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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 o...
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Dan and I have intentionally not shared many of the specifics related to our adoption. Most people generally know what we did, why we did it...
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Thursday, June 9, 2011
6/09/2011 06:55:00 PM | Posted by ShellyO | Edit Post
Nearly seven months ago, I took Hannah and Joseph for their very first appointment at our pediatrician’s office. I wrote about that appointment here. It’s a day I will never forget…
It was the dead of winter and I remember running through the freezing cold parking deck at Piedmont Hospital, dragging behind me two children I barely knew. We made our way into the doctor’s office, signed in and began the unbundling of coats, scarves, hats and gloves. All the while I’m wondering what the people around us could possibly be thinking about the exhausted-looking, short-tempered white lady with the two black children who were speaking some obscure African language.
I felt like every eyeball in the room was on me and, despite the freezing temperatures outside, I can remember sitting in the waiting room and breaking into a sweat.
After what seemed like about 5 hours (but it was probably more like 5 minutes), the nurse called us back for our appointment. Our pediatrician, Dr.Roe, is a member of the SixtyFeet board. He traveled to Uganda twice last year and had already given both Hannah and Joseph full exams, so our appointment was quick. Dr. Roe wrapped it up, hugged the kids good-bye and then broke the bad news to me: “Shelly, you know we have to start catching them up on their vaccinations. Today."
Joseph handled it like any other three-year-old. He huffed and puffed and cried and got over it when I handed him a sucker.
Hannah was a different story. When the nurse brought the needles into the room, Hannah became more hysterical than any child I have ever seen. She belted out the most primal screams I’ve ever heard. She kicked, hit, pinched and tried to bite me. And she became freakishly strong – between two nurses and I, the three of us couldn’t hold her down so Dr. Roe had to come in to restrain her.
It was a pretty awful scene. And it was probably two full days before Hannah really calmed down and recovered from the episode. I don’t know if I’ve ever really recovered.
Fast forward seven months…
Today we had another doctor’s appointment. Hannah and Joseph were both due for another major round of shots. I’ve been prepping them since last week…. “Guys, we’re going to Dr.Roe’s office next Thursday. You’re both going to have shots. It’s going to hurt but just for a minute. And then you get a sucker and we’ll go home.”
Today we walked into the office. I signed us in and grabbed a seat in the waiting room. Hannah and Joseph sat on either side of me and looked quietly at books. And as I type this, I realize that I didn’t even give a second thought to what anyone was thinking about the white lady with the two black children.
The nurse called us back quickly (which was kind of a bummer… I didn’t even have time to update my facebook status and ask people to pray) and the appointment was over before we knew it. And then it was show time. Or shot time. Whatever.
Dr. Roe walked out of the room and the nurse was on the way in with her tray full of shots – polio, tetanus, Hep A, Hep B… Hannah looked me square in the eye and proclaimed “Mommy, I be a big girl this time. I no cry.” And of course I’m thinking “yeah right.” But I gave her a smile and some encouraging words. But on the inside my heart was pounding, my palms were sweating and I’m was wondering when everyone was going to fall apart.
The nurse walks in, smiled at Hannah and asked “would you like to go first?” Hannah said, “yes please,” hopped on the table and looked at me. She repeated her claim from earlier… “I be big girl. I no cry.” And I walked over and held her hands tightly and braced myself for whatever was coming next and… NOTHING.
I almost could not believe me eyes. Hannah’s band-aids were on. Her eyes were dry. It was over. And she was SMILING!!!!!! Joseph went next and, spurred on my Hannah’s heroic performance, he did the exact same thing.
The nurse looked at me and I looked back at her and she said “Wow. That was remarkable. Do you remember what it was like six months ago?” And I started to laugh because how could I forget? But then I started to cry because I was so incredibly proud of them. And so there were tears shed after all -- just not Hannah and Joseph’s.
I know it was easier on them this time for a myriad of reasons – Hannah and Joseph are familiar with our pediatrician’s office and with his staff. They speak and understand the language everyone was using. This time they knew what was going on.
But more than anything, I think this made the difference: we've become a real family. Hannah and Joseph trust me and they know I'd never do anything to hurt them. Their hearts are starting to heal.
In some ways, the last seven months have flown by. And in other ways, time has gone so slowly and some days have been so hard. But slowly, our Lord is bringing healing. He's healing Hannah and Joseph's hearts, minds and bodies from pain and experiences they never should have had.
He's also healing the rest of the Owens crew. He's healing us from the curse of our abundance, our selfishness, our materialism. From the way we used to live and from the things we used to live for. The last seven months have opened our eyes in ways we never could have imagined -- and we will never be the same.
Indeed, He makes all things new.