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Alex & Colleen
Thank you for taking the time to read about our family. Please know that we consider our role as parents to be one of the greatest privileges we have in this life. We are a loving and committed family and we plan to ensure that our children know they are cherished above all else.
Adoption has already touched our lives in the most wonderful way with the adoption of our daughter, Ramona. We are so fortunate to have an open adoption with our daughter's birth mother. We send letters and photos and meet twice per year (we live 1.5 hours away from each other). We started telling Ramona she was adopted before she could even talk. We found that talking about adoption from infancy helped us practice telling her story, too. It is sometimes hard to find the right words to express how incredibly blessed we are to have her in our lives.
We also have a Sesame Street book called, Susan and Gordon Adopt a Baby, which we read to Ramona not only to start conversations about her adoption but also hopefully our second adoption! We are in the process of making her toddler-level adoption life book. It tells her adoption story in pictures starting at the hospital and continuing through all of her visits. Hopefully this will help her see for herself that she is loved by so many people! We want our children to be able to speak with confidence about their adoption stories.
We are a fun and active family but we also value relaxation. We love to go on trips, walk in our neighborhood, watch Ramona ride her bike, play board games/puzzles and visit family. We usually take two out-of-state vacations per year. Last year our trips were to Maui and Legoland, California. We had an amazing time at both places and hope to go back!
Alex works a variable schedule including some nights and is on vacation every eighth week. Colleen only works two days per week to be available to take care of Ramona and manage the house. Ramona attends a small daycare/preschool when Colleen works but is home the rest of the time. Colleen and Ramona spend their time going to the children's museum, library, the local garden and the swimming pool. Ramona will be starting ballet soon in addition to her current gymnastics class.
We love to try new things and go on new adventures. We look forward to making many new memories together as a family of four!
Part of loving your child is both seeing, loving and respecting any differences we may have as far as our heritage. In order to celebrate Ramona's Hispanic heritage, we have made sure that she has dolls that look like her, reads books with characters of different races, frequent businesses with multiracial clientele, and we have tried to find playmates with varied racial and ethnic heritage. In addition, we are hoping to get her enrolled in a bilingual preschool so she can learn Spanish. We want her to always know how dedicated we are in helping her to know her ethnic background.
We are by no means experts in regards to transracial adoption. We feel it will be a life-long learning opportunity. We have read several books and have recently attended a seminar but know that we still have a lot of work to do. We are fortunate to live in a town with a varied racial makeup but we know that won't be enough. While we value and respect Ramona's heritage we know that our second child might be Caucasian or of a different race altogether. We are excited to explore our next child’s background as well, should it be different from ours and will delight in the diversity of our family. We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our next family member!
Our House and Neighborhood
Our four-bedroom home is a wonderful sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of life. Our house looks tidy in the photos because we have a lot of storage, but we are no strangers to painting, stamping, using playdoh, running matchbox cars down the hallway, and building forts. We have also been known to start a dance party in the kitchen (sorry, that won't be in the video!) We never knew how great a flat driveway was until we became parents! We draw with sidewalk chalk, ride bikes/scooters, play hopscotch and blow bubbles. Our house is two doors down from our neighborhood park. Lots of families are there in the evenings so we enjoy getting to know them. There is a nice pond for catching frogs and driving a remote control boat.
Our community is amazing! There is pride of ownership throughout the town with tidy houses and yards. There are many community fundraisers to assist those in need and also for beatifying the town with statues or murals. The library, pool and city park are all joined by walking paths to create a great sense of togetherness. The schools are excellent and the crime rate is low. There are several parades throughout the year, including one of the longest running pet parades in the country (it started in 1932). There is no doubt Ramona will try to convince her auntie to lend her some pets next year!
Our Extended Families
Family is very important to us, we are so lucky to live close to our extended family! Colleen's parents and sister's family live in our town. We see them multiple times per week to meet for dinner, go on outings or have them babysit for a date night. Colleen's sister lives on a small farm and has animals for Ramona to enjoy: 3 horses, 1 cow, 5 cats, and 2 dogs! Even though she resides in the same town, her house is at an elevation of 1500 feet. She calls us when it is snowing and we race up the hill to play in the snow!
Alex's parents and sister live one hour away. Ramona loves to go to her cousin's house and jump on the trampoline, play hide-and-seek and wrestle with them. We eat Thanksgiving dinner at Alex's parent's house each year and Alex really loves the homemade stuffing. Our nephew wears a tuxedo to help serve the dinner because he loves all things fancy. Our family is excited and supportive of our adoption plan ... the more, the merrier! Our family has a lot of love and support to give!
From Us to You
Thank you for taking the time to learn about our family! We can only imagine that this must be a difficult and emotional decision. Our sincere hope is that you find the perfect family to travel with you on this journey - one who values communication and remains loyal. Please know that we are in awe of your bravery and self-sacrifice and we hope that you find comfort in knowing that we are truly committed and loving parents.
We have been a couple for 15 years, during which time we have developed a deep sense of commitment and respect for one another. We know what it takes to support each other during tough times and how to ask for help/forgiveness when needed. Over the years we have also learned not to take everything so seriously, we love to laugh at ourselves and learn from life experiences. We do not have an infertility story to share - our parenting journey started with adoption in 2014.
Being the parents of our four-year old daughter, Ramona, fills us with joy. We look forward to the fun and excitement of each day! She is a fun-loving, affectionate, empathetic, and cheerful person. She loves babies and she reports that she is ready to be a big sister! We have a safe and loving home filled with laughter, cooking, reading, coloring, music and sports. We believe that playing outside and using one's imagination are important. Our parenting style includes leading by example, being honest and staying consistent. We try to sneak in some humor too!
As nature lovers, we share our passion for the outdoors with our family. We find peace and renewed strength in nature and make it a priority to relax and take a break from technology. Some of our favorite activities include: hiking, skiing, playing Frisbee/soccer, boogie boarding in the ocean, flying kites, picking blueberries and playing at the park. We like to travel to the Oregon coast, Sunriver (near Bend, OR), our cabin on Mt. Hood, Hawaii, and visit national parks to soak up all of nature's beauty.
A note about Alex from Colleen: I think that Alex is a wonderful and fun dad! He is loving, patient and has a good sense of humor. He can really roll with the punches which is something that I sometimes need his help with. He loves to stay busy, so I think children appreciate his energy and enthusiasm. He is also very physically affectionate - he gives out lots of hugs and snuggles. I am so proud of him and all that he has accomplished in his life; the thought of him becoming a father to a second child fills me with joy.
A note about Colleen from Alex: Colleen is a very thoughtful person, always putting other people's needs before her own. She is loyal and would do anything to help friends/family with whatever is needed. Her dedication to always trying to be a better person inspires me. She is in preparation for this next phase of our life by arranging our home and reading books on parenting, adoption, and incorporation of a sibling to facilitate a smooth transition. She works hard to keep the house organized and buy/prepare good quality food. She is the best wife I could have hoped for and is a loving and kind mother.
We love that adoptions are now more open because we feel it is something to celebrate and cherish not keep secret! We promise to be diligent about sending letters, photos and emails. We have seen first-hand how important it is for an adopted person to know about his/her biological family. We hope to continue this with our second adoption but also respect that each birth mother has her own comfort level and boundaries.
Thank you for reading our letter! If you need any more information, please don't hesitate to ask.
With love and respect,
Alex & Colleen
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