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