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Sunday, March 6, 2011

"Home at Last" [Our Video]

In April of 2010 my husband, Dan, traveled to the East African country of Uganda. Dan and his friend, Michael, were traveling on the first official mission trip of our newly birthed ministry, SixtyFeet.

Dan and Michael both have extensive mercy ministry and overseas missions experience. Michael is a professional filmmaker. Dan is a former missionary to Africa. Between the two of them, they had basically seen and served in it all. But nothing could have prepared them for what awaited them in Uganda.

The facility they visited, "M" as we call it, is essentially a prison for children. Underfunded by the government and overlooked by society, some children languish in this place for years. The facility was created for teenage boys with a criminal record. But today, M houses both boys and girls -- many of them under the age of 12.

To Dan, two young children stood out.

We learned they had been in this facility for over a year, abandoned by their parents and dropped off by the police on several occasions.

Dan returned home after that trip to Africa, broken and troubled and unable to get the faces of these little ones out of his mind.

As a family, we began to pray feverently for these children. We prayed that they'd have food for each day. We prayed that they'd have clothing, shoes and bedding. But mostly we prayed, prompted by our children, that they would have a real family to love them... a Daddy and a Mommy who would show them Jesus. For months, we prayed that the Lord would call a family to rise to this task -- that He'd send someone for these children.

And one night He spoke to us unmistakably... "I did send someone. I sent you."

We said "no Lord, not us! We can't do it. What will our family and friends think? We have two young children and a 6 month old baby. We're already too busy. We don't have the money for two international adoptions. We don't have enough room in our house. We don't have a big enough car. We don't have enough faith."

And He said. "My grace is enough." And by His grace alone, we finally responded in obedience.

Along with my friend Joy, I flew to Kampala, Uganda for our court date in November 2010. Our case was unique -- no one had ever even attempted to adopt a child from M previously. There were many unknowns and no precedents for our situation.

The judge heard our case and agreed to give his final ruling in mid-December. Joy and I returned home. And Dan, accompanied by his friend Scott (and later by his friend, Judd), traveled to Uganda. Dan spent several long, hard weeks in Africa. He missed Christmas, he missed Baby Charlotte's first birthday -- but he was there in Uganda when the judge said YES! And life changed forever.

On December 30, 2010, Dan, Hannah and Joseph made it... "Home at Last." We pray that one day this happy ending belongs to many more children in "M" and the other remand facilities throughout Africa that SixtyFeet serves.

We hope this story will encourage and inspire you to step out of your comfort zone and follow something that God may be urging you to do. We give full credit to our friend Michael Lines for the film and to Griffin Gibson for the photography. But all glory, always and forever, to our Lord, Jesus Christ. Through Him all things are possible.

(best experienced fullscreen and in HD)


Nancy said...

Oh, How I love you, crazy family. What goodness! May God bless all seven of you so richly throughout your life in accordance with your great faith and obedience to Him. Thank you, especially, for sharing your story. Your light is a beacon!

Chasity said...


Joshua and Hilary said...

I am in love with this story that so clearly has God's name written all over it! I had the privilege to watch the Bereaved video at the Created for Care retreat and I've said it a million times- it's radically changed my life! Since then, I've shown the video to a group of people (Nancy Powell, my church's Compassion Ministry Director had just been to "M" a couple weeks earlier). I've been talking with so many about Sixty Feet and your families story and I God is stirring hearts every where I turn! Met another gal on Friday, Rebekah Suthers, at our church's very first orphan care ministry meeting- who is passionate about Sixty Feet as well! Clearly God is surrounding me lately with the work He is doing through ya'll's ministry! Thank you for sharing this video- I am so excited for others to see it! Always praying, always believing, always trusting that God is at work in Uganda through Sixty Feet! Blessings!

Melissa said...

God is amazing! He is to be praised!! Amazing Video Micheal!! And an even more amazing family who shines Christ's love. I am blessed to know you guys. (:

Lara said...

Love, love, love me some Owens!!!

lauren said...

Oh how I love this! Magnificent.
So grateful to Hilary & Nancy for sharing this story with me, and so grateful to see this beautiful addition to the story!
May God continue to bless your precious family!

Heather said...

I've watched this a million times today. I get emotional every time I see the picture of Joseph wearing the lightning mcqueen outfit after reading about how your other son gave it away. What a neat little piece of this amazing story.

Brian & Amy said...

