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Nathan & Jennie
We are so grateful that you are taking time to read about our family. Our home is full of love, laughter and adventure, and we can't wait to share all of that with another child. We have learned so much about parenting while raising our three year-old son, and we can't wait to welcome another child into our family!
Cultural diversity is something that we welcome and embrace. One of the main reasons we chose to live and work overseas is the opportunity to immerse ourselves in different cultures. From eating exotic foods to learning new languages to living amongst people of a different race and culture, we have learned to appreciate and celebrate cultural diversity. As U.S. diplomats overseas, we represent the world's most diverse country. Therefore, a lot of what we do is focused on celebrating the cultural diversity that makes our country so great.
While in the end we are all human, it's important to recognize that people come from different places with complex cultural histories. If our adopted child is of a different race than us, we plan to help the child connect with their cultural heritage. While Eli already plays with diverse toys from all over the world that represent different ethnicities, languages and cultures, we will ensure that we have even more racially diverse books, toys, movies and music to help the child connect to their culture. The diplomatic community has a lot of cultural diversity, so we are surrounded by families of different races on a daily basis. When the child is older, we would like to join a transracial adoption family group to help the child make friends with other adopted kids in the same situation. In all, we want the child to know that they are an important part of our family, and their cultural heritage will be celebrated.
Our Family Traditions
Our favorite and most frequent family tradition is Friday Night Pizza Night! We love eating a wide variety of foods, but pizza is undeniably delicious. It's also Nathan's favorite food, so Friday is always the highlight of his week. Jennie is a good sport, so she helps choose and prep all the ingredients. Nathan makes the crust from scratch. Then Eli helps add the toppings (although he spends most of the time eating the cheese instead of putting it on the pizza). Final results vary, but usually the pizzas are pretty tasty!
We usually visit our families for the holidays, so we are not always at our house for Christmas. Nonetheless we go ALL OUT decorating for the holidays. Right after Thanksgiving, we get to work putting up the Christmas tree, hanging the stockings and filling the house with garland and Christmas lights. We blast Christmas music and decorate the tree with ornaments we've collected over the years that remind us of our family, friends and adventures.
We have lots of other special traditions, like hockey games on Christmas morning with Nathan's family and Easter egg hunts with Jennie's family. What we really love about all of these traditions is the time we spend with family, and the memories that we make together.
Qualities We Love, Admire and Respect in Each Other
What I admire most about Jennie is her huge heart. Her first priority in life is to help other people. She cares deeply for people, and goes above and beyond to make those in her life feel special. With our numerous nieces and nephews, Jennie makes each visit special with unique gifts and activities. If you asked our nieces and nephews who their favorite aunt is, all of them would answer, “Auntie Jennie!” Watching Jennie with our own son, I have realized that she was born to be a mother. She is naturally nurturing, loving and kind. She places the health and well-being of our family before anything else. She is a wonderful mother, an amazing wife and a beautiful person.
What I love most about Nathan is his positivity, energy and intelligence. Nathan strives to see the good in every person and every situation. When things are challenging, he has a calmness and sense of humor that help us focus on the bright side of things. He makes even the most mundane things fun, like making up silly songs when he's helping Eli brush his teeth or tie his shoes. Nathan also enjoys new challenges and learning. When something seems unattainable, Nathan keeps at it and works until the task has been accomplished. He is an unbelievable role model for Eli. Nathan has great patience, a love for life, and is a kind and considerate person. I can't imagine a better father for our children.
Our Extended Families
Family is the most important thing to us. We are very close with our families. Nathan comes from a family of six children, and his siblings have 11 kids. Jennie's sister also has a son. That means our son, Eli, has 12 cousins who mean the world to him. Whenever we're together, Eli has the time of his life. For example, last summer we spent three weeks with Nathan's parents in Minnesota, and Eli had sleepovers with his cousins and spent his days playing baseball and swimming in the lake.
