Our family is growing

The Laib family is growing. And no, not in my belly. Or from the foster care system although we hope to add some children to our family that way, one day. This weekend our friend Niki moved in. Justin and I met Niki about six weeks ago when we took our high school students to a camp in Wisconsin called Expeditions Unlimited. Niki was interning their for the summer and she was one of the staff that worked our trip. She helped us kayak, rock climb, navigate obstacles, and served our students tirelessly day in and day out. Niki and I connected right away and got to talk about life quite a bit the five days we were there. After our group left, Niki finished out her internship and then returned home to Illinois.

Niki
Jenn

Niki is 22 years old and just graduated from college. Her life thus far had has plenty of challenges but she is a person who is choosing to trust Jesus and His plan for her life. Prior to this weekend her living situation was not healthy or ideal for a twenty-two year old woman and moving back in with her biological family was not an option. After many conversations and feeling like it was the right move to make, Justin and I invited Niki to come live with us. And she accepted. 

Some of you know that we already have another girl living with us named Jenn. Jenn is twenty-one and has been living with us for about 14 months. Jenn is a part of our family and is like a big sister to Cooper. We've loved having her in our home and love that she was so willing to give up her own room to share a room with a new friend. 

So Niki and Jenn now share what used to be Justin's office, just off of the garage. It's got a "girl's dorm room" kind of feel. I had fun decorating it and getting it ready for Niki to move in. We got to do a "reveal" of sorts. Justin met with Niki at Starbucks on Saturday night to let her know that we wanted to invite her to live in our home. When they came back, Jenn and I were waiting at the garage to show Niki her new room. She had no clue that we had already prepared a space for her, she just assumed she'd be sleeping on the couch for a while. I told her to open the door to her new room and when she did she was in complete shock. The shock was coupled with excitement and a little bit of disbelief that this was really happening. She was practically speechless. It was a fun moment and the perfect time for us to validate our feelings for her. She is loved so much and we are so excited for her to be in our home.

When Justin and I got married I don't think I could've ever imagined that five years into married life we'd have two young women living in our home. But for me, it was such an easy decision, almost second nature, really. They bring so much joy to our home.

When I was 18 years old I had a similar story. My youth pastor and his wife invited me to come and live with them. They recognized that my 18-year-old self needed some stability and a healthy home and they graciously offered that to me. I lived with Greg and Caroline on and off for about 4 years and the time I spent with them was living-changing. I honestly feel like I would be a completely different person today if God hadn't brought Greg and Caroline into my life.

Having Niki and Jenn live with us isn't necessarily an act of me "paying it forward" but rather, me having the desire to add the same value I received from the TeSelles, to someone else's life.

Jenn and Niki's stories are different than mine but we have so many things in common. The desire to be loved, affirmed, and cared for in a safe place. Which is something we all want, don't we?

I'm excited about what the future holds for all five of us.


8 comments:

  1. this just gave me chills. what a beautiful thing to open your home to those in need. totally inspired.

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  2. Thank you Laib's for your constant encouragement to love radically/weirdly. Your life is my accountability.

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  3. that is very cool. You remind me of my sister in law and her husband. They have had someone (adult) living with them the majority of their marriage! For a short time, I was one of them. It's a wonderful thing :)

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  4. Hi Courtney...we havent really met but I have attended Southfield for over a year now. My husband and I have been married 32 years and have had various friends and family live with us from time to time through the years. In fact, one of my husband's friends needed a place to live when his job transferred up here, but his home was in Effingham. I think our friend Mitch has lived with us for about 5 years now. I also was a Foster child growing up, and wanted to give a home to a child that was in need. We fostered two kids and adopted our son Paul. Paul comes with me from time to time to church and is usually in a Nascar T shirt.....it is a real challenge because most children in DCFS have either been abused or neglected. But we know that Paul was picked out by God for us, and we are thankful that God has given us the courage and strength to take on all the problems that we have been faced with. You and Justin have a very giving heart, and you will be blessed for it. Marvett

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  5. So blessed by you guys! I love you!

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  6. That is awesome. Sounds like fun times in the Laib home!

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  7. What a blessing you're giving these two young ladies. I suspect they'll be blessing you right back...

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  8. wow. that is so awesome. I am a friend of Niki's from college and she is a really nice and awesome girl. Blessing to your entire family!

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