Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children

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

Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Eat for Ethiopia" made the newspaper!

Here is the text and the link--and one of the pictures--from the Longmont Times-Call newspaper today. We are really proud of Allison and her friends at Westview!

Eats for Ethiopia: Family’s trips to Africa inspire fundraiser

LONGMONT — The Howlett family’s first visit to Ethiopia lasted eight days.

But it was enough.

“It just gets in your heart,” said Lory Howlett, who made the trip in July 2008 with her husband, Dave, and the couple’s two daughters. “We were there for eight days, but it may as well have been eight weeks.”

That summer, the Howletts traveled to a small orphanage in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa to adopt Amelia, a premature and malnourished infant.

Allison Howlett, the couple’s eldest daughter, said the trip in 2008 “really opened my eyes.”

“It never occurred to me that people could live like that,” said Allison, an eighth-grader at Westview Middle School in Longmont. “Just seeing all the need there made me want to do something.”

With support from the school and her family, Allison organized “Westview Eats for Ethiopia,” a fundraiser at Longmont’s Chick-fil-A. The restaurant will donate 20 percent of its proceeds from 4 to 8 p.m. Jan. 12 to the Howletts, who will use the money to buy food in Ethiopia for the orphans during their upcoming trip to the country.

Lory and Dave Howlett will return to the African country at the end of January to bring home another Ethiopian orphan, a 4-year-old boy named Bereket.

“They say he’s quite the sportsman,” Dave said, beaming with fatherly pride.

The couple plan to stay in the country for two weeks and volunteer with Children’s Heaven, a program that supports orphaned girls whose parents have died from AIDS. Dave, who has a background in marketing research, hopes to help a start-up nonprofit in the southern part of the country implement economic development programs for widows and orphans.

The decision to adopt — once again — was unanimous, the couple said. After several miscarriages, they adopted Abby, their 11-year-old daughter, after the infant was born to a teenager in Kansas City, Mo. Amelia, who is now nearly 2 years old, is a happy, bubbly toddler. So why not expand the family one more time?

“We’re either crazy or stupid or something like that,” said Lory, 42, with a chuckle.

“We take big risks in our lives,” clarified Dave, 49.

Allison said her blended family has shaped her plans for the future. She hopes to become a nurse and practice medicine in Ethiopia.

For Lory Howlett, her daughter’s global perspective is an emotional topic.

“It’s all I could hope for,” she said as she stifled back tears. “We wish we wouldn’t have been in our 40s when we figured it out.”

Clockwise from top left: Allison Howlett, 14; Mackinley Kath, 13; Ruth McGaughey, 13; Victoria Kline, 13; and Morgan Deegan, 14, create posters for “Westview Eats for Ethiopia,” a fundraiser that will provide food for orphaned children in Ethiopia, at the Howlett home Monday in Longmont. On Jan. 12, Chick-fil-A will donate 20 percent of sales from 4 to 8 p.m. to the cause.

Monday, December 21, 2009

6:30 a.m.

It's when we left the house this morning in order to be "first in line" for our fingerprints at USCIS....finally!

The early departure worked: we were in and out in just a few minutes!

So....we're praying USCIS will move quickly, so we can travel for IAN's January 27 Embassy date.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Oooooh, she's very busy

It just doesn't pay....

 take my eyes off her for a minute!

(And no, I don't know what's up with the obsession
with trying to get her pants off.)

(And yes, she must be almost two years old...
'cause she has perfected the "two-year-old-cheesy-grin.")

Friday, December 11, 2009

He's a-growin' and I'm a-frustrated

We received an update on Little Boy B. today.

He has grown almost two and a half inches taller since he came into care less than four months ago!

His weight is about the same, but I'm sure it's because his little body is working on growing UP these days.

I'm so proud of him!

We still haven't even received a fingerprint notice from USCIS. Grrrrrrrr. I am so mad at them! Our agency has even contacted the Denver office, but there has been no response.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Sweet Note

We got a note from the traveling mama--the one who delivered the little story book to Little Boy B.

Here's what she said:

I want to say that it is absolutely beautiful that I gave B. his wonderful album from you and he saw pictures of his family on his birthday! He is so sweet and cute and I have some great pictures for you. I showed him the book and the nannies even explained that he would be living near Abe (the traveling family's same-age son / buddy of our boy). He was so funny with it - he didn't really seem to want to listen to me - he really just wanted to have the album to himself. He was really happy and he has the most adorable smile.

Awwwww! We knew it was his birthday. We didn't have any idea that it would be celebrated with Little Boy B. at Sele Enat. It makes us imagine celebrating his five year-old birthday together next year.

