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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...
Once upon a time there was a sweet little family of four. There was a Daddy and a stay-at-home-Mommy and a little girl and a baby boy. Life ...
In order to give some context to our “Big Announcement,” let me first share a story... Years ago, Dan and I served a refugee community min...
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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Wednesday, November 30, 2011
11/30/2011 10:44:00 PM | Posted by ShellyO | Edit Post
I can’t believe it’s been almost an entire year since this:
Or since this post on my first full day with five children.
For once, I actually feel thankful that I’ve taken the time to blog – because it’s caused me to document and remember this crazy year in all its glory. And what a year 2011 has been.
If Dan and I had to sum up this year with one statement, I think we’d say this: “We’ve learned A LOT.”
We started this year with a first grader, a preschooler, a 12 month old baby and two newly adopted African children who formerly lived in a prison.
We ended this year with a second grader, a kindergartener, a 2 year old and our 4 & 5 year old son and daughter who happen to have been born on the other side of the world.
We’ve come a long way. But I’ll say it again… we’ve learned a lot. And to summarize the year, here’s a bit of what we’ve learned:
Having two boys is exponentially crazier than only having one boy. It's not double trouble... more like quadruple trouble. I mean, just look at these two. They are so not as innocent as they look:
|Davis and Joseph, first soccer game. September 2011|
Homeschooling makes for some busy, crazy days. But it's also rather practical and fun for large families. Especially on Johnny Appleseed Day.
If Momma up and goes to Uganda to serve on the mission field for one week out of the year, everyone will survive. In fact, Daddy might even handle it better. Even Mommies of five should take the time to go and serve.
|Shelly and Colleen, Kampala, Uganda, October 2011|
Our capacity to love and the available space in our hearts is far bigger than we realized.
Forcing five children to share one small bathroom is actually a really good thing.
Stretching yourself thin and going the extra mile, for the sake of letting a child know they are loved and cherished, is totally worth it.
|Madeline's 8th birthday. Out for breakfast, alone, with Mommy and Daddy.|
Fixing African-American hair can be completely fun and theraputic. Although I still have no idea what I’m doing. Poor Hannah.
God can use teeny, tiny people to do big work. In so many ways, Baby Charlotte has been the glue that's bonded our family together this year. A baby changes everything -- even if she's your 5th baby.
We’ve learned that the feelings of hurt and loss, for an orphaned child, run far deeper than we ever realized.
We’ve learned that formerly malnourished children will steal food, lie about food and eat out of your garbage can – even when they’re well fed and cared for.
We’ve learned to swallow our pride and to accept help. This year we've gratefully accepted gifts of time, money and service -- something we've never needed before. Cheerful giving is easy. Cheerful receiving is hard and humbling -- but the lesson is worth it.
We’ve learned how to treat worms, parasites, fungus and all sort of other conditions that stem from unclean drinking water, malnutrition and lack of basic, regular healthcare.
We’ve come face-to-face with our own feelings of entitlement, selfishness, laziness, favoritism, anger, impatience and full-on, unadulterated sin. We have some black hearts. We’ve seen em’ this year like never before. We need Jesus.
We’re so thankful to the many, many friends, family members and even strangers who have stood with us this year and supported us in our desire to live out the gospel in all our craziness. We can’t imagine 2011 without you.
This year has crushed us, shattered our pride, broken us down and opened our eyes like nothing we’ve ever experienced. And for all of it, we’re so grateful. Because the last 12 months have caused us to need Christ and to really, truly know Him like never before.
In retrospect, if we had it to do over again, knowing everything that we know now... we'd do it all again in a heartbeat. Because the Lord's plans for our lives are so much better than anything we could ever come up with on our own. As King David once said... "Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere." -- Psalm 84:10
And right now, we're exactly where we're supposed to be. And loving it.
The Owens Family