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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen: The Owens Show!

"A couple took early retirement from their jobs in the Northeast five years ago when he was 59 and she was 51. Now they live in Punta Gorda, Florida where they cruise on their 30-foot trawler, play softball and collect shells... Picture them before Christ at the great day of judgement: 'Look, Lord. See my shells.' That is a tragedy."
-- John Piper, Don't Waste Your Life

So it turns out that prior to our adoption, I didn't think about at all underestimated the fact that my family would look like a bit of a freak show while we're out and about town in the ATL. I honestly had no idea that my children and I would walk into stores or doctor's office waiting rooms or lunch at Chick-fil-a and that people would openly gape at us.

If you've been around for a while, you know I've done some posts on my desire to look different from the rest of the world, to stand out for Christ. One post is here. I'm too tired to go find the rest but there are more.

I guess I knew we'd look different from the average American family. We are now a bi-racial family with five children, ages 7, 5, 4, 3 and 1. Two of my children speak a fairly obscure African language. The five of them together can be a little loud and sometimes the baby is crying and I am usually not the most put-together gal in Atlanta. So, I get it. I know we're a little weird. I was prepared to be a little weird. I was not prepared to become a full-on freak show for everyone who happens to be grocery shopping at the same time as me.

Earlier this week I had no choice but to venture out to good ol' Trader Joes with all 5 kiddos. We're just minding our own business and loading up our cart. Baby is sitting happily in the cart and I have two children on either side of me. What's the big deal??

Well, practically everyone in the store was looking at us. There were people literally staring at us with their mouths hanging open and I am not kidding. When I got to the check out line, someone finally spoke. The lady in front of me had two little girls. She looked right at me and said "wow, how many children do you have??" And of course I'm irritated and I feel like saying " what's wrong with you, can you not count to 5??" But I'm a chicken so instead I smile sweetly and say "I have 5. I'm very blessed." And she says. "Wow. How old are they?" And I feel like saying "are you blind? They are obviously 7, 5, 4, 3 and 1." But I'm a chicken so I say "they are 7, 5, 4, 3 and 1. I know that sounds like a lot but we are doing really well." And she says "Wow, that's crazy. I thought I was brave by having two children." And she turns her back and that ends our conversation.

Seriously. I guess this is my new normal. Turns out that looking different for the sake of Christ is not quite as glamorous as I had imagined. And yet I wouldn't have it any other way.

So for those of you who have not yet seen the Owens Crew out on the town let me prepare you... When you see me I will not be dressed in a cute tennis outfit, my cheeks will not be flushed from my recent workout at the gym, I will probably not be showered and I will almost definitely not have make-up on. Our large family can be loud. We take up way too much space on a grocery aisle and my children will probably not be wearing beautiful smocked clothes.

But I refuse to waste my life. This is the Lord's plan for our family and we'd rather be "weird" and in His will than "normal" and not. Plus, just look at this face. Have you ever in your life seen someone so excited to visit the dentist?

I bet you've never been this excited to be in a dentist chair

This is Joseph today at his very first dental appointment ever. And no cavities! "Weird" is really growing on me. Frankly, I think more people should try it.


We Are Family said...


Brian & Amy said...

Yah, we are so joined at the heart!!! I get it! I get it!! And soon, I'll be the freakshow of Ohio. We can swap notes! LOVE YOU!!!

Anonymous said...

Love this post- you are beacons of light to the glory of God! Seriously this photo needs can be used in some sort of Dentistry marketing program- it is precious! xo anna

The Fruitful Family said...

Can't wait until The Harty Party can be weird right there with you! "Um, a table for 15 please. And yes, that's just for our two families!) Love you, Crazy Owens!

Tracy B said...

Praying that for every thoughtless comment or gaping stare by a stranger, that you will feel the deep, abiding love of our great God! He is faithful and you are faithful. And make-up is over-rated anyway! :)

Much love in Christ,
Tracy Bunch

Courtney said...

Love this post! Though we don't have a child yet, we are definitely getting the "weird" comments from others about choosing to adopt first...from Ethiopia! Thanks for the encouragement.

Jane said...

Love it! That is a show I would love to see.

I am reminded of a friend of mine who had twins then adopted a little boy from Guatemala . She was the grocery store and the check out lady looked at the twins, looked at the baby and then asked : " Do your babies have the same Daddy?" She smiled and answered - "Yes , Yes they do have the same Daddy".

Wild Olive said...

Hahahahahaha...I relish those gaping looks. Plus, I love that you like being weird, because I like being weird, which confirms our suspicions about being separated at birth. Plus...I love the J. Pipe. And I love that book. Love.

Wild Olive said...

Oh, and PS - LOVE that Joseph in the dentist chair. SO adorable. The end. I'm done now.

Jennie said...

Oh, my goodness. I am totally LOL and I had to read your post out loud to Mark.

And I'm very glad I had a conversation with Joy last night or I'd be freaking out about HER comment of the size of your two families out and about!

Chasity said...

Shelly, I cannot wait to be weird like that! Some think we are strange already but most total strangers don't notice! Ahh, but they will! And Don't Waste Your Life is awesome!

The E's said...

love it, love your precious family, and wish we lived in the same city so i could run into you at the grocery store as i'm being asked if i am my son's babysitter :)

Lari said...

I love big crazy families! We have 4 boys (I get lots of I'm so sorrys about that too) and are hoping to add a couple more kiddos through adoption from Ethiopia.

Melissa said...

Love this Shelly! You spoke my heart. Praying for you, when I pray for myself. Can't wait for our playdate on Thursday!!

the monkeys' mama said...

a friend posted this on her blog. She's a "quiverful" Catholic family so it's a little different scenario but still the same concept of lots of kids and lots of looks. I think it's worth the read:

here it is!