Um, WOW. Wow. Seriously, all I can think to say is WOW!!! God is so good, and I feel like that song was just written for what He is doing in our lives...taking the ashes of pain from the death of our children and turning them in to beauty by the joy of adoption! Thank you for this gorgeous coming home video...your family is so treasured by us! Someday we need to MEET IN PERSON!!!! Blessings!!!!!

Wild Olive said...

I love your video. LOVE. I could watch it a billion times.
Love you,

La Dolce Vita said...

Such a beautiful and crazy story! Hope you don't mind, but I'd love to share a link to this. It is a blessing and an inspiration!

love said...

just getting to watch this. dying with His goodness. looooove it.

beauty from ashes.

love you, Owens family.

the_blissful_mommy said...

Shelly, Shelly. That was no easier the second time I watched it. I am wrecked by it totally. Too beautiful. NEVER do we get the chance to see orphans both in their situation and once they are home. I cannot stress to you how valuable this video is: it's a window into redemption. Whatever you lacked by allowing a camera to follow you around that One Important Day is made up for in the incredibly huge blessing this video has become and will continue to be for Ugandan orphans. It's hhuge, I tell you. Huge. CRAZY huge, you could even say ;)

Melissa said...

I can't seem to find a way to privately e-mail you, but I have some questions about independent adoption from Uganda. My husband and I have started an Ethiopian adoption, we're just getting started with our home study. We feel our hearts being tugged another direction and would love to hear your wisdom. Please contact me at naturalstampin at gmail dot com.

Annie said...

I'm Annie, one of Sara's housemates here in Colombia. I lent her my laptop last night so she could watch her cousins' homecoming video since it wouldn't open on her laptop for some reason. I just peeked around in my history to find it and watch since I couldn't watch it last night with her.

So beautiful it made me cry (and wish that I knew how to work the video camera when my brother was adopted so we actually had some good footage from that precious first night together).

Congratulations on your 2 newest. You all look so happy. Blessings.

Jenny said...

I cried watching this video. How beautiful is the LORD!!! I can not wait til I get to see your new family :) I love you.

Tara said...

I have watched this video so many times already. I LOVE it. We're at the very beginning of the process of adopting from Uganda. The smiles of your children make my heart want to burst!!!

Tara said...

Beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and heartwarming story. Tragic that such a place exists but wonderful that you are trying to make a change. Lucky kiddos!!

Sarah said...

Beautiful... I am speechless.

Anonymous said...

For God there are no impossibles!
May God richly bless you!

Nicole said...

Hi there! Saw your homecoming video through another blog - what a beautiful way to commemorate your homecoming! We just came home with out daughter from China ... adoption movies always make me cry and yours was no exception! :-) God Bless your family!

jennifer kindle said...

thank you for sharing your family with us!

Jessica said...

Hi, I just jumped over from the Lettered Cottage where I watched your video of the home coming! What an amazing story & beautiful inspiration! I'm forwarding your blog to my gfriend who is currently in the process of adopting from China!

Disneyfan said...

I have watched this video so many times and I praise God through my tears every time! What an amazing God we serve! Thank you for your obedience to Him and for sharing this so that He will receive glory and honor and praise.

Delicate Fortress Creations said...

So beautiful! Like the others, I just can't stop crying watching it!

woosterweester said...

I am totally de-lurking and wanted to say I saw this video MONTHS ago and was undone. I've followed Lara at the Farmer's Wife, am in the Ethiopian adoption community as we wait to bring our child or children home, and just LOVE your family's story. I hope it is ok to re-post it and link to your blog? Thank you for following the Lord wholeheartedly. It shows. Don't know if you ever attend Created for Care retreats with Andrea Young, but if so I'll see you at the end of January!
P.S. I'd also like to link 60 feet. If this is not ok, let me know and I'll totally take it down!:)

Mark and Michelle Wuesthoff said...

Hi Shelley,
I came across your blog while trying to research independent adoption from Uganda. We are in the process right now of adopting 2 siblings and I have a question for you about finalizing the adoption once you are home: normally if you use a placing agency, that agency becomes the statutory parent--I am told that a statutory parent is required to be in place before the finalization can take place. When you are doing this independently, who becomes the statutory parent? Thank you for your reply!

Jenny said...

This is SUCH a beautiful video! I loved meeting you this past weekend at Created for Care and I will continue to pray for you, your family and your awesome ministry!!!!