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Jon & Sam
Feeding is the ultimate form of nurture, and as chefs with a passion for sharing good food, our muscles have memorized this act by heart. We're thrilled at the chance to care for, foster independent thought in, and share tools with a child to help them navigate an imperfect world with grace, fueled by joy, humor, and plenty of good food.
Our Life Priorities
Over our 12+ years of marriage, we have been highly focused on our careers, which as chefs with a similar passion, vision, and even a business together, have been largely spent literally side-by-side. We took time to explore and build our self-identities, and establish ourselves professionally and financially. Over time, we found ourselves caught in a repetitive, daily grind, with no easy way to see our families halfway across the country, nor truly give our minds and bodies the care they needed. Deep into COVID, we took the plunge and closed shop, then moved back to the Midwest in order to give family–-being with and growing our own–-the same time and intention that we gave our professional lives.
Today we value the same things, but our practice looks different: we love to cook and share food, and now we can cook for our families, and even grow the vegetables. We love to explore cities and nature, and now we can head in any direction and quickly find either. After so many years away, we can once again simply be with our families, taking a half day's trip to see Jon's brother and his family, or casually stopping by to see Sam's family while in town. Finally, while we will continue to value our professional growth, we are molding our work lives more thoughtfully to support and never distract from our personal lives.
Adoption in Our Lives
Even before we experienced adoption in our lives, we knew that we did not have an expectation of precisely what our family would look like, and we've never believed that there is a "normal" standard of family that anyone needs to model. Sam's sister and her husband transracially adopted 5 years ago, and we've been able to watch their beautiful, spirited son grow up. Meanwhile, Sam's long-time pastry cook is an adult transracial adoptee and she got to see firsthand his enduring relationship with his adoptive family, while Jon's family friend's own ongoing adult relationship with his transracially adopted children is inspiring. When we had to decide how to build our family, we didn't even entertain fertility treatment. Instead, embracing adoption was an effortless choice, because we've always seen it as an equally beautiful and true path, and believed it was right for us.
Early in our relationship, we moved to Philadelphia, where we valued working with and living in community with people of different races and ethnicities. Although our new home is less diverse, we believe it's even more important to engage those who don't look like us or share our experiences. We will seek out communities that share racial or cultural identity with a child to offer them a sense of belonging, and to model that there is no "normal" way to look or be. We will tap into local resources with broad representation, such as Black, Southeast Asian, and Indigenous-led food and gardening opportunities. We will seek out teachers and doctors who look like a child, and find schools where they can feel heard and respected. As chefs, we will celebrate culturally significant foods together, and fill our home with arts and media by people of color. Trips to Philadelphia and other major cities will offer a window into our appreciation for a diversity. We can turn to Sam's sister and her husband, and their adoptive biracial son, for guidance and connection with a transracially adopted cousin. We will have early and ongoing conversations with a child about the harsh realities of navigating the world as a person of color. We will share tools for safely dealing with challenging scenarios, and give them space to have similar conversations with role models who look like them. We are fully prepared to continue learning for life, loving, empowering, and advocating for a child.
Our House and Neighborhood
After living in Philadelphia for nine years, we recently settled in a rural pocket of southern Wisconsin, close to small towns and a medium size city where we both work and/or frequent. We are minutes away from hiking and biking trails, canoeing and water tubing, parks, pools, and schools. The medium-size city nearby has a history of multiculturalism, and plenty of opportunities for education, the arts, recreation, festivals, and one of the top 10 children's museums in the country. The immediate community is warm, humble, and family-friendly.
We designed our home, which sits on a hill protected from a quiet country road, surrounded by an acre of land with small woods, and the homes of several kind neighbors. It is a combustion-free property, with extremely healthy indoor air and drinking water. We love our open and sunny main living space on one half, and the privacy of the adjacent 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and office. A child would have their own bedroom with a view of the sun setting behind rolling hills, and a full bathroom. There are several spaces indoors for play and sleepovers, and plenty of outdoor areas for playground equipment, running around, and building forts. We have a small fenced in yard for our dogs, a large vegetable garden, and last spring planted over 20 small trees and flowering shrubs, many of which will bear fruit and nuts in the coming years.
