Monday, August 22, 2016

Living with "At Risk" Faith...

What does living with "At Risk" faith look like to you? 
Im honored to share our story of what that looks like for our family.
My name is Michelle and I am married to my high school sweetheart. Cliche I know... I feel very blessed to be able to say that we have been married for 15 years. We have six kids 3 girls and 3 boys.
Our journey to walking with faith started 5 years ago. We were your typical american family. Craftsman style home, golden lab, three little girls. We had toys to use on the weekends and lived life very comfortable. We read a book called "Crazy Love" by Francis Chan. This book changed our lives we knew something was missing. We felt the calling to Adopt. Adoption can make you have many type of feelings. Yet we had no clue what "at risk" type of faith we were going to need. Everyone around us was very excited a little hesitant and worried what it might look like for our girls. We knew it was what we were supposed to do. So we sold all our toys and dedicated our lives to this new adventure to adoption. June, 2011 we got our first placement, a three month old who was so cute and chubby. He could light up a room with his sweet face. We enjoyed him and thought, "Wow this was easy." The girls loved feeding him and playing with him. 5weeks later we were told he was going back. So naive, we couldn't believe he was leaving. A very hard goodbye placing this sweet baby into the social workers car. Ok God, "What are you doing to our family? We just set out to love this sweet baby and you knew he would leave" Our girls who were 8,5,3 were crushed needless to say. Tyler and I thought we are never doing that again. Adoption is and was hard work and we don't know if we were cut out for that. Then 5 months later we got placement of a five year old and a newborn 4 pound baby who was in the nicu.Totally not in our plans of adoption since we said we just wanted a baby and our daughter was 5 at the time also. Well those two became best friends and Tyler and I nursed the little baby back to health. 11 months with these sweet boys who we thought were going to adoptions never thinking they would go back. Yet in the back of our mind knew we were living the "At Risk" faith. We still loved those boys hard and gave them a life they didn't have. We weren't perfect but we were a family full of love. A phone call would change everything the boys are going back to a Grandmother. I fell to my knees sobbing and could hardly breathe. How am I going to tell this sweet boy who calls me Mommy he is going back? How am I going to tell my girls? By the grace of God I was able to tell them not without a lot of tears. We had a goodbye party for the boys. Our church family, family, friends came and they knew why. It was a bittersweet day but so grateful to everyone who came. This little boy was seeing everyone who loved them just for the short time they were there. That next day is one to hard to write about, saying goodbye is never easy and how do you say goodbye knowing you won't see them anymore. Then just like that they were gone, driving away in a white car with our social worker. We walked into the house and all five of us got in the car and left for the weekend. We couldn't be home. There was anger, sadness, disbelief but through it all we knew God knew what he was doing better than us.That is what kept me going. Then 6 months later in 2103, we were placed with our three boys who are now adopted and a major part of this family. They were going to be split up but we said "yes" knowing yet again the "At Risk" faith we were going to have to live by. God knew this whole time our three boys were in waiting. It took major bumps in the road and hardship to get their but he knew. Three little boys who were 1,2,3 and didn't speak much english and had long hair. Everyone around us thought we were crazy to add three more and to still go though it with after all our family had been through. We just knew we were called to it and knew God has his hand in the whole thing. I mean we had already been through the worst. In having them for a little bit later that year we dealt with another compromising situation. Considering not going though it our 6 year old said something to us that taught me more than she will ever know. She said "I would rather them stay and love them than to have them leave and not to have love them at all." I couldn't believe it, she was so right. Our girls were learning about what it means to love others and that this life isn't all about them. They have learned what most adults still don't get. Three years later and being a family of eight it hasn't been roses but here is what it has been. Major counseling to peel layers and layers for some of us, working through bonding which didn't happen right away. Missing out on a lot because we were trying to become a family even though we started as strangers. My boys didn't ask to be orphans and to be out in this situation and to have to deal with some loss as they get older and understand. But God has put us in their lives to love them and guide them through life and break the cycle which was placed in their lives. On the hardest days they still  don't ever amount to the really great ones. Taking my boys cupcakes to their classes for their birthdays and seeing their tiny little faces light up. Having their dad coach their sports teams and know he is their biggest cheerleader. They have three sisters who are their biggest supporters, and act like their older sisters(ha). They are surrounded by friends and family who love them and want to get to know who these three little boys are and who they will become. Never in my life did I think having "At Risk" faith would mean Mommy to 6 and drive a 12 passenger van. 
Just last week I was laying out in the pool with my baby boy and enjoying him while others our at school thriving because we "said YES GOD we will live "At risk" for you."

