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Bobby & Michael
Hello! We're Bobby and Michael from Chicago. Your strength and love in even considering adoption means everything to our family. We hope these stories and photos give you a sense of how much our family means to us, and the unconditional love we would be grateful to share with your child. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Adoption in Our Lives
We're thankful that from day one, our child will have a strong support network of family and friends with personal ties to adoption. They will have family who can relate to the experience, and will know and love other families who look like ours.
Seven years ago, Bobby's sister Gina, and her husband Joe, adopted a baby boy (also named Bobby)! They've since been blessed to adopt Emory and Theo. Like all of our nieces and nephews, we can't imagine our lives and family without them.
Gina's family lives close by and is such a big part of our lives. We're so grateful that our child will be able to grow up with and bond over adoption with their cousins.
Bobby's other sister Sara, worked with birth moms as an adoption counselor. She knows a lot about the love birth parents have and she's not shy to talk about it. We're thankful our child will have an aunt who can speak to that love.
We also have many friends with personal ties to adoption, who can't wait to be honorary "aunts" and "uncles."
Qualities We Love, Admire and Respect in Each Other
Bobby Through Michael's Eyes: It's hard being on Bobby's team when we have game nights because he doesn't care about winning, all he cares about is making everyone laugh. His sense of humor and big heart are what made me fall in love with him. He's the type of guy who'll spend a Saturday mentoring teens at an arts program, and then spend Sunday photo-shopping our family's faces onto cartoons to make a "Teenage Mutant Ninja Nephews" coloring book. He's ridiculous, loves kids, and at heart, is one too.
When I think about him being a dad, I picture him being a big, sentimental softy ... heavy on the "I love yous," and always ready with a corny dad joke or two.
Michael Through Bobby's Eyes: Michael didn't just bring back souvenirs from our trip to Japan, he put together a slideshow to share all of the sights, sounds, and smells with our families. He is the smartest and most caring person I know. His passion for food, art, and travel is contagious. His excitement alone is enough to convince me to try mystery seafood, go to art exhibits on "Butter Sculptures," and overcome my fears to fly halfway around the world.
When I think about the type of dad he'll be I see a teacher, ready to explore the world with our little guy or girl; ... and hopefully, a dad who can use that "contagious excitement" to get them to try vegetables at dinner.
As gay men we both know a lot about identity, being "different," and the importance of being connected to one's community and culture.
Growing up neither of us had gay role models, gay teachers, or gay friends. Bobby had never even met an openly gay person when he came out at 16, and Michael moved to Chicago as an adult largely because he wanted to know and be around other gay people. Feeling a part of the LGBT community was the first time we felt safe, confident, and understood. We had to wait until we were adults to feel those things, which is why as dads it's important to us that our child feel connected to their racial, ethnic, and cultural communities from day one.
We will do everything we can to celebrate and take part in our child's culture. We will do everything we can to make sure our child lives, plays, and goes to school in places where they won't feel "different."
Our House and Neighborhood
We live in a diverse neighborhood on the north side of Chicago, home to many young families with children. You can always hear kids playing in the front yard of our courtyard building, and there are three playgrounds, a swimming pool, and two elementary schools within walking distance of our home. We moved to this neighborhood because it's very family-friendly and offers easy access to all of the places we love and can't wait to share with your child: art and history museums, farmer's markets, parks and gardens, the aquarium and zoo, Lake Michigan, the opera, and theater district.
We fell in love with our home because it's close to 100 years-old and has all of Chicago's old school charm. Family photos and paintings (some we've made and others we've collected), decorate the walls of our three-bedroom condo. Michael picks fresh flowers for our sun room and entryway every week. Bobby loves to entertain and host big family gatherings in our dining room (where we sat 17 people at Christmas!).
Our Extended Families
We aren't the only ones excited to welcome your child into our family! Bobby's mom, our 7 brothers and sisters, and our 8 nieces and nephews all live within an hour from our home. Michael's parents also make frequent trips to Chicago and can't wait to meet the new baby.
We visit with family about every other week, and not a birthday, Christmas, Halloween, or Thanksgiving goes by without everyone getting together to celebrate. Every summer we go to a lake house for "family reunions" where we make dinners together, play board games, and wear matching t-shirts.
The love we have for our families was the biggest thing we had in common when we met 10 years ago, and is the biggest reason for us wanting to become parents.
While Bobby's father passed away when he was 19, he too would have been so thrilled to learn about our plans to adopt. He taught Bobby and his siblings so much about love and family.
From Us to You
While we're writers and artists, neither of us can find the words or pictures to express how we're feeling, knowing that you're reading this. Your strength and love in even considering adoption means everything to our family.
Though we've never met you, we're thinking about who you are and where you might be every single day. It's our hope that you're feeling respected, loved, and supported right now. We understand that the decisions you're making are difficult and can't imagine what this feels like for you.
We can tell you that we are ready and excited to welcome your child into our family. We're prepared to offer a loving and secure home for your child, filled with laughter, family, and hope. We have been together as a family for ten years, married for seven, and have been hoping and waiting to become dads for the last five.
The love we would share with your child as dads would be unconditional. We promise to teach them to be kind and compassionate. We promise to encourage their interests and provide opportunities for them to explore their loves, hopes, and dreams. We promise to celebrate who they are as an individual and integrate their cultural roots into our family tree. We promise to do everything we can to give them a strong sense of pride in who they are and where they come from.
From the experiences we have had with adoption through our extended family, we know how important openness is for everyone. We know that every relationship is different, and that relationships change over time. We respect and appreciate that. Our hope is that our child feel connected to their birth family throughout their life. Our hope for openness, is a relationship where you will always know that your child is okay and never have to wonder. And likewise, that your child can know you, and will never have to wonder about who you are and the family they came from.
While we don't know you or your hopes and wants related to openness, we promise to send pictures and letters, and visit when you are able.
Again, we can't thank you enough for taking the time to learn about our family and hopes, as you explore adoption.
With love from the bottom of our hearts,
Bobby & Michael
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