Got his bedroom painted's starting to come together! (Now, if only U.S. Immigration would get moving, too...)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Yesterday was Little Boy B's birthday. He turned four years old. We prayed for him and missed him!

It's crazy....we have thought about him so much since early September. I wonder if he even knows yet that we exist, that we're coming for him?

I made a little story book for him--photo of a jet, photo of Mommy and Daddy, photo of him waving, told him we would be in Ethiopia together for a few days, another photo of a jet, photos of his sisters, and Daddy playing, and Mommy cuddling, and our doggy and our park, another photo of him, and one of our current family all together. I decorated the whole thing with looked sweet. Sweet enough to make Big Sis Allison cry a little!

A family traveled Saturday morning with Little Boy B.'s book. The mom promised to read it to him. So, any day now, he will know we are here, and he will begin to understand we are coming.

I am awestruck at the way God makes families.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Advent Conspiracy, that is!

Please share with us if you are spending less this year. What are you doing instead? In our family, we are spending much, much less.

Instead, we want to Worship Fully. Spend Less. Give More. Love All.

What about you?

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Divine Appointment with Andreas Widmer (a post by Dave)

Last summer, I devoured an excellent book on economic development in developing countries. The book was In The River They Swim (and if you haven't read it, I highly recommend it). I was particularly impacted by selected chapters written by Andreas Widmer. Andreas is a successful entrepreneur and businessman who is now running the Seven Fund. Despite his business successes, Andreas is often more noted for his duty as body guard to the Pope, which was an experience that helped to shape his strong faith and values today.

Last Tuesday, I had the honor of sharing breakfast with Andreas while I was in Boston. Andreas' faith and vision are contagious. I was delighted to find that I had much in common with him (sans serving as a body guard to the Pope, of course). As many of you know, I have struggled recently with a growing desire to apply my business experience and skills to help develop scalable business opportunities in Africa. For a few moments, I was able to live vicariously through Andreas' charisma and his recounting of encounters with African business people who are building sustainable and scalable business models despite little or no access to capital. He also shared about his program, Pioneers of Prosperity, which seeks to fill the gap that exists in developing economies between microfinancing (e.g., and traditional bank financing.
Microfinance is a good vehicle to help lift those in extreme poverty (i.e., people who can't afford to feed themselves or their families) up to subsistence poverty (i.e., they can afford a means to eat and barely survive). Traditional bank financing is viable for multi-national corporations wishing to expand into developing economies, but traditonal bank financing isn't available to small and medium-size businesses wishing to start-up and grow. In developing countries, there is little to no access to venture financing, so local entrepreneurs can't access capital to build and grow sustainable and scalable businesses. 

Think about it: Over 90% of businesses in the United States are small and medium-size businesses, and they employ over 70% of the workers. In the United States, small and medium-size businesses are the growth engine of our economy. Yet, in most developing nations, the share of small to medium-size businesses as a percent of total businesses is in the single digits, if that. In other words, these developing economies don't have the engine that powers economic growth.  Andreas is working feverishly to develop solutions to problems like this. This is something I aspire to do as well.

I have no idea where it may lead, but this was one of those encounters that I cannot deny was orchestrated by God.

God has blessed me with few encounters in life as rich as this one and I look forward to how He might use it in the future. If nothing else, God connected me to a devout follower and brother in Christ who inspired me to make the best use of the time, talent and treasure God has given me. I pray that I will get the opportunity to use these gifts in service to the people of Africa.

Andreas, thank you again for your time and I look forward to what God has in store for both our futures.  God bless you!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


We passed court! All thanks to God---and everyone He works through to make these miracles called adoptions happen.

It appears we will be offered an Embassy date of January 13. Because we will do some traveling in-country before our court date, we would leave the first week of January.

The next prayer need is for USCIS (United State Citizenship and Immigration Service) to move on our paperwork! We haven't even received our fingerprint appointment yet.

If we don't have Bereket's immigration paperwork in time, then our Embassy date would be January 27, which means we would leave around the 20th.

We are rejoicing today!!!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009



Ours and Bereket's court appointment in Ethiopia will happen as we sleep tonight.

Hopefully, we will hear sometime tomorrow whether or not we passed.

Will you join us in praying that we will pass on this first try?

It is becoming really, really real that we are going to have a little boy!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

What Allison Told....

...our adoption social worker, when she asked how fourteen year-old Allison feels about bringing another little one into our family:

"You see, we have made this discovery in our family. We have figured out that love multiplies."

Friday, November 13, 2009

One Week and EEEEEKKKKK!

In one week we will know whether or not we passed court in Ethiopia. Yikes! Two families from our agency--both returning adopters who are bringing non-babies home, like us--passed court yesterday. Yea!

In other terrifying news, Abby was suprised to meet a mouse out in our garage pantry this morning. (She says it was big and she says it was a rat....but I just can't go there.)

