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Angela This Gathered Nest

Adoption Uncategorized

Embryo Adoption-Resources and Our Story

Where to begin? I’ve been both nervous and excited to share this part of our story with you all, and I finally feel ready!

For about two years we struggled with secondary infertility, and just in case you don’t know what that is, it just means that you have had a child (or more than 1) and now cannot conceive. It was something that really blindsided us, as we had no trouble at all getting pregnant with Kennedy and Shelby.

But, we found ourselves wanting to complete our family, and feeling really strongly that me carrying and giving birth was how we wanted to do that. But much like He always does, God seemed to have other plans. This post isn’t going to be about all the fertility treatments we underwent (we did it ALL) but more so to share how we did eventually conceive our twins and a place for me to share some amazing resources etc with you all.

As I mentioned before, we had reached about the two year mark and thought we had pretty much run out options… I remembered hearing something about Embryo Adoption, and decided to look into it further. Almost immediately we knew this was going to be the route for us. We were 100% comfortable with adoption, obviously, and so the baby not having our DNA just wasn’t a big deal to us. After speaking with my doctor and finding out that she was totally in agreement that this was a great option for us, I began my favorite part of any big decision…the research. ๐Ÿ™‚

Before I share with you the resources, in case you might be interested as well, let me explain briefly what Embryo Adoption or Donation is. Basically, when couples go through the IVF process, they very often can end up with more embryos than they can or want to use. This is something that Doctors are working on as IVF continues to grow, but there are still many couples who find themselves with babies on ice that they have to make decisions for. Really, they have three options.

  1. Pay storage fees and keep them frozen indefinitely (which as you might imagine is not a great long term solution)
  2. Have them discarded or donated to science
  3. Donate them to another couple who will transfer them and hopefully give birth! (Adoption)

There are something like 600,000 embryos currently frozen in the US and many are available for donation/adoption. These terms are used kind of interchangeably because it’s not really a typical adoption process. Some clinics require you to do a homestudy before you are matched and others do not, however once you give birth there is no “adoption” element involved. Legally, this is your child.

Anyway, you can read more about that in the resources below if you are interested.

So, we began researching clinics, looking at profiles and hoping to find what would be a good match for us! Our only criteria really, was that we only wanted to adopt 1 or 2 embryos. Because this is how we intended to complete our family, and not start it, we knew we didn’t want to have extra embryos that we then had to make decisions for ๐Ÿ™‚ Hopefully that makes sense! We were very quickly matched with a “set” of 2 embryos, and we prepared for transfer. We chose to transfer them both, which is very common in IVF, for a couple of reasons. We knew that they weren’t guaranteed to survive the thawing process so we hoped at least 1 would, we were only planning to try this once so we wanted the best shot at conceiving a baby. Finally, our clinic had a policy that since they were frozen together in the same “straw” that if we didn’t transfer both, the other would have to be discarded. It couldn’t be re-frozen. We felt very strongly that we needed to put that in God’s hands, even though the idea of twins was really scary to us, we knew we had to give them both a chance at life!

To be honest, I was really hopeful, but in the back of mind I figured this would fail, just like everything else we had tried. Much to my surprise, about 4 days after transfer, I got a positive pregnancy test!!!!! CR says he knew right away that they both “stuck” and we were having twins. I think I was in denial ๐Ÿ˜‰ That denial quickly went away though when I found myself hugging the toilet at like 5 weeks pregnant! LOL! An early ultrasound determined we were indeed having twins!

There is so much more to the story from there, but that will all have to wait for another day ๐Ÿ™‚

Just like with our other adoptions, we are going to keep many things private for these girls, but we did want to share what we consider to be a pretty amazing miracle! It’s pretty incredible to be able to carry and give birth to these two precious girls, even though we don’t share DNA.

