Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Meeting Duzi

I’ve been trying to get a blog post together since last Saturday night. So, so much has happened in our family since then, that I haven’t had a clue where to begin and I haven’t had more than five minutes to jot my thoughts down. A lot of our story is going to remain private – just for us. But, there are some moments I simply must communicate to avoid bursting.

My last post told the story of our victorious appointment at the US Embassy. The following day, we travelled to Durban to meet our son. I’ll pick up from there….

The night before we left for Durban, I didn’t sleep very well. Meaning, I didn’t sleep AT ALL. I knew that the next day we were to board a short, 1 hour long flight and then be driven to meet our son. Our son. I had no idea what to expect, so I stressed about the coming day all night long. I’m sort of good at stressing – it’s almost like I have a degree in Freaking Out. Here’s a sampling of thoughts that occupied my sleepless night: Will he like us? Can I really do this? Am I a good enough mother to do this? How will Alex and Caleb deal with the changes in our family structure? What if I can’t remember how to take care of a 5 year old? What if he doesn’t bond with me? What if I can’t bond with him? Anxiety and anticipation, coupled with jet lag, do not make for peaceful dreams.

Exhausted, and hanging by a thread, I spent the entire next day snapping at my husband and kids, and wistfully remembering the way the world once looked through the blessed lens of a fitful night of sleep. Michael, Alex and Caleb were also very, very tired. I could not believe I was going to meet my son with such an incredible deficit of energy. I had pictured the moment when we would become a family and it looked a lot more like running through meadows of wildflowers in the pristine sunlight than showing up with blood shot eyes and a suitcase full of anxiety.

And yet, I was completely unwilling to delay our meeting. I couldn’t think of any malady worthy enough to put off meeting my son. On the short flight to Durban, I prayed like a maniac for energy and then passed out for 40 minutes.

Long story short – we rallied. Once we landed, pure adrenaline kicked in and absolutely nothing could have prevented us from meeting our son/ brother. When we arrived at Ithemba Lethu, the children’s home where Duzi has been well cared for for the past 3 years, our little man was waiting expectantly by the door. Wearing a yellow Ben-Ten T-shirt and black jeans, he smiled shyly at us as we bolted out of the car. He’d seen our pictures and recognized us instantly. Alex and Caleb made it to him first. Mike and I made it just after. We hugged him repeatedly and began the work of becoming a family.

It’s been 5 days since our precious Duzi joined the Howerton family. We couldn’t be happier. He’s an amazing, amazing kid that keeps us laughing. We’ve had moments of pure joy and moments of hard transition. God is clearly and completely present through it all.

Thank you all so much for your continued prayers. We feel them.

Can’t wait for you to meet the Duz.


  1. freaking out!!!! I can;t wait to hug that little guy! love you guys!

  2. Ah Jodie..we're so happy for you and your family. We're crying again! Be well. The CR crew!


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