This story originally appeared in the Woodman Edition Newspaper and was written by Gail Harrison.
A Family Story of Love and Unselfishness
This is a story about one couple’s desire for children and how their abundant love grew a family that included five beautiful, adopted children, Cody, Connor, Grace, Emily and Joshua.
Before marriage, Michael Minot followed a worldly path of becoming an attorney in Florida and living what he then considered the good life. He said, “As a lawyer, I was living the life – money in my pocket, the keys to a new convertible, and a keen desire to socialize. I also consumed sizable amounts of alcohol with friends.” But then he met a man who challenged him to look beyond his current beliefs and search for truth.He began a volunteer ministry of visiting incarcerated men one evening a week. In addition to being a real estate attorney, he also became involved in the legal process of pairing birth mothers with prospective adoptive parents.
Minot met Nichole Barnes at church. She was a kindergarten teacher, having moved to Florida to join her parents who had moved there while she was in college. After dating for a couple of years, they were married January 16, 1993.
They wanted children and were disappointed to discover it was not biologically possible. However, they opened their hearts to other options and began considering adoption. During the past 14 years, the Minots adopted five children, three in the United States and two from China. Their story is one of unselfish love and faith in divine guidance.In her blog Nicole Minot writes, “This is our story about how God has taken us on this beautiful journey of weaving together our family. It has been and continues to be a thrilling journey and like all journeys, has been filled with bumps, detours and breakdowns as well as many times of fun-filled cruising.”
In 1997 they adopted a baby boy they named Cody. Three years later they adopted their second baby boy and named him Connor. After another two years, they adopted a baby girl they named Grace.
A year later, tragedy devastated the family when Connor died in a tragic accident. He was three and a half years old. Because Connor had
been born with neurological deficiencies and abnormalities as well as developmental and physical delays, he was unable to speak or walk. Although he was limited in his abilities, he was progressing well and his parents had great hopes that he would soon be walking and talking.
This was a time of profound grief for Mike and Nichole. Connor’s death was incomprehensible. The next summer, when Cody, then age 8, was attending a vacation Bible school, he watched a video about the plight of orphans in Nicaragua. He surprised his parents when he asked them to help by adopting another child. They hadn’t planned on more children but after considerable contemplation they decided to educate themselves about international adoptions. They applied to adopt another child. In 2007, after a long process of official paperwork, waiting and traveling, they adopted a precious little girl who was abandoned in a train station in Kunming, China. They named her Emily Hope.
A remarkable thing happened a couple of years later. Every year on the anniversary of Connor’s death, Nichole writes in her blog in his honor. October 31, 2009, the sixth anniversary of his death, Nichole received an email from an anonymous sender saying she read Nichole’s blog about Connor and about Nichole’s journey through grief. She suggested Nichole look at a certain website. Such an email is not uncommon among people who adopt internationally. They often communicate with strangers and bond with one another through their adoption experiences.
When Nichole clicked the link to an agency website up popped a picture of a Chinese boy who, incredibly, resembled their Connor. Connor was biracial, having a Native American heritage. In addition, she was shocked to see that this Chinese baby had been nicknamed Connor. She immediately felt this Connor (an abandoned orphan) was meant to be hers.
Nichole said she was amazed when she read the email from a stranger. She believes God touched the heart of that woman. “She was moved by God to suggest that I take a look at a little boy. I immediately clicked on the link and saw his darling face.”
Nichole said, “I know that for those who haven’t adopted before, this concept of knowing a child is yours simply by looking at a photo can sound
a little odd; but for those of you who have experienced the gift of a child through adoption, you know exactly what I was feeling on that day. I have never had the joy of giving birth to a child but I have known the miraculous pleasure of looking into the eyes of each of my children and knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt from the first time I saw them that they were created for me.” They adopted that baby January 2011 and named him Joshua.
In 2008, Mike and Nichole Minot, decided to relocate to Colorado Springs in Pine Creek after investigating many other cities in a search for the
best place to raise their kids. They are grateful every day for the blessings of children. Each of their children has a special adoption story. They love to share their experience and hope it inspires others to open their hearts and homes to children in need of loving parents. They invite anyone interested to visit their websites at www.minotfamily.com and www.michaelminot.com.