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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it’s a boy (times 2)

IMG_9394.jpgIt’s the morning after our adoption fundraiser, hosted by our amazing friend, Sarah Rice, at Loveland Aleworks. (Thank you Loveland Aleworks for hosting us!) Let’s take a minute to recognize how incredible Sarah is. Out of the goodness of her heart, she planned this event for us, and poured her love into every detail. Thank you, Sarah! Also a huge shout out to our friend, Megan Larson, who also helped to organize the event, and created the most awesome guest book map as a gift for our family. Collectively, $2,800 was raised last night to go towards our adoption costs!! This would not have been possible without the help of so many local businesses and individuals who donated items for our silent auction, and all of our friends and family who made it out to the event last night. We are so honored.

Last night was a special moment for us, for so many reasons. Being around those we love, as we had the opportunity to share the announcement about the child that will be joining our family. I am so happy, humbled, honored, and excited to announce that we will be adopting a boy from Guinea who is 2.5 years old. Yes, that means that we will be having 2 boys! One due in December, and one that we will be traveling to Guinea to bring home sometime next year. All the paperwork has been signed, and now we wait on the Central Authority in Guinea to issue more required documentation. Our hearts are overflowing.

Many of you asked about where we are at in our fundraising process last night. Before the event, we had invested over $10,000 personally into the process, and over the last several months, we’ve raised $13,805 in donations and grants. This put us at about $12,695 left. After the event last night, (raising $2,800!) we are now at $9,895 remaining in our adoption costs. This number seems large, but we are without a doubt that our son is meant to be part of our family. We are committed to careful saving, and creative ways to raise the remainder of this total to bring our son home. If you were not able to make it out to the event last night, but still wanted to contribute, click here to learn more about how you can donate. We do still have puzzle pieces left to sponsor, or you can make a general donation.

We can’t thank those of you who have been supporting us in this journey enough. Last night, I was thinking about how excited I’ll be to share these stories with our kids, about how much they are loved, that so many people would help to bring our son home from Guinea, so that we could be a complete family, all together. Our sons having the opportunity to grow up here in our home as brothers is going to be a miracle that each one of you has been a part of. We are truly humbled. Thank you.

Check out some photos from the event last night in the slideshow below!

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update – backyard honey for sale

It’s been a while since we’ve shared a fundraising update. Many of you have contributed to our puzzle fundraiser (THANK YOU!!!). If you’ve been reading our blog updates for a while, you have seen the breakdown of our adoption costs with the overall total of over $37,300 that bringing our little one home will cost (Click here for more information on the breakdown of costs if you missed it).

We’ve already personally contributed over $10,000, and through our puzzle fundraiser, we’ve been able to raise $8,530!! We’ve also had additional anonymous donations come in, totaling $2,000. This means that we still have puzzle pieces left, so there are still spots available if you would like to have your name added to the puzzle we will be gifting to our adopted child! Click here for more information about the puzzle and to donate. This also means that we have about $16,770 remaining in costs to save up and fundraise towards. This might seem like a lot, but it is less than half of the total cost, and every bit helps us get closer to bringing our child home!

We are excited to start a new little fundraiser! Many of you know that we have bees, and we just harvested this years’ honey from our hives! This is the most delicious honey our bees have ever made! We are selling 8oz jars of raw, unfiltered, backyard honey for a suggested donation of $10 minimum each, but you can donate however much you’d like for this liquid yumminess. Our stock is limited to only 50 jars, so it’s a first come, first serve situation. We also will not be able to ship, so you must be local, or planning to come visit sometime soon J (sorry, out of town friends). We will be posting via social media, and you can reserve a jar (or however many you’d like) by commenting on the facebook or instagram post, just make sure to include how many you want. If you aren’t a social media person, you can just email me at aubrienichole@gmail.com and let me know you want one. Since this is a first come, first served situation, we will reserve for the first 50 names, and let everyone know when they are gone. We’ll send you a message back for how to pay (donations can be tax deductible),and how we can get the honey to you.

Thanks friends and family for all your support! We couldn’t do this without all of the amazing people in our lives. Love you guys!

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closer. weak and strong.

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There has been some progress with our agency over the last couple of weeks that we can’t fully disclose details around, but the reality of moving closer to bringing our child home from Guinea is front and center. This last week, we have been processing the fact that our distant “yes” to adoption has now become a closer, and not-so-comfortable, “yes.” As we have these discussions with our agency, I feel unprepared, ill-equipped, and insufficient to mother two children of different ages and backgrounds as a new parent, jumping into so many unknowns all at once. On a run yesterday, I was praying. I told God that I don’t know if I am enough for this, or even the best person for this job. In that moment I was reminded that it is not about who I believe that I am, but about who HE says that I am, and who HE is. This was a humbling reminder that all we can do is take one step after another, and put our TRUST in a powerful God that will provide for our needs along the way. His plan is so much bigger than we could have ever imagined, and leaning into that is scary. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says,  “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. “ vs. 10 says “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

In our weak, uncomfortable “yes,” we are strong.