So my dear sweet friend whatever your "At Risk" faith is, remember on those really hard moments and  days, really best ones are right around the corner. I know this because I am living it.
XOXO, Michelle  
You can follow our crazy journey on my blog or on my Instagram @napiernest

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? 
If God is for us, who can be against us?
Romans 8:31

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Sometimes I forget what we went through.

It has been a long time since I have written in my blog, hence the six kids, a husband, sports and just life in general. This morning I felt compelled to write. I was thinking back to five years ago and where our family was. Just Ty and I and our three young girls who were 8, 5, 2. Life was just simple and we did things as we pleased, vacationed as we wanted and I hosted parties and dinners at my home often. During that season of life we were simply sailing and our biggest test was when we were going to take our trailer out or when our next Disneyland trip was. But in February of that year Ty and I felt it was time to leave our home church, for no specific reason at all. There was nothing wrong just time for us to leave. Tyler and I had been a huge part of the church and Tyler headed up the youth group for almost 7 years, we loved that church and everyone in it, yet something was just changing in us. We started our new church we are at now and everything in us changed. Adoption came into our life. I never really thought of adoption, it wasn't something I wanted since I was a little girl and knew I would always do it. It just wouldn't leave my mind. There were two people in this church that had just joined the foster/adoption community. Long story short I knew this was a feeling that I could simply shake off knew I was called to do this, my husband not so much. Ty at first didn’t feel the same way I did about it. I just asked him to pray about it and he did. We didn't talk about it much but I continued to pray about it. Then one day Ty told me he was ready for me to call the agency and let's do this. I was so naive not and didn’t have a clue what we were about to walk into. We just thought we were going to adopt a tiny baby and save the world. Boy do I wish I had someone there to really kick the living air out of us to really show us what we were about to endure. We told all our family and friends some had positive reactions and some did not. I get it, adoption is either one of two things “Wow you guys are amazing” or “You are crazy”. Either way we had no clue what we were getting into we just trusted God to lead us. So that year we welcomed a three month old little boy and loved him. He was so precious and the girls loved playing with him. Then 5 weeks later there was a mix up in his case and he went back to his parents. That little boy should have never been removed in the first place. Either way we were so crushed. Ty went to court and he called me to break the news and the girls and I had 15 minutes to say good bye. How do you say goodbye to something you have fallen in love with in 15 minutes. You can already guess what that looked like for all of us. Not a good day in the books for at the Napier's.  Remember I said, we were naive we had no clue about the system and how it all worked but we were getting to see what it was like. I mean we were ready to take this little boy as our own and love him. So we were fragile to say the least. Five months later we get a call for a 5 year old little boy and a brand new baby who was still being cared for at the NICU and still going through with-drawls. Ok God we will say yes even though we just signed those adoption papers for one baby. Wow just wow those two little boys entered our lives and we just did life, the hard, the good the bad and the ugly. A year with them and and working so hard to get the baby through 16 hours of screaming, night sweats being comfortable and a 5 year old who now had a new family to be with. Three little girls who were just loving these boys and had taken a back seat to what was normal to them with just Mom and Dad. That year was full of “firsts” for this five year old. Disneyland, the beach, family bbq's, water parks, a family and a real birthday party. Being able to see a child see things for the first time is something you can't explain. Most of us take for granted what we introduce our kids to even the littlest things like the park that has swings. A birthday party with family and cousins was too much because he had never had one. But yet to us that was normal but to him not normal at all. That year will be one we will never forget. God had other plans for them because they went back to a family member out of state. That goodbye was one we still don't talk about much because it was too much for humans to process or understand. A goodbye that you knew was permanent. Our church family came to say goodbye our friends and family came out to say goodbye. Everyone there knew why they were there but kept the great face to be there for us and that sweet little boy and his baby brother. A lot of praying happened and no sleep was had, that next day we said our last goodbyes. A lot to read I know sometimes I forget we did that. Well we were done adopting or whatever we were trying to do. How could we put our kids through that anymore and ourselves. Six months later after hard, hard days and getting back to life. A phone call changed our lives forever. Three little boys were in need of a home and we were the last on the list before they were going to have to split them. She was having a hard time placing three boys in one homer. I get it, three is hard and at one time. We said yes and our lives have never been the same since, with the good and bad. Those three boys are ours and these three years have shaped and molded all of us into ways most people might never get to. We have been stripped to our core with emotions, life changes and everyday changes. Our three girls love like no one I have ever met. Our three boys have changed our hearts for the better even on the days we doubt our every move. Our family has had to come together so tight through very hard circumstances. I know people look at us and think why would we got through all of this and say well you chose this. You are right, we chose do to this because if it's not us then who? I couldn't even imagine where my three boys would be if not here with us. Yes adding three more children to your family is pure crazy. I will tell you this, our girls lead the whole way to our boys being here they would never want it to be any other way. At the beginning when there were hiccups and we got scared the girls would say it’s better to have them here to love them then to not have them here at all if they go back. Five years of stories, lessons and many memories all because we said yes to something bigger than us. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of our story and that loves our family well. Say yes to something bigger than you because there is always a bigger and better plan with it.