We are thankful to have jobs that allow us to take more time off than usual. We use most of this time to visit home. We try to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with our extended families. Our family also visits us often. Recently, Nathan's mom visited us to celebrate Eli's 3rd birthday and made him his favorite homemade lasagna dinner and a special birthday cake. Jennie's parents also spent two weeks with us last month, and we went hiking at some amazing places nearby.
Our families are very open and accepting of everyone. Nathan's step-brother has adopted two children, and they are every bit a part of the family as every other child. Absolutely EVERYONE in our family is beyond excited to welcome another child into our family.
Our House and Neighborhood
We work as diplomats for the U.S. government, so we have the opportunity to live and work at U.S. embassies around the world. We typically move to a different country every few years. At the moment, we are living in the state of Virginia while Nathan is in training for work. As a diplomatic family, we are part of a very tight-knit diplomatic community made up of other families in our same situation. Because many other families live the same lifestyle, we tend to build a strong community very quickly each time we move. Every U.S. embassy community holds numerous events and gatherings throughout the year, usually focused on holidays and activities for children.
When we are working overseas, we either live in a single-family home or a spacious apartment. The size of the home depends on family size, so each child gets their own room. The type of neighborhood we live in depends on the country we're in. Sometimes we are in a neighborhood full of parks and playgrounds, sometimes we have exclusive access to swimming pools and baseball fields, and sometimes we live in a country where it's normal for people to rent elephants for kids' birthday parties! Every day is an adventure for us, and we are so lucky to have the chance to immerse ourselves in a variety of cultures around the globe.
From Us to You
We are so grateful that you are taking the time to learn about our family. We can't imagine how difficult this is for you, and what a tough decision this must be. We truly believe that you are courageous and selfless to even consider adoption, so thank you.
Family is incredibly important to us. We promise you this, if your child becomes part of our family, we will love them unconditionally, and we will always tell them how much you love them. We will live every day for them. You will always be the child's birth mother, and we will honor that as a family. We will talk to your child about their adoption story early and often. We would like to stay connected with you through emails, letters, pictures and phone calls to keep you updated about their life. If you are open to it, we would also like to have future visits with you.
We have been together for 16 short years, and we just celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. We have one son, Eli, who is 3 years old. We have learned so much about life and parenting while raising Eli. He is a sweet, energetic little boy, and he is excited to explore the world with a younger brother or sister. We have always envisioned having a family of four or more, but we are unable to have more biological children. We talked about adoption as a way to grow our family even before we were married, so this is a natural next step for us. We can't wait to welcome another child into our lives through adoption!
Nathan works as a diplomat for the U.S. government, so we live and work in different countries all over the world. While we've had our share of adventures, our daily lives overseas aren't much different than life in the United States. We cook, clean and spend time doing simple but meaningful things together as a family, like reading books, doing puzzles and going for walks. Jennie works part-time for the U.S. government, and she has flexibility to work as little or as much as she wants. When Eli was a baby, Jennie stayed home to raise him and then gradually started working again when he was about two years-old.
Regardless of where we are living at any given time, we make sure that it always feels like home. Our house is always filled with love, laughter and reminders of our family and friends back home. The diplomatic community is a very close group of people, and many other families have the same lifestyle as us. Educational opportunities are amazing, as the schools are some of the best in the world and incredibly diverse. Family time is a priority, so our extended families come to visit us often, and we have a lot of vacation time that we use to fly back home to visit them. We have always felt that we have a very large support system while living abroad.
We hope that you have a sense of what our family and life is like from our profile and video. We think it's important to make the most of each day, so we try to have fun in everything we do. We're a very active family, and enjoy hiking, jogging, playing sports and being in the great outdoors. We strive to be positive and kind people, and we try to instill these same values in our children. We want our children to grow up to be confident, thoughtful, caring adults who think about the needs of others.
We are wholeheartedly committed to this process and look forward to learning more about you. Thank you, again, for taking time to get to know our family. We appreciate your courage to consider this beautiful act of adoption.
Lots of love,
Nathan & Jennie
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