Mark and Kristen Howerton’s

We’ve had a life-changing year this year, and we have been blessed by a new addition to our family that brings us more joy than we ever imagined . . . [1]
But let’s start from the beginning. We rang in this year, and my 30th birthday, with a party on New Year’s Eve.[2] A few days later, Mark was back under the knife having the first of two reconstructive surgeries on his leg. He had the second last month – so he started and ended the year on crutches.[3]
In March we completed the process we had started last year to become a certified Foster Home, and began the wait for a child. I continued to work part-time as a Design Associate at Room & Board, but decided it was time to leave in May.[4] I enjoyed my little diversion into Interior Design, but have continued to work with Journeys Counseling as my “real job”[5], and Mark is still with Rock Harbor Church, running their recovery program.

In the Spring we also took a trip to New York with some friends, and of course, to catch up on our Broadway shows. I was so inspired that I decided to pursue yet another career option that has nothing to do with my expensive graduate degree whose loans I am still paying off[6]. I auditioned for South Coast Rep’s Conservatory, and got admitted into their summer acting program. With such illustrious graduates as Will Ferrell and “that guy from Lois & Clark”, it was an honor to be a part of the program, and also very challenging for this out-of-practice thespian.[7] And let me tell you, since my performance in the final show, the offers have been pouring in. [8]
And now, for the big news[9]– in July we got THE CALL for a six-month-old baby boy!! We brought Jafta home after traveling a long distance to a foreign land with strange and different cultural practices[10], but knew he would be the perfect fit for our family. Jafta has been such a blessing to our lives.
We were initially fost/adopt parents, which meant that we were foster parents who would be eligible for adoption[11]. The more we got to know Jafta, the more we were filled with anxiety over the thought of not being able to adopt him[12]. We have truly fallen head over heels for this little boy, and we are excited to tell you that as of December 22nd, he is now legally free for adoption![13] We are overjoyed. The finalization process will probably take another year, and we would love your prayers that this will go through the court system quickly.
Becoming parents has been such a fun transition for us.[14] We are constantly amazed at Jafta’s emerging personality. His favorite things to do include pulling up on the coffee table, walking around the house holding on to our hands, playing peek-a-boo, and Einsteining[15]. Jafta is also quite the little drummer, so we got him a full-size drum set for his first birthday to encourage his musical abilities.[16]
In October, Mark had his final surgery, and came home from a week’s hospital stay on Halloween, just in time to see Jafta dressed in his bear costume.[17] Taking care of baby with Mark unable to walk again brought on a whole new set of challenges.[18] But we are very happy that this final surgery brings this chapter of our life to a close.[19] We will be spending the holidays with family in Florida, and we are looking forward to a calmer, surgery-free ’06.

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support over the past few years in our journey to start a family. We are so thankful for a beautiful son, our health, Mark’s full recovery, and amazing family and friends who have carried us through.
Love, Kristen and Mark
[1] You guessed it! WE GOT TiVO!!!!
[2] Yep, 30. It’s all a big joke until it happens to you.
[3] And, unfortunately, on the old blue Lazyboy on loan from
the in-laws for his recovery. That thing WILL be burned in ’06!!
[4] Since I had run out of things to buy with my discount
[5] If we were talking in person I would have used “air quotes” here. I think it makes me look cool.
[6] Ah, sweet discontent of youth . . . sweet occupational angst. It’s cute in your 20’s, but now, not so much. I’m lucky my husband is such a good sport – and so rich!!