How strange it must be for you to be looking through profiles for the right people to parent your child. We get it; this was strange for us when we matched with our daughter Annabel's birth parents in 2012. But we hope that by reading about us we will make a connection and can get to know each other beyond these words and pictures. Thanks for giving us a look!
Our daughter Annabel was born in Texas to two wonderful young people who knew they were not ready to be parents and therefore chose adoption. We are so grateful to them for their trust in us and their love for Annabel. Although we live in different states, technology makes it wonderfully easy to share photos and updates which we do frequently; we also visit them once a year.
Annabel has taught us much about how important it is to nurture the uniqueness of each child, and we will carry these lessons with us if we are fortunate enough to become parents again. To start, Annabel is part Korean, part Caucasian, and part Native American, so teaching ourselves and her about her cultural heritage is something we have enjoyed. For example, for her first birthday we incorporated traditional Korean dress and a special celebration. The second thing that makes Annabel unique is that she was born with a visual impairment, so we have worked tirelessly to understand how she sees the world and to help her develop given this added challenge.
At the very heart, though, is how a child feels about him or herself and developing a strong, confident sense of self. We do this every day with Annabel, by listening to her and by guiding her. We will do the same with any other child who joins our family. Seeing a child take pride in his or her accomplishments, make good friends, and show compassion towards others: that is happiness. That is what it means to us to be parents.
Our interests cover a little bit of everything. Neal has been a long distance runner for many years and has run a total of fifteen marathons. His biggest athletic accomplishment was completing an Ironman triathlon in 2002, which is a 2.4 mile swim followed by a 112 mile bike ride, and finished with a 26.2 mile run. We also enjoy more leisurely athletic pursuits. Our home is just a few blocks from Lake Michigan, where we often go for a walk or a bike ride, and in the summer, a swim. Annabel is a total water baby and loves swimming and playing on the beach too.
We also love the arts of all kinds. We have both been involved in theater, and Neal is currently an active board member on our friend’s theater company. Annabel loves music which we incorporate into many things that we do. We have all taken music classes together and go to concerts, a children’s theater in our neighborhood, and annual neighborhood street festivals.
Living in one of the most diverse communities in Chicago, it is not uncommon for us to walk through our neighborhood and hear several languages spoken, see multiracial families playing at the park, or smell Latino, Asian, or African food wafting from the restaurants nearby. Still, picking up food at the local Mexican grocery isn’t just a special occasion, it is a part of our everyday life, and our interest in learning about other cultures goes deeper than just knowing where to get the best homemade tacos. Following college graduation, Martha moved to Mexico and lived with a Mexican family for three months where she studied Spanish and traveled throughout the country. Neal has also lived outside the U.S., spending three months working in Japan. And, since the adoption of our daughter,we too have become a proud part of our multiracial community. We will expose Annabel to local cultural events that celebrate her Korean and Native American background and support her in learning more about her cultural heritage. In our experience, we believe that differences make people unique, but love makes people a family.
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