As you might imagine, we are SOOOO anxious to see what they look like, and to meet them. And while the little kids (Noah, Jonah and Rosie) don’t really understand embryo adoption at this point, they know mommy has 2 babies in her belly and they love to talk to them and rub my belly. Our big girls (Kennedy and Shelby) really do understand what Embryo adoption is, and are very anxious to meet their new sisters in a few months!

We can’t wait to hold these babies and tell them how loved they are, by so many people, and we know God has some pretty incredible plans for them already. Afterall, they can really say that they survived the Ice Age ๐Ÿ™‚

One thing I do want to share, most of you know how important dates have been in our adoption journey’s…. I’ve always found great comfort in seeing how God has used specific dates to help me see His direction when I’m unsure. Well, when we matched with these two sweet girls, we found out that they were frozen on the very same day we said Yes to adopting Jonah. I just love those little hugs from the Father. His hands have been all over this journey!

So, while we are a bit terrified to have twins, we are also thrilled and excited! I always thought we would have 6 kids, but God had other plans… 7 is the number of completion in the Bible after all ๐Ÿ™‚

Thank you guys again for your support and love! Our family wouldn’t be what it is today without the love and encouragement we have received over the years.

Blessings,

Angela

EMBRYO ADOPTION RESOURCES:

www.embryodonation.org

Embryo Adoption Awareness Center

NightLight- Embryo Adoption

Miracles Waiting

Uncategorized

The Reason for the Season…

Hi friends! With Christmas fast approaching, I wanted to take a moment and share with you a new favorite in our household this year! Like many of you, our goal each year is to keep our children focused on Jesus, and the true reason we celebrate the day. That can be tough when the world around us is screaming.. “Gifts, Candy, Toys, Trees, Decorations… more more more!!!”

This year, we were introduced to The Story of Christmas: Spark Story Bible Adventures..

It’s a movie about the first Christmas and the meaning of Godโ€™s most precious gift to the world.

Our kids instantly fell in love with Squiggly, the silly little caterpillar who we follow along with as he learns about the story of Jesus. I really love the way his goofiness keeps my younger kids interested, even my own squirmy Noah….and gives the big girls a few laughs too ๐Ÿ™‚

The story is told is such a thorough way, but kept my kids interest the whole time! #winning ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ll admit, even CR and I got Chills when they told of Jesus, Immanuel, meaning God with us. Just like that, our Savior was born, and now God is with us. Such a powerful message for us all…young and old.

What I loved most was how the story told many small details that are normally left out, such as Mary going to see Elizabeth, and how soon she would give birth to a baby too. He would become John the Baptist… and how the wise men encounter Kind Harrod on their way to see Jesus, and how he was afraid this new Kind would take his place. These things are great to start discussing with our older girls, and open up lots of dialog.

Our whole family enjoyed this movie and I am so happy to share that Sparkhouse has agreed to do a fun giveaway here on our blog!!!!

WHAT YOU WIN:

The Story of Christmas DVD,

The Story of Christmas picture book,

and The First Christmas activity book.

HOW TO ENTER:

Easy peasy! Just leave me a comment and tell me how your family keeps the focus on Jesus each year at Christmas! I always love to get ideas from other mamas, and I’d love for us all to learn from each other ๐Ÿ™‚

The winner will be chosen on Monday at 12pm est, and then Sparkhouse will get your package mailed out ASAP, so you should have all your goodies before Christmas!

I hope each and every one of you have a very Merry Christmas! From our little nest, to yours!

Blessings,

Angela

FTC: Thank you so much to Sparkhouse for sponsoring this post and providing the prizes to the winner.
Give Back Lifestyle Motherhood

Lift Them Up!

We have a goal this year to bless the socks off an organization that is doing some really amazing work, but they need help! Like so many small ministries, they rely on donors to keep their work going. Ekubo ministries is the organization we have chosen this year and with your help, we are hoping to bless them financially at a time where they really need it.about

This is something we hope we can continue to do year after year, each time picking a new ministry to support!

You can read more about Ekubo here

There are a few ways you can support them!

