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.

 

and then there were two.

It has been a while since our last update for several reasons, but mostly because I am having a hard time even articulating what is taking place in our lives. Many of you have probably seen updates or photos on social media, sharing the news that we are pregnant. Since the adoption process started, we worked hard to get our paperwork done as quickly as possible, and while we were very consumed in the process, we found out we’re pregnant, just shortly after we turned all of our paperwork over to the agency. I am now 22 weeks, and we just found out that we are expecting a baby boy on Christmas day! After 4 years of trying with no success, accepting that we couldn’t have children biologically, we are still in awe of this incredible surprise miracle.

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Since we announced our pregnancy, we’ve had lots of questions about whether or not we would continue to pursue our adoption. This question always comes as a bit of a surprise for us. There is no question in our minds that our adopted child is supposed to be part of our family just as much as our biological child is.

Adoption was never seen as an alternative to having biological children, or as a solution to our infertility struggle. God used our story of infertility to soften our hearts, and open us up to adoption. As we prayed about adoption, it became clear that a specific child in Guinea was supposed to join our family. Our decision to adopt is not conditional. When we found out we were pregnant, there wasn’t even a second that we thought about changing our adoption plans. The fact that we are now also expecting a biological child in December gives us even further confirmation that God’s plans for us are more than we can even ask or imagine. You see, both of these children were clearly meant to be part of our family. They are both miracles, and will get to share life together as siblings.

To say that we aren’t overwhelmed would be a lie. We know it is going to be challenging navigating all of it. But we are confident that this situation is exactly what God has planned for our lives, and we are choosing to trust the path that we are on, and have seen God’s hand in the details. His faithfulness never ends and His grace and strength are sufficient for our needs.

Some of you have been asking where we are in the adoption process now. Our dossier has now officially been translated and is in Guinea! At this point, we are just waiting to be matched. We will be sure to share updates as we have them! I will be posting here on the blog more regularly now that the word is out, and our agency is up to speed on our family situation.

We are amazed and thankful for all of the love, support, and encouragement that so many of you have given us. Thank you for being a part of our story.

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to the birth mother of our child: happy mothers day

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Adoption is loss. It is gain. It is tragedy. It is blessing. It is pain. It is joy. As we navigate all of these different emotions, I find myself often thinking of our future childs birth mom. I wonder who she is, what she is doing, what her life is like, and sadly, if she is still alive. Life in extreme poverty is hard.

Mama- I don’t know what trials you faced, or any part of your story, and I don’t know that I ever will. But this mothers day, we want to give you honor and recognition. You carried this little child, and your life gave them life. We think of you often, and pray for you.

For those of you reading this, for mothers day this year, would you consider an unconventional gift of making a donation in honor of your mother to our international adoption costs? A donation in honor of your mother, to honor a birth mother who gave life to a beautiful child who needs a forever home. Please click here to donate.

Happy Mothers Day to all the amazing mama’s out there. You are loved.

the process

b36bfb2ad561a6974c5a6314ab32248bMany of our friends and family have questions about what the process is like to adopt from Guinea. It is quite complicated, so I’m going to do my best to give a broad overview. This post will be pretty dry, but for those of you that were curious, here you go! This is about a year-ish long process, and you can see what we’ve already done and have yet to do (anything listed with the ✓ are steps we have already completed);

  1. Apply for adoption with placement agency ✓
  2. Schedule a home study with a local, Colorado-based agency ✓
  3. Submit acceptance documents to placement agency ✓
  4. File for I-800A with USCIS (adoption petition within the US for immigration purposes) ✓
  5. Complete home study (5 interviews with social worker and a home review)✓
  6. Complete all Dossier documents (about 25 different legal documents compiled into a portfolio, all notarized, including a series of medical, psychological exams, and criminal history, etc.)- In progress
  7. Dossier sent off and translated into French
  8. Orphanage reviews documents and sends an official referral for a specific child to us
  9. Once the official match has been made, formal immigration documentation must be approved
  10. A date is set for us to travel to Guinea to appear in court for a completion certificate issues
  11. Travel to Senegal with our child for the visa medical exam and exit interview at the US Embassy
  12. Once in US, file for citizenship
  13. All of our lives changed forever!

