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Drew & Kirsten
Our adoption story is simple: we have been called to share our love for each other by opening our lives to children. Yet, this is not only about us. Our daughter, Therese, joined our family through adoption. So yes, this snapshot is partly our story, but it is also Therese's story and her birth mother's story. We know that in your choosing to look at our profile, we may become part of your story. We are ready for that. We are excited about that. Most of all, we are grateful to you for considering us.
Adoption in Our Lives
We always knew we were called to have children. When we were engaged, we talked about the potential of adopting and how both of us were open to it as a way of growing our family. And then, as we encountered difficulties in conceiving, we prayerfully discerned either taking more radical steps to get pregnant or to begin the adoption process. We were graced to realize that we were indeed called to adopt. That decision was ratified by the peace we experienced, the excitement expressed by our family and friends, and ultimately Therese's adoption.
After we got the call that Therese was born, we were on a cross country flight within two hours. Three weeks of hotel beds, then a cramped AirBnB, eating fast food for dinner every night, and learning how to navigate a new city were all worth it. We would do that and ten times more again. Therese has turned our world upside down in the best possible way and has reinforced that we are being called to be mom and dad to more than one child.
What Makes Us Unique
Fridays are pizza nights with our own twist. Drew makes the sauce from the tomatoes Kirsten has grown, and Kirsten makes the dough from scratch. While watching a hockey game, Drew often shells peanuts which he'll later turn into peanut butter. Our freezer always has a pint of our homemade ice cream in it. Plus, our pantry is full of homemade bread and granola and cookies and cupcakes and regular cakes and tortillas and guacamole and hummus and whatever ever else sounds good at the time. Therese is always an eager helper and enthusiastic ingredient sampler. During the fall, our kitchen is chaotic as we make our applesauce, and at holiday time, Kirsten and Therese make fudge while Drew concocts caramel corn.
We've also adopted a do-it-yourself approach to our home and lives. Since we've been married Drew has learned how to mount cabinets, install pipes, change car batteries, and finish furniture. Not to be outdone, Kirsten has laid tile, fixed toilets, fought chipmunks in order to grow a few vegetables in her garden, and sewn toys and stuffed animals for Therese and our nieces and nephews.
We gave Duplo blocks to Therese, and recently she has taken to building things on her own and asking for help to create her ideas. The pride on her face is evident as she shows us a new construction. It has been great for us as parents to see her increasing independence and confidence. We are excited at the possibility of sharing that do-it-yourself attitude with another child.
Qualities We Love, Admire and Respect in Each Other
Kirsten About Drew: Drew is a tremendous father. He is caring and attentive with Therese, sometimes acting as her jungle gym (Mt. Dad, as we call it), other times gently rocking her to sleep. She knows that when he comes in the door, regardless of how tired he is from his work day, she is in for a toss in the air and some Uno Moo or a ride around the block on her bike.
It was evident on our first date that Drew's relationships with his family and friends take priority in his life, and I have witnessed that every day of our life together. He is selfless and humble, even more so now that Therese is in our family. He is our rock.
Drew About Kirsten: Kirsten has created a home where we break into dancing in the kitchen (twirling Therese as my phone plays Dancing in the Moonlight), we sit on the couch and talk about a movie for an hour after its last credit, and bath time for Therese turns into romps filled with splashing, suds, and laughter.
There is a grace and consideration for others grounding all of her relationships. A squirrel begins to scamper in the back yard? Kirsten will scoop up Therese to help her witness the hectic furry bolting. Papers are piling up? She will arm herself with a red pen, join me at the dining room table and help me grade.
She is the love of my life and the heart of our family. The greatest gift I can think of for anyone to receive is to have her as an adoptive mother.