  1. Go directly to their site and make a donation
  2. Purchase a product from their Etsy Shop
  3. Purchase one of the T-shirts we designed below

We knew we wanted a unique and fun shirt to sell for this fundraiser, as many of you know if you watch our YouTube channel, Rosie’s favorite thing to say is “Bob, Shui?”

Which is her way of asking us for water. It’s really funny because she has shortened Baba (which means Dad in Mandarin) to Bob. People ask us all the time if CR’s name is Bob… or why she calls him Bob. We know in time she will don’t that anymore, and it’s pretty hilarious! The back of the shirt just says #thisgatherednest

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The shirt areย  amazing quality American Apparel shirts, SUPER soft! There are multiple color options as well as a Hoody sweatshirt too!

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Thank you so much to those of you who have purchased one already! They are available until Dec 15th.

Once you receive yours we’d love for you to tag us in a photo of you wearing the shirt or use #bobshui

Your kindness and generosity has blown us away this year with all the children you have sponsored through ICC and we are hoping to bless Ekubo just the same!

Thank you again, for loving and supporting us, and this new “Lift Them Up” campaign as well.

Blessing,

Angela

Kid Stuff

A Day With The Boy Scouts!!! #scouting

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Noah and I were so thrilled to be invited to spend a day with the Boy Scouts this fall. I think almost everyone knows who the Boy Scouts are, but just in case you don’t, let me give you a quick overview!

Besides selling the most delicious popcorn every year, it’s one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with more than 2.4 million youth members and nearly one million adult volunteers. The BSA’s goal is to train youth in responsible citizenship, character development, and self-reliance through participation in a wide range of outdoor activities, educational programs, and, at older age levels, career-oriented programs in partnership with community organizations. For younger members, the Scout method is part of the program to instill typical Scouting values such as trustworthiness, good citizenship, and outdoors skills, through a variety of activities such as camping, aquatics, and hiking.

I know I have always thought that boys who made it all the way to Eagle Scout, were holding a pretty prestigious title. In fact, I learned that over 90% of Westpoint and Annapolis’ accepted students, are Eagle Scouts. It’s really an honor. We have always been interested in having our sons join the Boy scouts, but neither are old enough to join the traditional Cub Scouts, which begin in 1st grade.

Until now that is! The Boy scouts are launching a new pilot program, called the Lion Program. This program will be for Kindergarten aged boys, and it intends to weave traditional Scouting concepts of character development, leadership skills, and citizenship into activities that are age appropriate and fun for the boys!

Obviously Noah and I were really excited to go check this new program, go #scouting , and see what it was all about!

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We arrived at Camp Grimes mid morning on Saturday, it was the perfect fall day! We were immediately greeted by the Den Leader and given the breakdown of the days events. First up, we headed down to the lake to see some fishing! We didn’t bring poles or tackle, so we just observed. The kids were all having such a great time and a little boy even caught a fish while we were down there!

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We went over to the field where the boys were playing real life “Angry Birds”, it was a BLAST!!! Noah loved yelling “Fire in the hole” before sending his tennis ball flying! On the other side, they were playing capture the flag, Star Wars style! With pool noodle light sabers! You know those boys were having the time of their lives whacking away at each!

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The whole theme of the camping weekend was Hollywood movies, so the craft was to make your star, like they have on the walk of fame. Noah loved getting the chance to use a hammer…with a little help from mom ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Our final activity for the day was the BB gun range, I’ll admit, I was nervous! Giving Noah a BB Gun sounded like a recipe for disaster, lol! However the range master (parent volunteer) was so great with the boys. He made sure everyone followed the rules, and honestly, all the boys were so respectful and careful. It was quite impressive! This was by far Noah’s favorite part, he is still talking about it!

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Next we headed up to the mess hall and had some lunch. While Noah ate, I had a chance to chat with John, the Senior District Executive. Most of the people who help run each District are volunteers and it is obvious how much passion these men have for the program. They work so hard to make events like fun and memorable for the boys and their families.

messhall lunch

Noah and I both thoroughly enjoyed our day #scouting, and we will be signing both our boys for the Lion Program when they enter Kindergarten!