Our Extended Families
After living halfway across the country from our families for almost a decade, we were eager to start the next phase of our lives closer to them. We have always been able to call our siblings and parents friends, and confide in them, enjoy support from them, and easily spend authentically joyful moments with them.
Jon grew up celebrating holidays, going on ski trips, and visiting the family cabin with his parents and brother. Meanwhile, Sam grew up eating dinner every night with her family and taking cross-country road trips together on holidays, from Santa Fe to Colorado Springs to the caves of Kentucky. We are excited to create new traditions with our families, including our young nephews. Jon's brother, his wife, and their toddler son live about 4 hours away, his parents spend half of the year close to them, and Sam's parents and sister, her husband, and their 5-year-old adoptive son live 35 minutes away.
Sam's parents have already embraced their biracial, adoptive grandson, Clark, and her relatives have proven the same. Jon's family is thrilled about our adoption plan, and when Jon's parents had questions, we were able to use it as an opportunity for rich conversation, placing what we've learned from both Clark's adoption story, and from the literature and other materials we've researched in our own adoption journey, in context.
From Us to You
If you were with us right now we would cook for you. The food would tick every box (salt, spice, savory, crunch), the music would make you tap your foot without you noticing, and the space would feel like home. We don't believe we need to make a fancy meal to show that we care; the simple act of feeding is a demonstration of love, and we have the knife skills, ability to stand on our feet for long stretches, and the capacity to nurture, in spades.
As chefs and once restaurant owner partners, we are used to working in sync. In and out of the kitchen, the love and mutual respect that has defined our 12 years of marriage extends to the people who enter our orbit, whether family, friends, or colleagues. We're thrilled to welcome a child--and their birth family in whatever capacity they desire--into that world.
We met in our early twenties when Sam frequented the coffeeshop where Jon worked as a barista. We were each in relationships at the time, but developed an easy rapport from across the register, and shopping together at the farmers' market for work. Sam recalls one day when Jon took his break at her table to chat, and she had the realization that Jon was going to be her best friend. Soon enough, those other relationships faded, and we almost immediately became constant companions, in love and friendship.
Our relationship is unique in that we found each other when we were both in discovery mode in our careers, and we each independently chose a similar path which allowed us to work side-by-side and be able to easily understand each other's experiences and challenges. We conveniently shared similar values, interests, passions, openness to new experiences, and work ethic, and haven't had to explain our motivations for things.
After almost a decade growing our culinary careers in Philadelphia, we've returned to Wisconsin to be closer to family and to grow our own. We've built a home that reflects our desire for comfort and a connection to nature, but also easy access to the color and energy of urban spaces. Jon continues to work in restaurants in a management and creative capacity, while Sam works both in pastry at a nearby food business, as well as in communications for a non-profit focused on equitable access to healthy food. She largely creates her own schedule, which is often from home. Our life with a child will reflect our values and interests including exploring natural spaces and cities, growing, cooking, and eating good food with friends and family, exercising creativity, and lifelong learning. More importantly, we are thrilled to explore a child's unique personality and cultural and birth family identity alongside them, and to grow with them.
Meanwhile, we wouldn't be here without you. We believe that adoption is a community built on reciprocal trust and respect between adoptive parent, birth parent, and child, with the ultimate goal of a loving and joyful life for the child. Our role and privilege is to be stewards for your child, to give them all of the love and resources that we have. We will listen to them, give them tools to grow into their identity with confidence, and never force our ideas of how they should be on them. We look forward to an open adoption relationship that can naturally ebb and flow over time, with emails, phone calls, text messages, and annual visits as everyone is able and desires, with no judgment nor impossible-to-meet expectations. We have nothing and no one to hide from your child, but instead want to show both the child and you that a family built and linked through adoption is richer because of it.
Jon & Sam
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