Shine Like Stars

Shine like stars in the universe as we hold out the Word of life (Phil. 2:15)
We're not trying to be rock stars but just shed some light on a sad and lonely world. Stay tuned for how God works through weak and tired, sometimes really cranky vessels.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Many faces of Melia

This is the look she often gives to
strangers when they talk to her:)

"I've got this kid wrapped around my finger."

Drunk eyes.

Whoa-hoo. What a ride.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hope from Haiti

he Howerton Family welcomed Keanan home today! Yay, praise the Lord.
The first time I heard about the earthquake my immediate prayer was that the children that were in the midst of adoption would be brought home quickly. Waiting for Melia Serawit to come home for 2 1/2 months was insanely hard. And I knew that she was safe and sound. I can't imagine what adoptive parents of Haitian children have felt. Now there are more orphans than ever in Haiti. I'm praying that all these helping organizations can unite and help come up with a plan for these children.

Update on our fundraising for World Wide Village.... Thanks to everyone who joined in.... We have donated $150 to World Wide Village and $50 to the Red Cross.

And here's the really crazy update....still wanting to do more for Haiti, I signed up to run a half marathon! Umm yeah, I hate running. I'm really slow and thoroughly don't enjoy it. But I also hate feeling hopeless about the suffering in Haiti and the children who have been orphaned. The run is on May 1st so I have time to train and raise $2,500 that will be donated help orphans. Click here to find out more about Team Up 4 Orphans.

And here's some cute kid pix:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Help bring Keanan home from Haiti

The Howerton family has been in the process of adopting Keanan for 2 1/2 years! He's been in Haiti and they have been visiting him and then having to leave him. That alone is heartbreaking for me to think about. It's insanely hard to have your child in a different country and they have been doing that for so long.

Kristin was in Haiti when the earthquake hit this week. She made it home safely but had to leave her sweet boy there. It's so hard for me to watch the news reports about what's happening in Haiti. I can't even been to fathom how hard it is for this family to have their son there.
So....Read Kristin's post to find out how we can help get Keanan home. CLICK HERE....and CONTACT these people:

Here are some people to contact:

The Honorable Barbara Boxer
United States Senate
112 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0505
Twitter: @Barbara_Boxer

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein
United States Senate
331 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-0504

The Honorable Dana Rohrabacher
United States House of Representatives
2300 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-0546
Voice: 714-960-6483
FAX: 714-960-7806

Clinton Foundation

Raymond Joseph
Haitian Ambassador to US
p 202-332-4090
f 202-745-7215
Kenneth H Merten
US Ambassador to Haiti
Tabarre 41, Blvd 15 Octobre
Port-au-Prince, Haiti
P 509 22 29 8000
F 509 22 29 8028

Hilary Clinton/Dept of State U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
Main Switchboard:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Help for Haiti

Crystal from Money Saving Mom had an incredible idea about raising money for Haiti and I'm joining her! I'm not a famous blogger like her but I'm heartbroken over the devastation in Haiti and feel the need to 'do' something.

So here's the deal...

If you are reading this and you have a blog....please take action and donate to an organization helping in Haiti. Then come back to my blog and leave your link on Mr. Linky.

For each link I get Michael and I will donate $2.00 to World Wide Village.

For those of you who don't have a can still be a part. You can donate to the Red Cross by texting the word "haiti" to 90999.
Leave a comment and let us know you did this and we will donate $1.00 to the Red Cross for each comment that comes in.

Let's help!!!

We need to pray, pray, pray for the people of Haiti and give, give, give!

Michael and I have been amazed over the past year at how the Lord has provided financially for our adoption. He's faithful to take care of us when we give to others. I've experienced it firsthand. He's an awesome God!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One month ago we invaded her world

A month ago today we met our sweet Serawit for the first time. We flipped her world upside down. She had been in our hearts since the moment we saw her picture and we'd been praying and praying for her for a year before that. We had been praying for her since June 2008 which was probably when she was in her birth mothers womb. So for us this moment was long in coming, but not for our babe who had already lost her birth mother and attached to the nannies at HH. We were taking her out of her comfortable world. These pictures capture her feelings about that.....

By the time we left Ethiopia she liked us:) More Michael than I, but over the past 3 weeks I've really grown on her and she loves me! It's really amazing how far she's come and how comfortable she feels with us now.
She loves her siblings and her new home. She's showing great signs of attachment. Mainly wanting me to hold her all the time.
She loves to laugh.
She is very good at communicating her wants and desires, which often cracks us up. She'd drink bottle after bottle if we let her. When she finishes one she clearly lets us know she'd like another.
Also, if anyone in the house is eating she can sense it and immediately begs for food. She's gotta eat a lot to keep that chunk going.

A month later and look how happy our girl is......

She likes her hommous.


Not only is she happy, we are too! It feels like she's been here all along. Our family feels complete and it's amazing to have her home.

Now, it's great but it's also crazy having 4 kids 5 and under. Some days I think I'm going to lose my mind, but I've made it so far. Some nights are rough and I wonder if I'll ever sleep again. Which makes for cranky mommy mornings. But thank the Lord for coffee.
Pretty soon here we'll get into a good groove. This week we started Classical Conversations with the boys. It'll be good to have a little more structure around the house.

Regardless of all that, we are so glad to have our sweet Melia Serawit home!!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A few of my favorite things

While we were gone my mom, sisters, and Tais
cleaned (and I mean cleaned!) our house.
My mom also put girly decorations up.
Notice the diapers in the napkin holder?
Cute, huh?