I’d love to hear if any of your kids, or maybe your hubby were ever a part of the scouts? What was your favorite thing about being a Scout?

Noah and I want to say a huge thank you to the Boy scouts for having us!

Be sure to follow the Boy scouts on Social Media:

Facebook: http://bit.ly/2aPmmhc

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2aSlvhH

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Lifestyle Uncategorized

Lily Jade Love!

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Guys.

This bag.

It’s SO perfect!

As you may or may not know, bags are kind of my thing. I have always been a collector of bags and becoming a mom made it even worse! Now I can collect diaper bags too, LOL!

I have been seeing all kinds of buzz about Lily Jade on social media for months now! I was so excited to get a chance to try out one of their bags! Before I go any farther, I need to tell you the number one reason I love this company… they have a heart for adoption. Once a month they give away a bag to an adoptive mama and it melts my heart every time!

Okay, moving on to the bag! I chose the Madeline in Black, and boy is she a real beauty! The quality surpassed my expectations! I love how worn it already feels.

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As a mom of five, with two in diapers, I still carry a fair amount of “kid stuff”, however the compartment insert also allows me to carry my DSLR! Which is HUGE for me! I LOVE not having to carry two bags (a purse and a camera bag) when I want to bring my “big camera”. Such a game changer for me. I’m starting to bring my camera with me more on regular outings, which is my favorite time to get candid shots of my kids!

I also love the various ways you can carry this bag, my two favorite are on my shoulder, and as a backpack! Yes, you heard me right, this bag has a strap to make it a backpack! (all the heart eyes)

It’s not uncommon for me to need BOTH of my hands when I’m out and about with the kids and this option to wear it is my favorite of all!

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ย Be sure to check out Lily Jade…they have so many stylish and functional bags to choose from!

xoxo,

Angela

Adoption

Noah’s Adoption Story

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Because there are so many new friends around here and on our Youtube channel, I thought it would be a fun idea to share the kids’ adoption stories! As I mention in the video, we aren’t sharing details of their stories, but more about the journey to bring them into our family ๐Ÿ™‚

Here is the video from our channel that explains how Noah came to be in our family…

 

 

And here is the video made by Kristin Timmerman of his airport homecoming!

Welcome Home from OurBrokenHearts on Vimeo.

 

 

We are so thankful to be Noah’s parent’s and we can’t wait to see the amazing man he becomes!

-Angela

Yummy Food

FETA-RONI PASTA RECIPE – (kid approved!)

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If you are anything like me, then you are always on the hunt for dishes that everyone will eat! With 5 kids and a hungry husband, it can be challenging to please them all. This recipe, however, is a crowd pleaser! And bonus, it’s SO easy! I’ve been making this since the girls were toddlers, which seems like ages ago, and it’s still much loved around our house!

Here is all you need to make this yummy, Feta-Roni Pasta!

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I told yall this was too easy! Just boil and drain your noodles…

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Dump the drained noodles back into the pot. Add in 2-3 tbs of butter (Kerrygold is my FAV butter of all time!) add in the bag of mini pepperonis and a box of feta cheese!

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Mix it all up and voila!

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Serve hot and ready to your crowd of hungry ankle bitters! This dish also tastes good cold, in our opinion, so it would be great to pack in a school lunch too!

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Thank y’all, hope you enjoy!

Kid Stuff

5 Fun Boredom Busters for Kids!

“Mooooooom, I’m bored!”

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The dreaded words us moms hate to hear. My mom always said, “then I’ll give you something to clean!” and sure enough my sister and I found something to entertain us, lol!

But if you are looking for fun activities that don’t involve cleaning ๐Ÿ™‚ These are for you!

Almost all can be done with items you would have around your house, and they keep my kids busy for a long time! win-win!

(as you can see they also work for my husband ๐Ÿ˜‰