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We have lived in Romania for 16 years now. We have 6 kids. The top photo of our family is the day we met the twins, just before their 4th birthday. We were granted custody of them on their 5th birthday.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Papaw Joe

I wanted to write about Baron's Papaw Joe who passed away at the age of 95 yesterday morning. I hope that I have all my facts correct but if I don't Mom Howie you can correct me. Papaw Joe was Baron's great-great uncle on his dad's side. Dad H's parents were separated when he was born and his mom went to look for work so he and his older sister went to live with his grandparents. When Dad H was 3 and his sister 4 their grandma died and their grandpa's brother, Papaw Joe, who was much younger told his brother to let him take care of the kids. Papaw Joe was not saved at the time and his brother said he just couldn't in good conscious let him have the kids because he wasn't living for the Lord. As the story goes, Papaw Joe went to church and accepted Christ and this new love for Christ deepend his desire to help the hurting kids around him. He and his girlfriend, Granny Bill, got married and they gained custody of Ken and his sister Carolyn. He had compassion on those who were down and out and always was willing to give people a chance. Most people would have shut the door in the face of people that he ministered too. He was always more then willing to give someone the benefit of the doubt and give them a job and try to help them out.
They went on to take in two sisters from a local orphanage. Their father had passed away and their mother was unable to care for them. They raised them and actually raised 3 children of one of those girls. He also temporarily housed many people who needed a place to stay.
Papaw Joe was more like Baron's grandpa then great great uncle. He raised his father and because of this Baron's dad, Dad H. had a heart for orphans. He always had a desire in his heart to work with orphans and needy kids in some way but it just never happened. His heart was passed on to his son though. When we moved to Romania we received an opportunity that Dad H. never had, we were surrounded by abandoned kids. God gave us the desire to adopt and when we finally met our kids, we knew we wanted them to feel part of the family and have family names. So, we kept the first name just making it American...George Joseph will be on his birth certificate when the adoption is final and we call him Joey for Papaw Joe. The transition to calling him Joey came quickly and was not difficult although I know people at Casa Alba will always consider him Gheorghe, he is Joey Howerton to us and the name fits him so well. He is full of spunk and joy and we hope and pray he lives up to his name and grows to be a kind and compassionate man who loves the Lord with all his heart.
In loving memory of Joe Riddle 1914-2009.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Trip to Budapest

We took a quick trip to Budapest yesterday and today. We took the two older boys and left the 4 younger kids with some missionary friends. We are moving the two older boys into their own room (they get their dad's office) and needed a bunk bed. The bunk beds we checked out in Romania were very expensive and we found one at IKEA in Budapest that was sturdier and much much cheaper so we decided to go there and get it plus we always enjoy eating at TGIFriday's while there. We also got Baron a much needed filing cabinet which is hard to come by in Romania too. So, we literally stuffed our boxes in the van and headed home today. Everything was fine and dandy until we noticed at the Hungarian border it was taking quite a long time for the customs man to give us our passports back. The Romanian customs man asked us to move our car out of the way and park, finally he came and asked about a ticket I had recieved when in Hungary way back in March. Yes, I said I got a ticket for not having my lights on (law says lights on at all times and I forget to do that in the day). So, in the police officers best Romanian he told me 3 ways I could pay for the ticket and me being without Baron didn't really want to try to figure out where a post office was to pay my ticket at and I didn't have money on me to pay the officer so I chose option 3...pay at a bank in Romania. Baron paid the $50 ticket for me plus a $20 wiring fee way back in March. But since we paid it at a bank in Romania it wasn't showing up as paid in their computers. So, the customs officer asked for the receipt...um Mr. custom's officer I don't know about you but we don't keep receipts in our wallets for 8 months! No one had bothered to tell us that the next time I tried to exit their country (entering wasn't a problem) I would need proof that I had paid it b/c since it wasn't paid in country it doesn't show up and the money just goes to one big account in Budapest and so they had no record of what the $50 was for that was sent to them. So, the only way they were going to let us out of the country was if I sat at the border while Baron went to the first village in Hungary and found a post office and paid the bill AGAIN!! So, he left the boys with me for safety reasons (I felt so safe having my 9 and 10 year there with me :)) and he took off for the village to pay it. Two hours later and after paying my ticket for the SECOND time we finally were allowed to leave Hungary. We had to pick up our little ones at the Tyler's church since we were running late they had to take them to church with them. We stuffed 4 more children in the already stuffed van and drove one more hour home...yes I still love going to Budapest and enjoyed myself (except for those two hours). I even understand them not letting us out with an unpaid ticket. What I don't understand is why not tell the police officers to #1 have mercy on a foreign women alone in a different country and #2 when you give option 3 to pay in your own country why not let the foreigner know that you must bring back proof you paid the ticket even if it is 8 months later!!