Friday, December 28, 2012

My unanswered prayer.

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As it is for most families grieving a loss, particularly the death of a child, the holidays bring up so many deep emotions -- moments of pure grief, where our hearts and minds are left to wonder, dreaming of what could have been.  Our family is no different.  This holiday I was once again reminded that my little boy is not here.  Not a day goes by that I don't think of him, in fact his legacy is so strong that I often find myself forgetting the fact that he isn't actually physically part of our family -- until a holiday or anniversary of some sort.  It's in those moments where Adam and I gather all our little ones together that I realize that he is truly missing.  The memory of his touch and scent becomes more and more distant as the years pass by.  I hate that.  

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As we often do, this Christmas we spent some time together as a family at Gavin's grave.  I'm sure many people cannot fathom why we would take a place of mourning and make it a moment for our family to remember.  For me, as a mother, his grave is the one place we can be together.  Before you think on that too much let me explain this.  When we watched Gavin take his last breath, we witnessed first hand as his soul left his sick, swollen shell of a body. After his heart stopped it was very real to me -- that the body that held my little boy's soul was simply just that -- a body.  But for me as a mother that's the part I was able to hold and touch -- the part I gave birth to and held on my bare chest.  So to have all my babies in on place -- it's just a feeling I can't describe to you.

But that's not the only reason why I return to his grave.

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Every time I stand at that grave I can't help but remember this one thing -- God didn't answer my prayer.  

And as I stand on top of his grave just feet away from his flesh -- holding my three beautiful babies, I am reminded in a powerful way that I am not in control, and for once in my life I don't feel like that is such a bad thing. Going back to the grave reminds me of something much bigger than myself -- that my life, my families life is being held in the palm of his strong hands -- I don't have to fight so hard, I don't have to figure it all out and I don't have to carry all the worry and fear our failing world throws on me.

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As I look at his grave I am brought back to place of humility. But not humility, as in I am nothing. But rather just the opposite -- I am something.  I am someone He finds worthy, worthy enough to take my prayers and turn them into something bigger than I originally asked. He never ignored our prayers, in fact he heard each and every one -- and listened.  He didn't answer in the way we wanted, and I'll never understand the suffering.  But what I do know, is that when we choose to stop trying so hard to understand -- He tends to reveal so much, to heal and to restore.

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So thankful that his grave is not a place of mourning, but a symbol of hope, peace and joy.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

One less and one more.

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The other day I was sitting and thinking a little bit about this time last year.  We were in the process of bringing Jayden home, which ended up being a long four month process.  I would drive almost everyday to go be with my new little boy.  I would pack up a bag of special toys and go spend a few hours loving on Jayden and giving him the attention and affection he needed.  

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Although we loved Jayden from the moment we saw him and were totally committed to the process of bringing him home -- it was so difficult.  He was so close, in location, to us.  I just couldn't not visit him.  It was so difficult to leave him everyday -- I loved him so much and longed for the day he could come home forever.

This year, He is home.

Such a good feeling.

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Adam and I have been blessed beyond words.  I know everyone says we did such a great thing -- and I know we are special people, but I just wish I could show you how amazing this life is.  To be given the chance to love a child who was once just a number in a system, and to claim them as our own and watch as their hearts, minds and bodies heal.  It takes my breath away.

We are ready for one more blessing.

We have begun the process to find and bring home one last precious little one.

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I can't think of a better gift to give our children this Christmas then to allow them to be apart of something big -- something bigger than ourselves, bigger than our understanding -- a beautiful display of God's perfect plan. 

My home is not my own -- I don't want it to be.  Adam and I want our family to be God's family, each member chosen, longed for and divinely placed.  This is the meaning of family.  We can't close our doors -- we can't close our hearts.  The need is great and the numbers of waiting children right here in our community is overwhelming.

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We are excited to have you join us for yet another journey. Are you ready for the ride?  I know I am. My heart is overwhelmed with joy for what is soon about to happen...

One less orphan and one more child to love and call our very own.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The sky is the limit.

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I mentioned in my last post how Angela has taken off, literally -- our little girl is now moving all around the house in her walker.  To sit here are tell you just how big of a deal this is, is a task I'm not sure I could adequately do.  This is just so amazing.  

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I remember back to the first day we took Angela out of her foster home and into the community for a day visit.  We lived over an hour away from her foster home so bringing her to our house would be just to much driving back and forth -- so we decided to go to the mall.  I remember walking around the store with Angela in her stroller and Adam and I  looking at each other wondering if she was ok. Angela was in such a deep constant self stimming state that it appeared as if she was having one long seizure -- it was so intense.  It was hard to get a response from her, and if you did it often involved some type of failing movements and she certainly didn't look at you.