Apparently it was on a shelf and it SQUEAKED at her when she saw it. Abby's typically a steady-as-she-goes kinda gal; I don't think I've ever seen her move so fast as she did when she streaked back into the house. Poor Abs!

Alas, Dave is still out of town. And I'm not going to the garage to deal with it. EEEEEKKK, you know. So, the ol'minivan is parked safely outside, in the driveway, until Dave comes home and saves us. In the meantime, I have done my part by thoroughly vacumming every shelf in our real kitchen, lest any kitchen crumbs entice Mr./Ms. Mouse out of the garage and into the house. EWWWWW!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Next week...

...we can say our court date is "this week!"

(It's only 10 days away now!)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Everyone Loves a Parade (Especially Pink Poodles!!)

Allison's middle school band marched with Longmont High in the Halloween Parade Saturday.What follows is a pictorial for your viewing pleasure:

Here is a super-cute pink poodle, with some people cleverly disguised as middle-aged suburbanites.

This is so super-fun!

Even better, mayhaps, than a parade? Discovering donut holes!

I love me these donut holes!

Are those fleas on the pink poodle? Nah, it's only donut hole sprinkles.

Abs and the Morganizer take a coffee break!

I love hangin' out with the big girls!

I'm experiencing a bit of stimulation/donut hole overload here!

Here comes a cute little kitty...I mean, my sissy!

There goes my sissy!

I love my sissies!

But this parade stuff wears a poodle out!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Allison!

Our oldest daughter, Allison, turned 14 today.

I know parents say it all the time, but....where did the years go?

In a nod to her wonderful-ness, Allison used her own money to buy flowers for ME today.

My kids are the best gifts ever!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

But Still, I Am One

Please take four minutes and forty-seven seconds to watch this video.

Lots of people are asking, "What can we do? How can we help?" This video has inspired average people, just like us, to think about how to help. We think about Amelia, and Little Boy B., and it's impossible to comprehend it could be OUR CHILDREN who are starving. Our children are safe. But many, many more children, children whose parents love them as we love our kids, are starving.

A highly-regarded international aid organization, Doctors Without Borders (aka Medecins Sans Frontieres) currently has a matching gift program that will double any donation...$10, $25 or more.

Doctors Without Borders / Medecins Sans Frontieres has been distributing a highly nutritious food product called Plumpy Nut (click here to read a 10-8-2009 article from Foreign Policy magazine or click here to read a 60 Minutes story about Plumpy Nut.)

To make a donation to Doctors Without Border, you can send a check to Doctors Without Borders at the following address:

Doctors Without Borders USA
333 Seventh Avenue, 2nd floor
New York, NY 10001
ATTN: Charlie Kunzer

In the envelope should be a note to Charlie that includes your name, donation amount, that this gift is for Meghan and Amber's Fundraiser (for the matching funds) and that your gift should be dedicated to nutritional fund and the Janus Charity Challenge 2010.

To donate with a credit card, please make the donation at the Doctors Without Borders website here:

There is also a phone number if you prefer to call Doctors Without Borders.

If you donate via the website, send an email to Charlie at with the same information as requested above (your name, donation amount, statement that this donation is for Meghan and Amber's Fundraiser (for the matching funds), and should be dedicated to nutritional fund and Janus Charity Challenge 2010.)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

PICTURES!! and Ras Kassa's

Woo-hoo, my camera is finally up and running again.

So, here are some pictures for your viewing pleasure, starting with the most current:

Some sweet friends took us to Ras Kassa's in Boulder tonight.
Thanks, George, Sarah, T.J. and Grandma Jackie!

Amelia liked our server, and our server liked Amelia!

What she REALLY liked was the little spoon and the little cream pitcher...and using the little spoon to feed herself a little cream!

Feeding it to Daddy was pretty fun, too!

Here we are...minus Allison--what a teenager,
she was at a football game tonight!

I have lots of teeth and we had a great night!


Getting ready for "school"....

Amelia's hair is growing and Mommy can make piggies!

Meelsie's salon is the kitchen counter!


Now, let's travel waaaaay back to the summer! I now (finally) present, "The Summer In Pictures:"

Sprinkler discovery...

This is so super fun!

I'm goin' back for more!

(Random Alert!) Grammy got a six-toed, stub-tailed the Ozarks...while Allison was at Kanakuk. We really did look quite hill-billian, driving around in the Ozarks with a portable litter box and this kitten named Lambert!

Mom and Meels at the IAN picnic.

Pondering the meaning of iced tea.

Sweet sissy love!

All decked out in her swimming gear!

Father's Day at Rocky Mountain National Park.

A lil' more sweet sissy love!