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Chris & Erika
Thank you for taking the time to read our profile, and for considering the loving gift of adoption. We are fortunate to have a large, supportive group of close friends and family, and want to share all of that happiness and love with a child. If you choose us to be parents to your child, you would also be part of that circle of support and love for the child.
Our Hopes For an Open Adoption
Erika was raised primarily by her father and stepmother. Erika knew her biological mother and visited her periodically throughout childhood, but her mother was not in a place in her life where she could raise a child. Through that experience, Erika saw how important it is for a child to know who their parents are, meet their parents, whether or not they are raised by those parents.
We believe that more people loving a child is better for the child. Any child we raise will be surrounded and supported by a network of loving friends and family, in addition to being loved and supported by us. If you choose us to parent your child, we invite you and your family to be part of the network of love and support for the child to the extent you wish to.
We understand that circumstances may change, and the degree of contact you wish to have may be greater or lesser at times. That is something we are open to communicating about on an ongoing basis with you. Whether you are most comfortable with letters and phone calls, or if you would like us to bring the child for periodic visits, we will do our part to ensure the child knows everyone who loves them.
Our Individual Strengths
We asked some friends what they think of as our strengths. Here is what they said:
Winston: "Chris' careful attention to details he considers important is reflected in everything he does, whether it is doing work or selecting art. Erika has a well-honed ability to appear to do exactly the right thing in a given social situation, even if she is unsure."
Jo: "Erika can't stand to not feed someone. And she manages to so often maintain a sense of humor when things get hectic or stressful."
Maria: "You both are logical and practical but still dream big. If you want something you plan it out and then go for it. Erika has an uncanny ability to dress anyone to look fabulous. Chris comes across as a gruff kind of guy but is a softy. The voices he does for the dogs crack me up."
Rebecca: "You two have *very* different personality types, but you see and appreciate the best in each other (and it helps you see and celebrate the best in others as well). You talk to each other about hard things with compassion and empathy. You clearly see each other's' strengths, which you view with appreciation. You see each other's' weaknesses, and help each other grow through things."
Eric: "You put tremendous energy and commitment into everything you do. That's reflected in your successful careers, how you support your friends and your work to make your community better."
We each determined years ago that what matters to us is to raise a child, not specifically to raise a child that is biologically related to either of us, or even one who looks like either of us. We understand that this means we may need to help a child navigate different cultural or societal experiences than we have had. We have been learning about different expectations, pressures, and experiences common to children of color, and also what to expect as a parent in an interracial adoption. Given the strong cultural values surrounding race held in American society, we expect this to be an ongoing subject to us as parents. However, it is one we are willing to face, to do our best to support our child and, to keep this child from feeling they must navigate cultural stereotypes alone.
We plan to learn about and celebrate our child's cultural heritage as a family. When we met and came to live together, we brought with us different traditions, but over time established our traditions and story as a couple. With a child, our household as well as our cultural story will grow to incorporate the child.
Our House and Neighborhood
The small city where we live is extremely active and connected with bike paths, parks, and community activities. We live less than a mile from our local library, and two miles from the local community splash pad. Our neighborhood has two parks with playgrounds, one at the end of the street and the other two blocks away from our house. We take our two dogs to an assortment of various dog parks in the area so that we can go for hikes while our dogs run and play and sniff with other dogs and families. Our city also has several lakes and waterways that connect them where we enjoy kayaking in the warmer months.
Our house has three bedrooms. We already have a bedroom and bathroom set aside for this child to have as their own. Probably the most unique feature of our home is our board game library and our art collection. We have over 500 board games and card games on floor-to-ceiling shelves, with wing back chairs and an ornate rug to look like a traditional "English" library. Chris collects comic and fantasy art; sketches and paintings from comic book artists he likes and from local and national artists he admires. We regularly attend art fairs and festivals in the Midwest to browse the work of artists and craftspeople, and our home reflects our love of fantasy and science fiction literature and art.
Our Extended Families
Our families are incredibly supportive of our adoption plan and are excited about the prospect of welcoming a child into the family. None of our family members live in Wisconsin and instead are spread across Iowa, Indiana, and Ohio, with siblings and extended family in half a dozen other states from California to Kentucky. We alternate holidays between Chris' relatives and Erika's relatives and stay in touch with regular Skype and phone calls.
We are very close to our circle of friends here in Wisconsin and gather at our home or one of our friends' homes at least a couple of times a week to play board games, share a meal, watch a movie, or help each other with projects. Recently one friend was planning to bring pierogi (Polish dumplings) to her family Christmas celebration, so a few of us gathered at our house to help her. Erika helped make pierogi while Chris watched and played with the kids of those friends who came to help. We are so close to these friends we consider them our family of choice. They are also excited about welcoming a child into the family. Both our families of origin and family of choice ask regularly for updates on our adoption journey and encourage us that we will make excellent parents.
From Us to You
Thank you so much for giving us this opportunity to introduce ourselves and tell you about our family. We are Erika and Chris. We are grateful that you love your child so much that you are willing to consider an adoption plan for them.
We met years ago and we both feel blessed to have found the other person. We have known both joy and sorrow. These experiences have helped us grow as people. We are fortunate in that we have a group of very close friends who are eager for us to adopt and welcome a new life into our family. We have learned over the years how important communication is. With life's ups and downs, we are always open and honest with each other. We can always fall back on how much we love each other and no challenge is thrown at us that we can't overcome by working together.
We live in a beautiful town with access to many outdoor activities, culture, museums, parks, and experiences. We love it here so much we can't dream of living anyplace else. Chris's mother lives less than a two-hour drive and while Erika's family is a little farther, we do go visit them a few times each year. We love to spend time in our backyard around a fire with friends or letting our dogs and friends' kids play in the sprinkler and wading pool. Alternatively, we enjoy traveling with the families we are friends with. Weekends spent camping or at the water park are some of our common adventures.
We have wanted to raise children for several years, whether they were biologically related to us or not. We worked with a fertility clinic for a few years, but without success. Now, we have set our efforts on adoption. We don't feel ashamed about this. We have long felt that what we want is a child to raise, and this gives us a new opportunity to share our life. We and our friend group are very excited to meet our future child and show them love.
We value education but not only in school. We will raise our children by showing them that learning can be fun. Teaching them about cooking, history, travel, language, working with your hands, and even with play. We plan to show them our beliefs and values. Respecting others who are from different places, have different values, and look different from us.
Chris is a big kid in his own right. We have a library of over 500 different games and Chris's work is to sell games and toys to different stores. Chris is the favorite uncle for family and friends and he always has new toys and games that need to be played (he calls it "product testing").
We will share with you your child's growth and experiences through photos, letters, and emails if desired. We are also open about our adoption journey with friends, family, and co-workers, and will be open with the child about how loved they are by all their parents. They will know that this was a hard but also a loving decision, and how much you love them.
Thank you for considering us as parents for your child. We are so excited to raise them in this world with love and respect.
Chris & Erika