new groups, helping folks get connected in groups and more. Here's what our small groups are about:

"Small Groups are a safe place to grow
in relationship with God and others.
RMCC Small Groups 'do life' together through
fellowship, learning, prayer and caring."

My big love for small groups stems from a personal love for small groups...most love is pretty personal, huh? Here's a bit of history: Dave and I have been involved in small groups since we got married. But nearly fourteen years ago, God used small groups at Rocky Mountain Christian Church to change our lives forever. We were new to Colorado, having moved here for Dave to participate in his dream of working for a start-up. He was delighted with his transition from big company guy to start-up guy. On the other hand, I was miserable and lonely. We didn't know anyone here. I had had a good job in Kansas City, but elected not to continue with the company here in Colorado. I thought I would find an entirely new kind of job instead, but what I actually found was that I was pregnant.

Being pregnant was a delight, something we had been hoping for for over a year. But I knew I wanted to stay at home with our kiddo(s), so getting a job wasn't really a good option. I spent much of my days gestating alone and feeling lonely. We had visited several churches, but none of them seemed like "home."

I was so lonely and so afraid to have a baby with no friends and no family nearby. I began to pray that God would give us a "home" by the time our daughter was born. One Sunday, we were driving to another church, and we drove by Rocky Mountain. On the spur of the moment, we decided to pull in and give Rocky Mountain another try (we'd been there before and graded it a "no.")

Well, thank God for second chances. During that service, we met the people who would become our first small group leaders at Rocky Mountain Christian Church. Our lives began to change in every way. I had friends! We had a group of people who we knew, and who knew us. When I developed pregnancy complications, new friends brought us dinners for six weeks. When I was on bedrest, new friends would visit me, bring me books and magazines, pray with us....and just "do life" with us as we waited for our new baby. When I had surgery when Allison was a baby, a new friend came to our house and took care of me, so Baby Allison could be in her own home. Since that season almost fourteen years ago, we have moved to and from Colorado three different times. But we've always been so thrilled to come back to Longmont, and to our family of friends at RMCC.

About three years ago, when our "baby" (that would be Abby) went to first grade, and I found myself with too much time on my hands each day, I decided to return to school and get a master's in social work. No sooner had I applied and was accepted to the University of Denver's (super-expensive) program, did RMCC offer me a job in the small groups ministry.

It was pretty much a no-brainer. God, and all He does in and through small groups, is my heart. So I have had the joy and high calling (for which I am not worthy) to work in the ministry for a few years now. In this super-transient world, small groups are an amazing tool for helping people build community and grow in their faith.

I don't know where our family would be without our small group. Who else would keep our kids on a moment's notice? Or better yet, meet us on I-25 early in the morning to take some of our kids as we raced Amelia to Children's Hospital? Decorate our house as a "welcome home" to Amelia? Love us and pray with us and laugh with us and cry with us? Take us to Estes Park to watch the Fourth of July fireworks? Make time in busy, busy lives to be together each Friday night? Love our kids almost as much as we do?

We love you, dear groupies!

Friday, October 3, 2008

My alma mater...

...hosted the vice presidential debate last night. My time at Washington University is plenty of years ago and 800 miles away, so it was fun to see various shots of good ol' Wash U.

Life has turned out to be very, very different than I ever would have anticipated. For example, I always assumed I would give birth to a few kiddos. God turned that assumption upside down. It has been our joy to give birth to Allison, to adopt Abby at birth in such an incredible and miraculous way, and to go around the world to bring Amelia into our family.

We have had our share of difficulties--many that I wouldn't recommend--but I wouldn't change things. God has used joy and sorrow and loss and redemption to begin to make of me the woman He has in mind. He has truly brought me out of captivity, may I always praise Him.

When the Lord brought back the captives to Zion,
we were like men who dreamed.
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.
Psalm 126:1-3

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Amelia just gets better every day! Last week, her little trick was to blow raspberries--by the bucket-full--at anyone within striking distance. (I trailed along behind and passed out wipes to the, er, victims.) This week, her little trick is to pant like a puppy when she gets excited. It's really cute! The big sisters question her loyalty because she's not making kitten noises.

Amelia had a well-baby check yesterday, along with round two of shots. People say she looks really tall, but she has only grown one inch in length....she's a whopping 25 inches long now. She gained eight more ounces, too. She weighs in at 12 pounds, 13 ounces. If the doctor measured hair, he would be happy to report that she's finally starting to get some!