We are anxious to get through paperwork and be matched with our child. We pray for this little one every day, and already have so much love for this child we don’t even know yet. Thank you all for your continued prayers and support!

just one

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The orphan crisis is overwhelming. There are 153 million children worldwide who have lost at least one of their parents, and over 17.8 million children who have lost both parents. These numbers don’t include the estimated 2-8 million children living in institutions. They also don’t reflect the massive number of children who are living on the streets, victims of sex trafficking, exploited for labor, or participating in armed groups. There are so many vulnerable children in need of a family.

Going through this adoption process, we are thinking about these vulnerable children on a daily basis. There is a deep sadness that comes with understanding the reality of this worldwide crisis, and having it on our minds each day. It’s hard not to feel helpless. We can’t possibly help them all.

Some of you have probably heard the starfish story before. The story is this;

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a boy picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked: “Young man, what are you doing?”The boy replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”The man laughed to himself and said, “Do you realize there are miles and miles of beach, and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make any difference.”After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the ocean. Smiling at the man, he said, “It made a difference to that one.”

I am grateful for this reminder. While we personally can’t help all of the orphans around the world, we can make a difference for one. Thank you to all of you who have joined alongside us in this journey to make a difference in the life of our little one.

**If you would like to donate to our adoption puzzle, click here for more information.

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With all of your help, we have hit 10% of our puzzle goal! Thank you to everyone who has adopted a piece (or pieces) of our puzzle! If you haven’t had a chance to be a part of it yet, click here for the info on how you can be a part of helping us bring our little one home from Guinea, Africa.

Our adoption story has just begun, but at this time, it is somewhat like a story of being on a road trip, using a map with all of the directions already clearly drawn out for you, getting lost anyway, and discovering a man on the side of the road who points you in a new, more adventurous direction. With a leap of faith, you opt for a journey of the unknown.

Ben and I have both witnessed the orphan crisis firsthand at different times in our lives, in different places. Once you see with your own eyes, it doesn’t escape you. We always thought we may adopt a child someday, but thought it would be after we had our own biological children. Over the last few years, when “trying” to grow our family didn’t result in conceiving, we had some decisions to make. It was at this time that the Lord began placing people in our lives that would openly share their adoption stories and experiences with me without invitation.

At a turning point in our story, (the day after getting news that we weren’t pregnant after a long medical process and procedure) I had to fly down to Phoenix for a work event. It was in Phoenix where I met up with a friend who I had gotten to know through work. That evening, as we prepared for the event the next day, she began to tell me the story of adopting her son from Uganda. Given the news Ben and I had just received, I began to ask her more questions than I typically would have, including who she used as her adoption agency. She shared that she worked with a woman named Emily, who worked out of a small agency in California, and that she was the reason they used the agency they did. She then explained that Emily was no longer working at the agency in California, but was now at a small agency in Minnesota. At that point, I thought it was a little strange, because the only other person I’ve ever talked with about their adoption process is a friend of mine that lives in Fort Collins, and worked with a woman named Emily at an agency in Minnesota. I remembered the name of the agency, so I proceeded to ask this friend of mine if the agency that the “Emily” she worked at was the one I knew of in Minnesota, and with a puzzled look on her face, said “yes, that is the one.” So, this friend of mine in Phoenix had used Emily as her adoption coordinator while she was in California, and my friend in Fort Collins had used this same coordinator after she had transitioned to a small agency in Minnesota. What are the odds? I knew this was not just a coincidence, but the first sign of Gods gentle guidance in the direction of adoption. It was then that I knew our next step for us was to call this “Emily” that they worked with and spoke so highly of. No commitment. Just a phone call. As this was just the first of many clear next steps He has given us in this journey.

So we called Emily. Through our conversations with her, and discussions with the executive director about the need in Guinea, Africa, we just knew this is what the Lord had been guiding us to at this time. It seems that at any point we run into road bumps or have questions at any step along the way, He provides someone or something in our lives that help us press on.

The Lord knows what we need. That’s why He’s used others in our lives, and His gentle prompting countless times to be that “man we run into on the side of the road,” who offers us a detour in our adventure. It might be more bumpy, risky, scary, challenging, and is certainly unknown, but we know that as we follow the route God has for us to bring this child home, there will be times of immense joy, valleys of beauty, and more adventure than we have ever experienced.

We are reminding ourselves daily of a quote from Justin McRoberts (worship artist);“May love be stronger in me than the fear of the pain that comes with caring,” and Hebrews 11:8: “By faith, Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.”