The Garvey's gave us this awesome ornament...

This one's from my sister....
I love it!
It's an adoption fundraiser,
you can have one too.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


Last week I was nervous about Michael going back to work....can I handle all these kids?
On Saturday our furnace broke, we were out of heat and the girls and I were out of the house until last night (thanks to my mom and sisters we were warm). The boys were in Lansing with Michael's family getting to spend some good quality time with their cousins.

I know it's lame since being without a few kids should feel like a break, but I missed my boys so much. After being away from them while we were in Ethiopia, I just want all of them by me all the time (of course when that's happen I complain that everyone's up in my mix, but I really do love it!)

Anyway, tomorrow's our first normal day. Michael back to work-Me home with the kiddos. I'm sure we'll make it to the end of the day:) I'm just hoping that Nathan's in better spirits than he was tonight, yikes, my boy was crazy tired. All the kids passed out in the car on the way home and everyone stayed asleep! It's a miracle. Not having to put any kids to bed....priceless. My perspective has changed and now I'm just happy to figure out what our new normal is.

Please pray for Michael's grandma, she's in the hospital with some medical complications. She's about the sweetest, most hilarious lady out there and I really love her! It amazes me how fragile life is. One day everything is normal and in an instant things change. Nothing is a surprise to the Lord, though. It's comforting to know that we're never alone when things are hard and that He's so worthy of our trust!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

So happy together....

It was hard to get a good picture with 3 kids, it's nearly impossible to get a good one with 4! This is the best we've got after 2 weeks at home:)

I've been behind in updating the blog, which means that a week from now I'll have no memory of the past two weeks. This blog is mainly for me to remember what my crazy days are like because they're all a blur! Anyway, I'm going to answer a few of the main questions we've been getting.

How are we?
Great! We love being a family of 6. It's crazy here most days and rarely quiet until night, but it's amazing to have all of my children under one roof. Before Melia was home, I didn't sleep much. I was on the computer a lot. It was like I was expecting her to be delivered through the screen. Now I sleep like a normal person and it feels pretty good.

How's Melia adjusting?
She's doing well. That's not to say that her arrival into our family has been seamless. She is really happy for the most part. She loves to eat. She loves her siblings. She loves her parents. Did I mention that she loves to eat? We have been sticking with our attachment parenting plan and it seems to be going well. She's become more and more attached to me. Today there were a few times when she wiggled out of Michael's arms to come to me! Big improvement from our first days together. She's a roly poly ball of laughs and cuddles. She's highly entertained by her brothers and quickly picking up on her sister's new found drama. All in all I think she's doing amazing for only being home 2 weeks!

How are the kids doing?
Caleb has been so incredibly helpful. He's shown so much maturity over the past couple of weeks. He's been very easy-going and self-entertaining, he's been very patient with Nathan (which can be hard to do sometimes), he's loved on Melia Serawit (he often makes up songs for her...."I love you, you're name was Serawit now we call you Melia, I love you"). He's my go-to guy when I need a favor. He's so happy to have our girl home!

Nathan is also doing great. The first few days they were home he would often say, "I can't believe she's here!" He likes to watch Melia play and laugh. He's very gentle and sweet with her. He's always checking up on her. He'll peak his head in the room and just to see what she's up to or ask about her napping. He often doesn't want her to go to bed (she's in agreement usually). He's also been a helper and I'm amazed by how much older he seems to be than when I dropped him off in NC almost a month ago.

Addie also really loves her sister ("Sissy" as she calls her). She's had a little bit of a rougher time adjusting to everything. She was really wonderful for my sister while we were gone. She rarely asked about me and really attached to "Nenny." (I'm so grateful that my sister stopped her life for 11 days to love on my kiddos!) When we picked them up from the airport Addie hugged me then looked at my sister and said "Bye, Nenny." It was like she was saying 'Ok, my mommy's going to be my mommy again.' It was really cute. The last two weeks it seems like she still thinks I'm going to leave her all the time. The few times I've been out of the house without her, she's talked about me the whole time. Today she asked Michael if I was on the plane again (the whole time we were in Addis she said I was on the plane). Anyway, she also has a cold and isn't feeling very well. So she's real clingy. But she loves Melia, sometimes that love turns into a WWF
strangle hold but for the most part she's been gentle. She misses her Sissy when she's sleeping and often tries to sneak upstairs to wake her up (ahh, the joys of a toddler). I'm just praying she starts feeling better soon so she can be happy again!

How's she sleeping?
This has been the hardest part for us all. Not because she doesn't sleep enough or because she's hard to put to sleep but because she's often sad in her sleep. Our agency, AGCI, is great at educating adoptive parents. Before we went to Ethiopia, we spoke with Mindy who informed us that infants grieve in their sleep (she also told us many other things that were so helpful). Our girl can often be heard moaning and crying a really sad cry. Sometimes when she wakes up she's confused about where she is. This has been the hardest thing for me. I hate to think about what
she's dreaming about and to hear her moan and not be able to fix the problem. But this too shall pass.
This week, she's also been fighting going to sleep. But I don't blame her. If I was that stressed out in my sleep I wouldn't want to go to bed either! Please pray that she'll start sleeping peacefully soon.

That was a long update.....
Oh, one more thing, Michael's going back to work on Monday. Then I'll really see what life is like with 4 kids 5 years old and under. I hope I can do it!