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Mike & Traci
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our profile! The decision you are considering is truly one of the bravest and most selfless acts imaginable. We are honored that you would entrust us to be parents of your child. We are so excited to grow our family through adoption. We hope that you consider us and we look forward to the journey that lies ahead.
Adoption in Our Lives
Traci was adopted at birth by her parents into a large Polish extended family in a small two-stoplight town in Pennsylvania. It was a closed adoption unfortunately, and she has never met her birth parents and does not know much about them. Her adoptive parents were always very open with telling her she was adopted and what that meant. Her high school best friend (referred to as Coci or Aunt Meg by our boys) was also adopted from birth and had an open adoption relationship with her birth mother. Traci and Meg have obviously talked a lot about these experiences and our decision to adopt.
We feel that it will be wonderful for Traci to bond with our child around the experience of being adopted and what that is like. We hope to foster an open relationship with their birth parents and give our child the fullest picture of what makes them who they are.
Regardless of the race and ethnicity of our new baby, we are committed to addressing cultural and racial diversity both within our family and through our community. We do and will openly talk about race and cultural diversity with our children. We plan to give them plenty of opportunities to learn and talk openly about racism and how to handle instances of prejudice. We have been thoughtful about buying books and toys that celebrate diversity. We hope to surround our children with friends and role models of all races, and our community helps to make that goal achievable. Race has no impact on how much we will love and cherish our new baby, but we would never ignore race as an important part of our baby's identify and life.
10 Promises to You & Your Baby
Our House and Neighborhood
We own a home in a beautiful neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Our community is just outside of the city proper, but has a very small-town feel to it. Our neighborhood is diverse, safe, and friendly with a very strong community spirit. Our community has annual block parties, community days, Trick-or-Treating, caroling, and youth sports activities to keep our family busy. There are many young children, including several to adoptive parents, in our community which all but guarantee friendship opportunities for our kids.
Our home is a red brick Dutch Colonial, and each of our children has their own bedroom, along with a playroom on the third floor which is always seemingly bursting with blocks or Legos. We love that our home has a large fenced-in backyard (with a sandbox and swingset) where our boys love to play. Our oldest has even started to help maintain a small garden there. We also love that we are an easy walk away from things like the local library (down the street), community pool (down the street), coffee shops (around the corner), playgrounds (across the street), soccer fields (a few blocks), and restaurants (a few blocks). Our commute is about 15-20 minutes to work and 30 minutes to Mike's parents house, ensuring we don't waste time in our cars getting back to our children.
Our Extended Families
Mike's extended family is deeply rooted in Pittsburgh. His mother's family, including her four siblings and their children, live locally and we have get-togethers at least twice a month. Mike's sister lives 10 minutes from us and has two girls of her own. Traci's family is from northeast Pennsylvania, but they are planning a move to our neighborhood next spring or summer. It will be great to have everyone so close together, and we are all looking forward to another new addition to the family! Mike's parents are thrilled (if not a bit exhausted!) at the prospect of another grandchild and love that we are growing our family through adoption. Traci's parents, being adoptive parents themselves, could not be more thrilled that we also chose that path to parenthood and will certainly provide a wealth of experience and advice as we proceed forward.
We have several family traditions which we value deeply. Mike's favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. Last year, we hosted Thanksgiving at our home (our first attempt as it was usually held at his parent's). Our boys were thrilled to have so much family under their roof! For Christmas, both families have longstanding traditions. Mike's Italian family celebrates the Feast of the 7 Fishes and Traci's Polish family celebrates Wigilia, both on Christmas Eve. As our families continue to converge in Pittsburgh, we hope to merge these traditions into a unique Italian/Polish celebration.
From Us to You
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this letter and get to know us better. We also wanted to open by saying that what you are considering is a very brave act. Choosing a family for your child is a big decision and shows how much you love them.
We met when we were both 22 years old when we started medical school in Pittsburgh. On the first day, Traci ended up falling down a flight of stairs and Mike helped her up. We started dating soon after that and we were married right after graduation four years later. Next, we entered residency (Traci in pediatrics and Mike in orthopedic surgery), and our training was hard and our hours were long. We are continually thankful that we had each other through this process. Now, we have been together for 13 years and married for nine. People change a lot from age 22 to age 36. Thus, we sometimes tell people that we "grew up together."
Our plan was always to have a big family. We love a full house, a lot of laughter, and a lot of love. We both grew up with large extended families and had big, loud holidays. We wanted our children to have that love and support and to be there for one another.
Since Traci herself was adopted as a baby, we had always planned to adopt at least one child. In 2014, Traci got pregnant with our first son, Grant. He was unexpectedly born six weeks early and spent nearly a month in the hospital after he was born. It was very scary for us to be on the other side of medicine, but we had each other and our families. With time, everything worked out and Grant is now a perfectly healthy 4 and a half year old. He is bright, hard-working, and thoughtful. He loves cars and trucks and things that go and loves to read. He's going as a steelworker for Halloween this year ... because that's one of his heroes.
Three years later, Traci was again pregnant with our second son. With Grant's early arrival, she was considered "high risk" and we spent a lot of time in the doctor's office and getting ultrasounds. It was stressful and we were so anxious. But Patrick arrived right on time and immediately filled our lives with joy. He is charming and cheerful and loves a crowd. He is drawn to anything with a heartbeat and LOVES dogs.
As we look at our boys and what pregnancy was like for us, we recognized the time to adopt was now. We are so excited to grow our family through adoption. Traci is excited to share the experience of being adopted with a child and being with them to navigate this special part of their life. She had a closed adoption and, thus, knows nothing of her birth family. Truly, one of her heroes is her birth mother. Someone who she's never met. Thus, we hope to provide a different experience to our own adopted child and we promise to send many letters and pictures to you and we are open to other forms of contact.
Why should you chose us? We are good parents and good people. We are not perfect, but we are always learning and always trying. Our family is our number one priority. We want nothing more than to watch our children grow and learn and love life in this wonderful world. We will show them how to care for each other and how their family is the best team they will ever be on. When Grant was in the hospital, we couldn't control much, but we did read him Harry Potter every day. At the end of the series, Harry's father promises to stand by him "Until the very end." We feel this epitomizes what it means to be a parent. Through it all, whatever comes, we will be there for our children and each other.
What a brave thing you are doing. We hope we can share this journey with you.
Mike & Traci