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The Godfrey’s – Family of Seventeen

April 14, 2017 , , s-cphotography.com

Before Agnès and Israël-Luc got married in 1998, they decided that they wanted to help children. They didn’t have a plan for how they would help, or how God would use them, but they knew this was something they had in their hearts.

After they got married at 20 years old and had 5 children, the doctor told Agnès she could not get pregnant again because of issues with her health. It could be dangerous for her or the baby. So, they said, “Okay, we get the message.” Then, about 1 year later God sent them a beautiful 8.5-month old boy, Khaël that was in desperate need of a family all the way from Vietnam!  The agency warned them that he might be autistic, he might have issues, they couldn’t say for sure. Agnès and Israël-Luc didn’t even have to stop and think or pray, they just looked at each other and said: “yes of course!” Only three weeks later, Khaël was home with them. 2.5 years later, they got Josue from Honduras. At the beginning when they heard about Josué, all the agencies were saying how complicated and expensive it would be to adopt him and both parents would have to travel twice. So, they decided to try and find him a family where the process would be smoother and easier. Agnès and Israël-Luc told the agency if they can’t find him a family we are ready to be his. Five months later, they heard that they were still searching for a family for Josué. At this point, they were desperately looking for a family for this little boy. Agnès and Israël-Luc called right away, and told them to stop fooling around and that they would take him in. They said, “So what if it’s too expensive? It’s God sending us a child.” From the very beginning, they have had an extremely profound conviction in their hearts that this is what they wanted to do, and what God has called them to do. They knew that God would provide in every way to make an impossible situation like this, possible. They were told the process would cost about $35,000. After only three months of having Josué in their family, everything was paid! Israël-Luc says, “We never budgeted, we never started the process with the money beforehand. When God tells you to do something, he’s going to look like a fool if he doesn’t provide, so he will.” When they got Josué, they had put their name in for a draw with Orphan’s Hope to win a $10,000 grant for an international adoption. They would put their names in all sorts of draws and contests and never win anything. Unexpectedly, for the very first time they won!! Agnès and Israël-Luc chose to adopt Josué regardless of whether they would win the contest or not. Trust and faith were enough for them. Agnès says, “I love the saying that says you can’t claim to walk on water if you’re still standing in the boat. You have to step out of the boat, move forward towards something and watch God fill in, come in and take your hand.” “God sends opportunities our way, and so we just have to say yes.” The Godfreys have been adopting for 10 years, and as of 2017, they have 15 children! “We never planned. Kids just pop up, you know? Isn’t that what happens with everybody? Hahaha” – Agnès

In the beginning, friends, co-workers, Christians they worked with, social workers and even adoption agencies doubted and questioned them because adopting that many kids doesn’t make sense. But that’s what’s so beautiful about it. Making something impossible, unrealistic and abnormal, possible in the most gracious, loving and humbling way. Even professional doctors and psychiatrists don’t understand what is happening to their family. They say it’s not possible, yet it’s happening. You can’t put that many age groups or mentalities in one house and produce that kind of peace, but with God’s peace – it’s a totally different story. I asked the Godfrey family to give me one word that describes their family. One of their children said “crazy!”. Another said “a miracle”, and lastly one of their little boys said “Godfrey”. Such a clever kid!

Agnès responded with: “I often think about our family as a rainbow, because we are all different colors, sizes, from different countries and backgrounds, and there’s also part of that rainbow that is from God’s promise. Il y a un alliance avec dieu qui est la.”

Israël-Luc’s response: “Freedom. Freedom to express our love for Christ. One of the big burdens in Christianity is trying to live somebody else’s faith, and by that, you’re not free. You’re entangled with the expression of your peers and not your own. Our relationship with Christ is based on our freedom in the sense that I get to know who He is and then I can freely express my love. As I get to know my wife, I learn to love her more and more freely.  I’m not being scared of whether she’s going to like it or not. Our family for me is our free expression of being loved by God and loving him back. And our agenda is not necessarily to put a burden on people to express their love for God the same way that we do. It could be, but we rather see it as each individual finding their own expression of their love.” People keep telling Agnès that she should write a book on raising kids. Agnès says, “Are you crazy? I could write 15 books and they would never work for your child. Because they’re all different.” Having so many different personalities in a family is challenging, but that’s what causes them to grow stronger as a family. The routines always change; it’s evolution at its best! The Godfrey family definitely faces stressful moments of not knowing what tomorrow will bring. The best part is, in these moments God intervenes in a way that makes them want to re-live it all over again. They love the adventure of not knowing what is to come and seeing God’s hand intervene so that they can give Him all the glory and praise, and not themselves. They don’t have a choice but to say “God took us through this.”  It’s a similar sensation when you ride a rollercoaster. Israël-Luc says, “You know when you go on a rollercoaster and it goes really quickly, and then at the end, you can finally breathe? It’s like that with these challenges. After you’ve tasted that, you want it again.”

When people say it’s impossible, it’s too big, they are right. That’s why they need God in their everyday life. God showed them that all their worries and all their stress are just in vain. He’s taking care of it. Many times they tried to make things work for a time that they thought was perfect, but God continuously shows them that His timing is perfect. All of their adoption stories from beginning to the end were impossible. You never adopt a child in 3 weeks …never… and it happened. A child that has a medical file that says he has a high possibility of special disorders and in the end is fully healthy – it never happens. Khaël’s adoption didn’t cost anything. Josué’s adoption only took a year. Honduras has a very long process to have the official paperwork done. Having it done in one year precisely was impossible, but it happened. “So that is the addictive part of it. When you face something impossible, we start to think well…let’s see how God fixes it!”