Monday, June 28, 2010


It has been a while.

I have been so overwhelmed that I’ve been unable to write much of anything.

For the entire last year, we have been on pins and needles about this adoption, not knowing how open the process really is, not sure how much we’re allowed to know about the boy named Duzi, not sure how much we’re allowed to share about the journey that we’re on…it’s a weird year of complete self-editing that I’ve lived under, simply because I’m never sure what might get me slapped as off limits to share…and the penalty for playing this one wrong happens to be the life of a boy and the wholeness of my family.

So suffice to say that I’m a little constipated verbally.

NOW imagine my surprise, when we arrive in South Africa, and find just about every step of the road is covered with FAVOR. There is no other way to say it. The Favor of God Almighty has simply gone ahead of us, and greased every grease-able wheel. The process that we feared would take several weeks now appears, possibly, to be accomplished in several days. I’m not even sure yet if I’m going to post this, and yet even as I write this, even to myself, I’m afraid of jinxing it, of negative repercussions, of somehow blowing this thing that God is making incredibly awesome. I’ll post it. I’m trusting to FAVOR.

From the start, of course, the US Embassy greeted us with smiles and our files when we arrived in JoBurg. That was FAVOR. And Sue, our South African Child Welfare worker, was on the ball. The places we’ve stayed were completely comfortable, and the people we’ve met have been more than accommodating and over the top friendly. Its as if, all of South Africa is riding the high of hosting the World Cup, and watching Ghana rock the US has only friended them towards us!

I even left the lights on and ran the car out of juice tonight, and three incredibly kind security guards jumped my battery. It was FAVOR. Our court date is on Thursday, and we’re praying for more FAVOR.

Lastly, most importantly, there is Mduduzi Ezekiel Howerton. No picture will do justice to the joy that is felt (although my wife has already posted a bunch of photos on Facebook). No video captures the awe of meeting a family member. My kids have already welcomed him in as a true brother, and he’s instantly wrestling with Caleb as his new best frenemy, with Alex being the one Duzi wants to hold hands with as they cross busy roads. He’s handsome. Solemn. Goofy. Intelligent. He speaks with a crazy cool South African accent that I pray he never looses. He’s been calling me “DAD” since the first moment we arrived. It kind of makes my heart flutter. Favor.

Jodie has been a miracle worker. She’s constantly on the ball, always one step ahead. She’s always on it with what we need to do, and she’s always been right. Because of her diligence, I believe that it’s easy for God to place his favor on this journey.

My role has been that of even keel, luggage carrier (along with Caleb, who has decided to step up as a true stud, now that he’s in THIRD GRADE), and official driver of stick shift Hyundi on wrong side of road. This has been an adventure, and I’m certain that the lack of traffic accident is another sign of God’s Favor. And I’ve been navigating the spagettit string roads of the Greater Durban communities, for which I might be taking a bit of pride in. Alex is mostly sweet, responsible, and gracious. Caleb has played with all of the babies at IthembaLetu, and wants us to bring home a little Stella, too. Let’s just say, with the emotional state of his parents right now, he wouldn’t have to push too hard to get his way.

All in all, I don’t know how to wrap up the thoughts and dreams of another life being added to our family through the miracle of adoption. It is VERY similar to the over the top emotions of childbirth. Except the child in this case can also make us laugh by crossing his eyes and yelling that his head is on fire, which has done, quite loudly, in an Italian restaurant at the mall.

Welcome to the craziness of Howerton living, young Mduduzi. May the Lord’s FAVOR shine down upon the pathways you’ve yet to travel…


Kelly M said...

Oh Hooray! We're so glad to know things have gone so smoothly. You know, Duzi looks like he fits in the family too! If you bring her back, Stella can live with us because we love her. I think Bea would like a big sister and that sweet girl would be perfect!

marisabutterworth said...

I am now spending my afternoon as an emotional wreck. SO excited for you guys. SO glad to hear of God's favor on this journey. SO excited to meet Duzi. Overwhelmed by God's love and His adoption of me. Miss you guys!

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Prayers for the rest of your trip! May you continue to find His favor ahead of you on Thursday and as you return!

Ken Loewen said...

In tears I'm so happy about your post. This one is so worth waiting for and praying for. We're looking forward to seeing all five Howertons in a few short weeks.

Nazareth said...

That is awesome Mike. Praying for safe arrival back to the US with Duzi.

But really, Ghana didn't ROCK the US soccor team. We just lost in overtime.

mary (carpenter) portteus said...

mike, my latest blog entry on is dedicated to your wonderful family :D just thought you ought to know! happy new family times! much love, m