Much Love,



Saturday, May 7, 2016

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Adoption and what can come After.

The day you and your family have been waiting for and with all the anticipation it's finally here... The Adoption day.
I mean you went through fire just to get there. It was a beautiful day, they are orphans no longer and they are "yours". Then it hit me like of ton of bricks; what I had envisioned in my head and 
what it would be like was not even close. I mean you go through all the training classes and have all the  
 social worker visits, it was here and real. We aimed to be in this pace of adoption and yet it actually became harder one it was final, I started second guessing myself and everything we just did. We took in three boys and in one  year they were ours. Still all the issues we faced and they were having didn't go away. But I thought once this adoption happened they would. They actually stuck out more and became so much more prevelant. I now had to really take in the fact that I was the one responsible over them for the rest of their lives and that became overwhelming. But adoption is what we knew God wanted us to do.
 Or... did we want to do it? I sank into what I call anxiety of post partum adoption. I didn't like who I was becoming.  My new family we just entwined was really bringing out the ugly in myself. Did I really think I was capabale of doing this? It brought grief and sorrow of what once was, the life we used to have and it wasn't easy to tell you the truth. I now had three little boys who had no idea what was going on around them and we are all trying to bond and it isn't happening. You see it all around, in pictures, movies, blogs and adoption looks amazing and you feel like you are saving the world in a way. When you closed the doors to our home I would cry myself to sleep some days. Why wasn't I loving my kids like should? I mean loving the orphan sounds so nice in the Bible. God says to love them. That should be easy to love a child. My three boys had gone though so much and now I had to help them get though it. And for me I could barely get through most of my days as a new mom of six. I get it now, those exhausted, spent and downright wore out Mama's who have adopted are literally just hanging on by a thread and have been through more than they want to say to protect these little ones. 
Their stories and what they go through isn't ours to tell. 
I can only speak of what our adoption story before and after looked like. 
I see you, Mama, no one see's you or what you are doing in that little one's life, the one who won't let you in and that test every part of your being.  God sees you and you are leaving an imprint in your new child's life. I know everyone will have a opinion about your journey and how you should be doing it. Remember you are the one living it and know what goes on when no one is around. I would encourage you to seek counseling before, during or after you have taken this new journey on. If you see my pictures on social media sometimes or I write about it in my blogs and what we have struggled with. Writing has been an outlet for me. Counseling really helped me and my family and some of my children. I had to know that I wasn't going crazy and I had to work on my own issues. Listen to me adoption is exactly what is says. Adopting something into your life that you have to learn to take in the good, the bad and the ugly. That is why it doesn't happen more because who wants to go there? Who wants to interrupt the life they have going? I used to think everyone should adopt a child, now I would be scared because most couldn’t. Yet everyone can do something for the fatherless. I was asked to write about this topic and I was nervous because you open up something and you don't know how people will respond. Going through what I did was part of my story,  although adoption didn't look like what I pictured. God knew what our family adoption story would look liked and I trust him. 

Keep yourself in an adoption community to surround yourself with the ones "who get it". I don't know what I would do without some of the women in my life. The days can be hard and yet when the good ones are good they are so good. If you are feeling like this; know it’ okay, you are still a great Mom, woman, friend, wife and/or sister. God knew this would be hard thats why he asks for us to do it because he knew loving the orphan would take work, love and dedication. Again I say you aren't alone and you are still a Great Mom. You will get though this, Like my pastor said "Anyone who adopts gets a free pass into heaven in my book" My family has come a long way and in three years we are just now getting each other I would move mountains for my children. My boys are getting a little older and they are starting to understand adoption and what it means. They know they were chosen and we fought for them and will continue to fight for them and will forever be in their corner. Much Love to you that chooses to be the fighter and go through it. The process and what you go through to get there will never be lost or a waste. It will always be worth it.