terrifying and amazing

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“If it’s both terrifying and amazing, then you should definitely pursue it.” What an accurate portrayal of adoption. Amazing AND terrifying. We have a travel phone call scheduled with our agency this week, to discuss details and recommendations for while we are in Guinea and Senegal. (We will be traveling to Conakry to have giving and receiving ceremony with the orphanage and village, and then fly to Dakar, Senegal for visa appointments.) When we ask our agency to predict the timeframe for when we might be traveling, there are still no answers, and they are afraid to guess. Until we have an official appointment with the embassy in Dakar, they will not give us estimated dates for travel. The meeting this week is just to prepare us, and encourage us to start planning for our trip, vaccines, etc.

We have been waiting for this conversation for years. Some days, I wake up and mourn the fact that our son is not yet home with us. That someone else has the opportunity to shape and influence his little 3-year-old life, not us. And yet, now that we are in the midst of having these conversations, it is all becoming so real, and I feel terrified. It is the strangest feeling to want something so badly, but also be terrified. Surrender. Faith. Grace. Those 3 words have been and will continue to be my mantra through this process.

So we prepare, and we wait. We were told to plan as much as $5,000 per person for travel. Yes, PER PERSON. (What?!) This is because we need flights that are flexible for changes, since visa appointments (and this process in general) can be unpredictable. We have been so generously supported in our journey with fundraising to bring our little guy home, and we are so thankful. We are doing one last adoption fundraiser to help us with the travel costs to bring our son home. There are 5,864 miles from Guinea to Denver. Our goal is to raise $1 per mile traveled on the flight back home with our son. Would you consider purchasing “miles” to help us with his travel costs? Click here to donate for miles. We will keep our “mileage” fundraising efforts updated on our donate page. Thank you all for your generous support. I don’t even have the words to say how grateful we are.

Thank you for being part of this long journey with us. We can’t wait until we have him home, and can look back on all of this with all of our family and friends, seeing God’s faithfulness through it all.

Aubrie, Ben, and

progress.

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For Christmas this year, my family decided that we wanted to give the kids at our son’s orphanage a Christmas celebration, and provide them with some needed supplies, a good meal, and some goodies for the kids. Our agency’s on the ground representative in Guinea was able to facilitate this, and she took photos and videos for us of the celebration. We were able to watch our son play, dance, eat, and even thank us personally on a little video, saying “merci maman et papa!” My heart bursted. Until now, we weren’t quite sure if he had even been told much about us. It appears that not only does he know about us, but he knows that we are his mom and dad. Words could not describe the flood of mixed emotions as we watched these videos.

The same day that we received the videos of their celebration, we also learned that we finally have movement on our case! Our file has been released from the Ministry, and is now in the court system to be processed and finalized! We have been waiting what feels like forever for this to happen, so to receive this news within the first couple of days this year, we are feeling so grateful. We have been asked by many of our friends and family what this means in terms of timing for when we will be able to travel and bring him home. Unfortunately, our adoption case has not followed suit in regards to the “typical” process or timing, so we are afraid to have expectations around this. However, the typical timeframe for court is about 3-4 months to process through. Once that is done, we can apply for his visa documents which takes about a month. We are praying that we will be able to bring him home by mid-year this year. While that still feels like such a long time to wait, we are thankful for progress. Prayers for a quick and smooth process from this point forward would be appreciated. We are eager to bring our little man home. Thanks for all of your love and support. We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

surrender. and honey.

Great faith doesn't come out of great effort, but out of great surrender.

Yes, we are still waiting. It’s hard to find the words to describe the feeling when you thought you would have your son home in April or May, and it is now October, snowing outside, and he’s still not here. I’m sitting here staring at the screen without quite the right words to say. The only word that comes to mind is Jesus. There have been big mountains to climb, and barriers to cross since our agency lost their accreditation. New relationships with the embassy had to be established, new processes, investigations, relationships in Guinea re-built, accreditation established, approval documents being revoked and then re-issued, and the list goes on. It’s honestly been a tornado of confusion and unknowns. But just when we are about to lose hope… Jesus. All I know is that I have never seen the hand of God so clearly as I have in the last few months, with each new day new, and one step forward at a time. It is the small steps that have been made over the last few months that remind me that the fight to bring him home is not over. Lord willing, we will bring him home. It has been a heart process of surrender. Over and over again. Surrender. In the depths of my heart, I know that God cares for this little boy even more than I do. I know that his sovereign plan for him is perfect. Surrender.

In other news, the costs for our adoption are now even higher because of documents needing to be re-translated, agency transfer fees, and new investigation reports. It seems that there is always something else needing to be done that costs money in order to move forward. But, we are all in, and there’s no turning back. We are determined to bring him home. AND… we have HONEY! We just harvested the honey from our hives. So, just like we did last year, we will be taking donations for our honey that will go towards our adoption costs. (We suggest $10 per 8oz jar, but you can decide however much you’d like to give). If you are looking for the best honey you will ever eat, look no further. I’m serious. It’s delicious. And makes a great Christmas gift! If you would like to reserve a jar(s), please let me know (and how many) ASAP, as it will be first come first serve until we run out.

I know this update is short, with not a lot of answers. I will continue to share updates as we have them. Keep our little guy in your prayers. Thanks for all of your support. Your love and prayers are felt.

Ben, Aubrie, and Bellamy

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waiting

Our willingness to wait reveals the value we place on what we are waiting for.

