The Howerton Family’s
Christmas Letter 2007

Merry Christmas! Mark and I just unbundled the kids from their snowsuits and gloves, brushing the snow out of their hair from making snow angels. We had a rousing evening of snowball fights, followed by some door-to-door caroling in our neighborhood. We are now huddled by the fire, and India is singing excerpts from Handel’s Messiah as Jafta accompanies her on the guitar.[1]

It’s been a good but trying year[2]. In our Fabulous Fabulous Lives© 2005, we announced the judge had ordered Jafta was legally free for adoption. Well, funny story[3]. At the beginning of this year, we received the news that the decision was overturned due to some mistakes made by LA County DCFS[4], and we were told we could have a “Losing Isaiah” situation.[5] Naturally, we had complete faith in the system[6] and tried our best to keep our cool as we walked through the court process again. So, two years later, I am happy to announce that as of November, Jafta is AGAIN legally free for adoption![7]

Jafta spent the past year in the terrible two’s – and we found that it wasn’t all that terrible![8] He’s quite the chatterbox and likes to ask lots of questions that are easy and fun to answer[9] He enjoys watching independent films, reading contemporary fiction, and eating vegetables.[10] He will be starting preschool in January, and after much research we feel we have found the best possible environment to prepare him for academic success in college.[11] Jafta is growing up so fast and it’s been fun to see him hit so many big-boy milestones.[12]

India has morphed from a baby to an independent, playful toddler. She is walking, climbing, and shrieking her way through the whole house. She wants nothing to do with age-appropriate toys and spends her days emptying cupboards, drawers, purses and wallets[13]. She is the smiliest baby ever, and can be seen waving at anyone who crosses her path[14]. She is a master at baby signs, and she enjoys music classes, playgroup, and story time at our local bookstore. [15]

Mark continues to specialize in addiction[16], running the recovery ministry at Rock Harbor and doing counseling at a local rehab[17]. He has also started a private counseling practice and has finally completed the hours needed to sit for the Marriage and Family Therapy licensing exam.

I have been enjoying the day-to-day activities of motherhood.[18] I have been trying to embrace the concept of simplicity and find time for myself in each day[19]. I continue to work part-time, seeing clients at Journeys Counseling and teaching in the grad psych department at Vanguard University. In my spare time I send text messages to friends[20] and try to read books that don’t have pictures.

Mark and I were able to travel to Haiti twice this year, and spent some time at an orphanage. I would be lying if I said we didn’t have some ulterior motives in that visit[21], and we are hoping and praying it will be possible for us to adopt a child from that orphanage[22]. It will be a long process, but we are no strangers to waiting for God to build our family!

This year, we took a mission trip to Mexico, and braved Orlando over Thanksgiving. We do our best to introduce the kids to culture. We’ve taken them to an art gallery[23], dined in a five-star restaurant[24], and traveled by plane with both kids.[25] It’s such a relief to know that we are still able to enjoy the finer things in life, even as a family.[26]

That’s all for now. I need to get busy if I want these kids to have Luke 2 memorized by Monday. Hope you all have a Merry, Merry Christmas!
Mark, Kristen, Jafta, and India
[1] Okay, none of that is true. But there was a toy fight – and Jafta is trying to play drums on India’s head.
[2] The writer’s strike has really cut into our enjoyment of The Office.
[3] Funny if you thought the California wildfires were hilarious
[4] Department of Complete Freakin’ Stupidity.
[5] Yes, a social worker actually referenced a 1995 Hallie Berry movie to deliver this news to us
[6] Hired an attorney and threatened to sue
[7] And if by our Christmas Letter 2010 his adoption is not finalized, I may be writing this from a padded cell
[8] We found terrible to be a mild, inadequate description of the pure and total insanity of raising a two-year-old boy.
[9] Like, “Why can’t I fly, mommy?”and “What is echo in Spanish?” and “What are the Beatles singing about?”
[10] Alright, he likes watching Backyardigans, reading Dr. Seuss, and eating McDonalds. We’ve totally sold out.
[11] Oh, please. This is preschool. Criteria: who will entertain my kid for the longest chunk of time for the least money?
[12] Potty training: check. Small foreign object placed in nose: check. Clogging toilet by flushing large toy: check
[13] Somehow I have the feeling she will be emptying our wallets for many, many years to come
[14] Usually choosing to flirt with the homeless guy at Starbucks or the scary gangster at the gas station.
Let’s hope her tastes improve by her teenage years.
[15] Yes, her social life is blossoming while mine is slowly, sadly fading.
[16] Starbucks addiction, golf addiction, talking about real estate addiction
[17] And with role models like Britney and Lindsay, business is booming. Thanks, girls!
[18] Who doesn’t love doing laundry, changing diapers, wiping noses, and cleaning food off the floor?
[19] I actually got to use the restroom in privacy two times last week. It’s all about self-care.
[20] Because who has time for an actual conversation?
[21] Hello? Duty-free Kahlua!!!!
[22] Because, sadly, we believe that adopting from Haiti, the poorest and most volatile country in the
Western Hemisphere, will be less risky than adopting from the US fostercare system again.
[23] Where both our kids simultaneously puked all over the floor
[24] Where India had a diaper blowout and left the restaurant wearing only a 300-thread-count cloth napkin
[25] Where the folks in the row ahead of us sampled Jafta’s drumming skills on the back of their chairs
[26] Life Lesson from 2007: you can ALWAYS find room in the budget for babysitting