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Matt & Carrie
When you think about military families you might think about uniforms, duty stations, dog tags, and deployments. Although these things have been a part of our life for the past ten years, our biggest adventure has been our family. Military families are strong units. We are a team no matter where we go and we are thrilled to be expanding our team!
Adoption in Our Lives
In January of 2017, we adopted our son Joshua. The process was long, the paperwork and background checks were tedious, and the wait felt endless. We were still hurting from learning that we could not conceive a child. Although it seems cliché, truly everything changed the minute we first held him. The wait seemed to vanish from our memory. The paperwork and background checks seemed like such a minor inconvenience compared to the overwhelming joy our beautiful boy brought us right away. We went from asking God and the universe why we were burdened with infertility to thanking Him for every circumstance that led us to our son. He is our joy and we could not be more proud to be his parents. Watching him grow into the amazing little boy he is has been an unbelievable blessing. We have learned that families are created in many ways. Some are made through biology and we are so lucky that Joshua's birth parents are a part of his life. Some are made throughout your life as you build strong bonds with friends. Our family was made through adoption, and it is beautiful and strong and perfect. We can't wait for it to grow.
Qualities We Love, Admire and Respect in Each Other
I Love Carrie Because ...
She is an incredible and unique woman, an amazing science teacher, and an incredible mother. She has a sense of wonder and curiosity about the world that is contagious. She is fun and funny, and she has been the glue that has kept our family solid through long work hours, nights on call, and military moves.
It has been a joy watching her be a mother to Josh. She delights in his milestones and his little quirks. She is so caring and loving with him, and she really lets him be a toddler and learn by doing, be it splashing in water, digging in the dirt, or helping cook dinner.
I am fortunate every day to be married to my best friend and to be part of this awesome family!
I Love Matt Because ...
Matt is uncommonly kind. He always treats people with respect and dignity. Matt is calm. He never let's the little things get to him. Matt works hard. He takes his responsibilities very seriously. He is a great teacher for our son. They could spend all day looking at planes in the Air and Space museum, reading books, or building with blocks. Matt shares his special way of looking at the world with Josh.
Matt is my best friend, and a wonderful partner to share this awesome journey with.
Addressing Cultural Diversity
We are a multi-racial family. We are white parents raising a child who is Vietnamese and African American. During our first adoption we were asked if we were open to parenting a child of another race. Our first response was, "Of course!" - our love for a child is unconditional. But we knew the world is not perfect. We dove into research. What do we need to do to parent a child of color? Can we teach this child how to navigate an often unfair world? Can we make it a priority that our child has peers and role models of the same race and culture? Are we strong enough to deal with the adversity that life may throw at our family? Can we give our child a sense of who they are?
Saying yes was not a decision we came to lightly. We wanted what was best for our child, and we knew that parents of color have to prepare their children in a way that white parents often do not. But we also know that our love is strong and our family resilient. We are committed to be humble, learn every day, seek out experiences to teach our children about their history, and sometimes be uncomfortable. We will make mistakes, but we will try harder. We will value our children for who they are and tell them they are beautiful. We will expose our children to a variety of cultures. We are a multi-racial family.
Our Extended Families
Matt's family is big and loud and always together! "Grandma" Helen can throw together an impromptu party at the drop of a hat and make it look effortless. Anytime we make it home to Cleveland, people and food just show up and we stay up laughing late into the night. Our favorite thing to do when we are together is to play "66," a card game that is similar to spades. Matt grew up playing and his dad taught Carrie early on in our relationship. We play women vs. men and have a long rivalry that we pick up at every visit. Our son adores his Grandma, Boba, and Auntie "T." Every time we come home when they have been spending time together there are always block towers built, water games played, puzzles pieced, and well-earned naps taken.
Carrie's family is more spread out, but tightly connected. We talk to Carrie's parents daily and Josh loves to FaceTime with G-pa and Mimi. Carrie's brother and Matt (they have the same name!) were actually good friends in college and even roommates. It is so great when we can get together with Matt, his wife Jenna, and their two girls Alice and Marcie. The four of us "go way back" and enjoy watching our kids growing up together.
Our House and Neighborhood
We currently live in a wonderful neighborhood outside of Washington, D.C. Our house is small, but cozy. There are three bedrooms and a small suite in the basement for grandparents and friends to use when they visit. When it's unoccupied, it is a play area for Josh. Our street is full of families with kids, as is the larger neighborhood. Josh loves walking to one of the local playgrounds to climb, slide, and swing. He also loves to ride the Metro into the city with us to see monuments, check out the dinosaurs at the Smithsonian, or run on the Mall.
We are a military family, so we will move around some. We could be in another big city or a small town, but Matt is in the Navy so we are usually by the water! It can be a challenge to move around, but we have found it brings us together as a family. We always find ourselves in a supportive, diverse military community, and we find ourselves living near some old friends and making new friends wherever we go. Despite the challenges, the unique experiences and self-reliance that comes with living in different places has helped make us who we are, even as we keep close ties with our families and friends.
From Us to You
As you sit reading this, you are in the process of making a choice. Although we do not know you yet, and are not familiar with your situation, we are very aware of how we felt when we first entered the world of adoption.
We had been married about seven years at the time. We were aching to have a child but nervous about the process. Every step of the way it seemed anxiety was present. It was there when we were filling out mountains of paperwork. It was there when we were going through background checks and medical tests. It was there when we were making a profile and waiting for a parent, much like you, to choose us. We were extra nervous when we got the call that a birth family wanted to meet us, even when we met them and loved them and hoped so much to be chosen.
Then, we were taken to a room where a perfect baby was almost asleep. He was placed in our arms. He looked up at us. We have never been more certain of anything in our lives - we were his parents. We were strong enough to have his back. We would love him fiercely. It may not always be easy for him, but he will always have us in his corner. We are a team.
This is what adoption is. It is connecting people - birth parents, children, adoptive parents, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends - whom God meant to be family. Now, almost 3 years later, we have learned through adoption that God's plan is perfect, even when the situation doesn't seem perfect. Through our son we have been connected to a birth family whom we love so much, and we have become parents who are utterly overjoyed to watch their child grow.
We are so excited to be adding to our family. We know that Joshua will be an awesome big brother. All three of us have so much love to shower on a new member of our team, and we know that the child we are meant to have will find us. Please know that whatever your decision, we will pray that you and your child find peace and happiness.
If you choose us, we hope to have an ongoing relationship with you. We believe that a child's connection to his or her birth family is important to give them a sense who they are, where they came from, and that they are loved. Further, it is important for us and for you, so we can all be secure in the knowledge that we are doing the best for the child. We hope that together, we can help our child truly thrive. We love putting together pictures, drawings, letters and updates for Joshua's birth family and would be happy to do the same for you. We are also open to more free contact, such as emails, phone calls, and visits. We hope that if you are willing, you will be a part of our child's life forever. You are an important part of who they are and who they will become, and we would love to stay connected.
Thank you so much for choosing life for your child. Thank you for considering adoption and for reading this letter. Adoption has made us the happiest Momma and Daddy in the world and we hope that adoption can bring you the certainty and peace you are seeking.
With so much love,
Matt & Carrie
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