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.

 

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.