She is not the same child.

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Watching her walk around our house brings me to such a place of thankfulness, for God bringing this beautiful child to us, to call our own.  I watch as she moves so purposefully, with focus and attention -- so breath taking.  I remember when we first brought her home, I had trouble thinking of her future, her needs at the moment were so intense. But as time goes on and we are watching how God is creating this new and amazing life for Angela one thing is becoming more and more obvious...

The sky is the limit.

Angela has an amazing story to tell, and I totally believe that one day she will stand before thousands and tell of the beautiful things God has done in her life.  I just know it. 

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I'm a huge fan of dreaming big dreams.  One thing Angela has taught me is to never place a limit on the miracles God is waiting to do.  The things of God don't always look neat and orderly, just like Angela's walking -- but it's still an amazing testimony to God's healing in her life.  

I can't wait to see where her little legs will one day take her!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Family updates.

It's been awhile since I did a general Owens family update, but since so many great things are happening I figured I'd take some time to share a bit of our world with you! Let me first start by saying this -- God has been so faithful to our family.  I can't share that enough. We are not super parents, are we certainly are not super spiritual and yet God has chosen to do amazing things right before our very eye -- it blows my mind.

So let start with the house.  Ugh this house.  For those who are new to the story let me give you a quick recap.  We put the house on the market this summer and it sold in less than a week for just a few grand under our asking price.  After inspections happened it was found that we have a bad septic system -- bad as in thirty to forty thousand dollars bad.  Our buyer walked away -- obviously.  We decided to use all the money we have, which let's just say isn't a lot, to put in temporary holding tanks this spring, until the testing for the larger more expensive system is complete, which takes about two years.  We decided that we would try to rent our home and move to a more ideal location for our family.

Long story short -- we decided to pull the house off the rental market.  It just wasn't sitting with us right.  It was causing stress that didn't need to be there.  To be honest, I don't understand it.  But one thing I've learned that sometimes being obedient to God doesn't always involve understanding or even agreement.  So now we will wait a few months and try again after Madi finishes out her school year.

Being obedient is so difficult, especially when there isn't clear understanding -- but the peace that comes from being in the exact place God wants us is amazing.

It's all good.

In September I took a position at our new church as a member of the creative arts team.  Basically, I get to be creative and use the gifts that God has given me.  I do writing, a little graphic design and a bit of photography.  I am extremely blessed to be a part of an amazing team.  The story how this job came about is for a whole other post, but again, God just has this way of putting all the details into place in my life.  Very cool.

Jayden is blowing us all away.  His mind is healing and his personality is blooming.  His frequent smile tells a story that would warm the coldest soul -- he is thriving!  This week Jayden received his first set of hearing aids.  Jayden is considered to have severe neural hearing loss due to his brain trauma.  Yes, he can hear, but it is very difficult for him to comprehend what he is hearing.  We have found both through home observation and testing in a hearing booth that he responds much better when the sounds are louder, at all frequencies.  His face was amazing after we put on the hearing aids.  He quickly lifted up his head, raised his eye brows and look side to side and gave us his happy face!  So excited to see where this leads him and how his world is going to change.

This week something clicked in Angela.  We have been trying to teach her how to walk in a gait trainer for the past two years. All the sudden within a three day time span she started to move -- as in move everywhere!  Angela is so amazing.  This week on the 10th we will celebrate two years since we brought her home forever.  Thinking back on those first few months I can't even fathom how far she has come.  To think that God has allowed us to call her our own -- saying thank you to him doesn't even touch my gratefulness.  This little girl is not the same child we met December 2010.  So happy to watch as Angela senses a deep pride in all her new found mobility!

Madison is having a great year at school -- her best yet!  She was described at our parent teacher meeting as being compassionate and full of confidence -- that's our girl.  The teacher explained that somehow Madison is able to identify the kids in the class who just need a little extra or need a friend and she immediately puts them under her wing.  That doesn't surprise me.  What makes me even proud, is that while having that deep compassion she still has total confidence and is willing to go against the crowd to help  a friend.  

There you have it.  Welcome to our world.  God continues to do amazing things in our life and the lives of our children. To think back on how this all started, on how God took the most horrific of situations and turned it into a blog post such as this -- totally mind blowing.