Our House and Neighborhood
We bought our house and selected our Ohio neighborhood with kids in mind. There is plenty of space for children to play and explore, both inside and out. Plus, our block seems to have exploded with young families over the past few years. Each evening there is a parade of mothers and fathers pulling kids in wagons, jogging watchfully next to unsteady bike-riders, and pushing strollers; it's been great to join them with Therese! She loves riding her bike and saying hello to everyone we see. Our city's rec center and library are a stroll away. Kirsten and Therese take swimming lessons at the rec center and are regulars for storytime at the library.
We live in an epicenter of parks. It is routine for Therese and Drew to ride to one of the parks to explore. Two are densely wooded, while a third has all new equipment and a splash park. Therese splashes through streams in her rain boots, picnics with us in the gazebo, and hikes up trails "all by herself." She revels in picking flowers on the way home to present to Kirsten. A three minute drive places us in our region's metro park and all it offers (zoo, rivers, biking and hiking trails, tobogganing, etc.). Kirsten and Therese have spent many mornings exploring the trails there and getting hands on with the wildlife in the nature center. Additionally, a national park is only twenty minutes away.
Our Extended Families
Our lives are centered around family. Each of us is blessed to have parents who have been married for over forty-five years, and we look forward to continuing to create that type of stable home for our children.
We meet up with Kirsten's parents and three siblings' families often. The whole family gathers frequently at her parent's 300-acre farm, surrounded by rolling hills and forest trails. We sit around the camp fire talking late into the evening while making s'mores until the mosquitos chase us inside. Once, while a number of us were playing baseball, everyone else witnessed our nephew, Liam, drive an ATV at slow speed right into the pond. Everyone goes to the nieces' and nephews' hockey games, concerts, and plays. Therese has seven cousins on this side of the family, so every time we get together, it is loud, rambunctious, and lots of fun.
On Drew's side of the family, we have a weekly standing date with his parents for dinner. Either we have them over and we make it from scratch, or we go to their house and they order take-out. We travel out of state to see Drew's sister's family every year. When we get together with them, our time is filled with bike riding, baseball, and board games.
From Us to You
We don't presume to know your circumstances. We do, however, know that even in thinking of an adoption for your child you are doing something beautiful and courageous. Thank you for considering us.
We have been married for over ten years, and when we were engaged, we talked about the possibility of adopting. We knew that we were called to be parents and that children would be part of our life together. After being married for a few years and not conceiving on our own, we began the adoption process and were thrilled to welcome our daughter, Therese, into our family. She has turned our world upside down in the best possible way and has reinforced that we are being called to be mom and dad to more than one child.
We have been planning for children. We bought and renovated our house with kids in mind. While Kirsten had a successful career in the non-profit sector, she intentionally scaled back her responsibilities before Therese came along, and is now happily at home full-time taking care of her. Drew's job as a teacher, along with his school's particularly supportive environment, provides him the freedom to be the dad children deserve. Our home is one where we eat dinner together, childhood interests are nurtured, we go to Church on Sundays, and bedtime stories are read.
Along with us, all of our family and friends are elated that we are pursuing adoption again. Therese can't wait to be a big sister. Your child will be embraced by myriad cousins. There will be doting grandparents, plenty of playmates, and aunts and uncles vying for the chance to spend time with their new niece or nephew.
It is our promise that you will see your child grow. Of course, we'll send pictures and letters detailing all of the milestones in his or her life, but we'll also include the little moments of grace - milk mustaches, bathtub mohawks, and working at lemonade stands. After Therese was born, we also started a family website where we regularly post pictures and updates. And, we are very willing to consider regular visits, video calls, and phone calls.
Love grounds and sustains families. Your child will always know that our family grew because of your love for him or her. As his or her adoptive parents, your child will come to see us as an extension of your love. We will celebrate the graced fact that he or she is adopted. There will be no big surprise, no mystery--only the understanding that he or she is unconditionally loved by both you and us. We have seen the benefits of an open relationship. Therese's birth mother let us know what was helpful for her. We know, however, that your feelings and thoughts are unique, so we will take our cues from you.
You are considering something selfless and strong. Thank you for being open to us as part of your decision. You have both our gratitude and respect.
Know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.
Drew & Kirsten