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.”

Our Greatest Adventure Yet

schnicks 59Many of our friends and family know about what we’ve been through over the last year, and many of you have been so supportive as we’ve been faced with many hard decisions regarding growing our family. We have been so thankful for the people in our lives, and want to express our deepest gratitude to our friends and family who have been part of our journey.

We have an update for all of you that we couldn’t be more excited to share. God has been answering our prayers differently than we expected him to. At this time we are opting not to invest tens of thousands of dollars into medical procedures attempting to have a biological child. Instead, we have made the decision to invest in adopting a child in extreme poverty from Guinea, Africa, bringing them into our forever family.

This will be a long process, and one we are currently navigating and investing a lot of time and resources into. We have already personally invested over $9,000 into the process and it is only the beginning. There are a lot of unknowns, especially from a financial standpoint. We know that God provides, and we are willing to make sacrifices. But we do want to give our friends and family an opportunity to play a part in changing the life of a little one from Guinea, Africa, if this is a cause you want to support.

The concept is simple. We have ordered a custom puzzle of a map of the city of Fort Collins that has 500 pieces. You can “sponsor” a puzzle piece by making a donation of $20 towards our adoption costs. (You can sponsor multiple pieces if you choose to do so). As each person sponsors a puzzle piece, your name will be written on the back of that piece. We will be putting this puzzle together in a clear double-sided frame to hang in the childs room, to show how many people love them and were willing to help bring them home to Fort Collins, Colorado. Would you consider partnering with us by sponsoring a puzzle piece to help us bring our child home?Screen Shot 2017-03-08 at 1.24.34 PM

If you’d like to participate here’s what to do;

STEP 1: Decide how many puzzle pieces you’d like to “sponsor” at $20 each

STEP 2: Donate the cash value of your puzzle piece(s) by;

  •  clicking here or the button below linking directly to paypal. 
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  • Sending a check? Email us at aubrienichole@gmail.com to request mailing address
  • TAX DEDUCTIBLE OPTIONS: Call (253)-383-1928 and make your donation via credit card directly to the agency, letting them know it is for the “Fletcher adoption.” OR mail check to Faith International Adoptions- 1105 Tacoma Avenue South, Tacoma, WA 98402, including “Fletcher adoption” in the memo. **If you do this, please let us know so we can put your name on the appropriate puzzle piece(s)

STEP 3: Picture Ben, Aubrie, and our little Guinnean child (to be) doing a happy dance because of your awesomeness and generosity.

Lastly, Many of you probably are curious about the actual costs, or why it costs so much, so we’re including a breakdown of our adoption costs to provide some clarification and to be completely transparent.

$6,700 – Pre-Adoption fees (including Homestudy & USCIS)
$8,350 – Adoption Agency fees (work done on the US side of adoption)
$9,800 – Foreign Fees (work being done in Guinea, including lawyer fees, court fees, government fees, etc.)
$5,000 – Travel Expenses (round trip flights for two people, one way flight for our future child, visas, lodging, etc.)
$6,150 – More In-Country fees (child’s passport and documentation, orphanage costs, etc.)
$1,300 – Post Adoption (processing fee, orphanage support fees)

Total adoption cost: $37,300

There are a lot of unknowns, and we know that this process will be far from perfect. But we are fully invested and determined. For one child, their life will be changed forever, and we are honored and humbled to get the opportunity to experience all of the ups and downs that are part of this journey.

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