Hi everyone, Ben here. It’s been a long ride for us and we appreciate all of your thoughts and prayers. We have had a lot of people asking about our son and the adoption, wondering when we will be able to travel to Guinea to get him. To be honest, it’s hard for us to talk about right now because we still don’t have any clear answers. We originally thought we would be traveling in April or May, but those months came and went with no new updates. It’s a long story, but the short version is that our adoption agency lost their accreditation to no fault of their own. Our government continues to make international adoption more and more difficult for families. On the other side of things, there are some other challenges we have been faced with in Guinea and their government. We have been transferred to a new adoption agency and they have been wonderful to work with. However, there are quite a few legal matters and even some things that are not fully understood, that are putting a hold on our adoption. We still do not have a time frame of any kind. We could travel as early as September, but it could be much longer. We really have no idea. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers. This process is starting to take its toll on us emotionally, but we are encouraged by the love and support of all of our friends, and we know God will take care of our son while we are still waiting to meet him. We have faith, and trust in God’s plan for our lives and for his. We love you all.

hope.

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I apologize that it has been a while since our last update. There have been some curveballs in the typical process at this point, with a lot of unknowns. At this time, the current situation in Guinea is still rocky, with lots of uncertainty about how some of the local strikes and protests have been impacting our adoption process, but it certainly has slowed things down. In addition, there have been some issues locally here in the US with the renewal of accreditation for our agency. The COA has suspended their Hague accreditation without reason.Our agency is doing everything they can to work around this so that their families can move forward, but it has been a complicated process. This video does a great job of explaining what is going on here locally in the US in regards to International Adoptions:

For more information, visit saveadoptions.org.

We also were notified yesterday that although our court case should have started 2 months ago when our article 5 letter was produced, it is still sitting in an office waiting on one signature to get started. I can’t go into more detail, but we believe in the power of many people praying. Would you pray with us that our file would be signed soon? The court process is lengthy and has not even started. We are specifically praying for the necessary signature to move forward gets done this week. Would you pray this along with us?

We will be writing another large check this week to our agency for the in-country fees. This is scary because we know that we are doing all of this in faith and hope for the end result of bringing our son home with so much uncertainty. We also still have about $7,000 needed to cover the costs. If you would like to help, you can donate here.

Our hearts are heavy waiting to bring our son home. We believe God’s timing is perfect, but it still is hard. We will continue to share progress on our case. Thank you for being part of this journey with us.

happy birthday, my son.

Today is the day you were born 3 years ago, and yet, we still haven’t met. It’s a bittersweet day as I sit here and think of the moment you were born, your life in between then and now, and what you might be doing today. I wish we could surprise you with your favorite activity, yummy birthday treats, and just snuggle you up and tell you how special you are. How lucky we are to be your parents. Happy Birthday, my son. We love you, and can’t wait until the day we get to bring you home.

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Seasons and Assignments

It’s my 31st birthday today. Birthdays are often a moment to reflect on the last year of your life, and a moment looking ahead to the next. This birthday in particular, feels like it’s going to be the biggest year of change that I’ve ever experienced. I’m sitting here with a sleeping 2 month old boy on my chest, while reflecting on the miracle that he is. Over the last year, I got to experience growing this little guy in my belly, all of the wonder that comes with growing a human, and waiting in expectation. He decided to show up 3 weeks early, and the last 2.5 months have been a blur of both the most amazing experience, and the most challenging that we have ever experienced. I’m sure most new parents can relate to that! The day we came home from the hospital, this new identity of “mom” sure felt pretty foreign, and like a big role to fill. Within an hour of coming home with our little babe, I was also notified that my department at work was being eliminated. Wow. Not only was I now “mom,” I no longer had the career to return to that I had worked so hard for. I am still learning what my new normal is, and taking one day at a time to discover what life holds for me outside of my new mama life. The reality is that in just a short few months, we will also be bringing home our son from Guinea. This new mom role is going to completely change once there are 2 little ones to care for around here.

I think as humans, we can get consumed with thoughts about what our “calling” or “purpose” is in life. Recently, I have found myself thinking about this a lot lately with so many changes taking place. Pursuing our “calling” in life can be so rewarding, but what gets confusing is when you can’t figure out what that is. I can’t remember where I first heard this, but someone once told me not to think of your life as having one “purpose” or having one “calling,” but to view life in “assignments.” That with each new season and change in life, we have specific “assignments” for that time. I don’t know what my professional life holds for me in the near future, but I do know that at this season in life, I am focusing on my assignment as “mom.” I am settling into that idea, that over the next few months, life is about to change significantly AGAIN, as we bring a 3 year old home. I am lucky that I get the chance to take on such an important role, mothering our 2 boys.

We can’t wait to bring our oldest son home. The day he joins our family forever. We are currently waiting on a letter from the embassy, and then the court process can commence, which typically takes 2-3 months. We’re getting close! At this point, we are still about $6000 away from being able to make this possible. On my birthday today, my hope is to complete our son’s adoption puzzle. Every bit helps bring us closer! We still have 38 puzzle pieces up for grabs for $20 each to complete the puzzle we will give to our son to show him how many people loved him even before we all knew him! Would you consider sponsoring a puzzle piece in honor of my birthday? Click here to sponsor a puzzle piece, or for more information.

Life sure is different these days. The house is messier, I may not have showered today, the bank account balance might be lower, time to myself, with friends, or alone with Ben might be far and few between, but the snuggles are constant, the smiles are the brightest, and my heart is full. Happy Birthday to me, the new mom who is learning what 31 looks like on her.

Photo of our sweet little boy:

 
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