There’s something about the Nabb’s house that just feels like home.
Maybe it’s the smell of freshly brewed coffee, the toddler teetering around with an orange in her hand, the two kiddos sitting at the dining room table working on their school work or the morning sunlight filtering into the living room where we sat and chatted.
By the end of our time together, I knew what made their home feel so welcoming – love. Now, before you jump to any conclusions or start asking about what philosophical kind of love I’m talking about, just read this story.
Jason and Cindy Nabb have been married for nearly 17 years. They have eight children ranging in age from 18 to almost 2 years old. But Jason and Cindy don’t have a typical love story, and certainly not a love story that they thought would lead them to where they are now.
“She was dating one of my friends when I met her,” said Jason, he and Cindy looked at each other and laughed.
That’s basically how their story went. They were two dysfunctional youngsters who had an extremely broken and dysfunctional relationship.
Their early love history had a weird pattern. Date, get engaged, break up, drink, date, break up, drink some more, don’t talk, get pregnant with somebody else, just friends, don’t talk.
Cindy said on the day they were supposed to get married (the first time) they met up and got coffee in Lincoln before she traveled to Minneapolis and Jason moved to Tulsa. They literally couldn’t have been going in more opposite directions.
But then Cindy gave birth to her baby, Olivia, and called Jason to tell him she had become a mommy. He got the message after he’d been at a Super Bowl party and thought to himself, ‘What am I doing?!’
The next year, on their would-have-been one-year anniversary, Jason asked Cindy to marry him in front of their entire church in Lincoln.
A year later, Jason started the paperwork to adopt Olivia.
As Jason and Cindy told their story, I watched as their daughter Ashley sat quietly and listened. It didn’t look like the first time she’d heard this story, because she kept smiling, looking as if she was glad she knew the way the roller coaster of a tale would end.
But getting married wasn’t the end of Jason and Cindy’s love story. If anything it was the beginning. They went on to have five more biological children – Simon, Isaac, Meredith, Ashley and Sam – and a few weeks ago they adopted two more children from foster care.
The Nabbs have a full house, and you don’t even want to know their monthly grocery budget. Cindy said a lot of people who don’t know them look at her like she’s crazy to have this many children, but the people who know them understand that it just makes sense because they know Jason and Cindy.
When they bought their current house, they knew they wanted it to be a place they shared with others. Sure, they had a big family, but they also had extra room.
They opened up their basement to a single mom and her daughter who stayed with them for a season. It was a sad, difficult and messy situation, but it didn’t scare them out of serving.
“We want our kids to know that there’s a sacrifice that comes with serving,” Jason said. “There are people who need help and they’re worth sacrificing for.”
This is when the Nabbs seriously started considering foster care.
“Especially coming from the backgrounds that we have…we feel so redeemed,” Cindy said. “Why wouldn’t we want to give that to someone else in return?”
After going through the process of getting licensed, the Nabbs received lots of calls for kids to be placed in their home. The call that led to a placement was for two sisters who were 3-months and 3-years-old.
And so it began. Therapy appointments, learning assessments, meeting with and encouraging the girls’ biological parents, talking through the situation with their children, praying.
It was a hard situation to enter into. It was hard on their marriage and their family. It was sad to see the stories of two, young girls and their parents struggling and oftentimes failing, but it also showed and taught them how to love more deeply.
“I think of commitment as a synonym for love more than anything else,” Cindy said. “You don’t change your commitment to your kids or your spouse because circumstances change.”
It’s about choosing to love, despite your weaknesses.
Their love and decision to love led them to the courthouse on January 19, 2016 to make Crystal Elizabeth and Luna Isabel part of their family.
Jason and Cindy said they didn’t set out to adopt – they also didn’t set out to have six biological children – but that’s the beauty of it all, right?
They would be the first to tell you that they haven’t loved well at all times, they’re not perfect, but love is a big part of their story.
The Nabb’s story is one that’s about more than the mushy, gushy love that quickly feels artificial.
Their story is about an imperfect love for each other, the overwhelming love of their community and the unfailing love of a God who multiplies their love for one another.