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John & Jen
Thank you for taking the time to meet our family. We love playing together and traveling. We spend eight weeks every summer exploring the continent in our campervan. Our love for each other and for the outdoors is something we want to share with our new baby when we welcome them into our family. We are so excited to grow our family through adoption and to watch our love for each other grow with our family.
Why We Chose Adoption
We have a 2-year-old daughter named Willow. She is an easy-going kid who is very fun to be around. Willow's favorite toys are baby dolls. She wraps them in blankets, rocks them, and sings to them. She always makes sure they have clothes or a blanket so they won't be cold. Willow loves seeing real babies. When we see a baby she always wants to follow and watch the baby. She will be an amazing big sister!
It took us a long time to bring Willow into the world. After four years of trying everything there was to try, Jen finally got pregnant. We were beside ourselves with excitement and when Willow came into the world, we cherished every moment with her. We felt lucky to have a reason to be up in the middle of the night changing poopy diapers. We have loved it all and we have tried to laugh through the hard times, feeling lucky to have her in our lives. When Willow was born there were serious complications. Although Willow is healthy, the birth was very hard on Jen. In the end, Jen lost her ability to carry children. We love being parents and we feel as though we have so much more love to give in our family. We both grew up with siblings and cousins and were surrounded by a lot of family on a regular basis. We know adoption is the right course for our loving family. We are friends with several families who have adopted children, and we want that same growth of love and happiness for our family as well.
Our number one priority in life is spending time together. We have worked to maximize our family time. We are both teachers at the same school, so we are on the same schedule and have the same breaks. We devote our summers to exploring the outdoors together in our eight week-long trips. We built our own campervan to be our summer home. We travel to mountains, rivers, oceans, and to see family and friends. We go backpacking, rock climbing, boating, hiking, and biking. We spend time laughing and playing together for the entire summer and it is wonderful.
We also focus on having quality family time every afternoon, evening, and weekend during the school year. We usually get home from school by 3:30 and devote the rest of the day to having fun together as a family.
On weekends we visit family and friends, go camping, or take our canoe out on nearby crystal clear, spring-fed rivers.
Our main focus is to spend time together. We deliberately made changes in our jobs so we are able to work less and spend more time with our family, which is the most important thing in our lives.
We both teach in a very diverse high school and have students of many different cultures, races, religions, socioeconomic classes, and languages spoken at home. We form strong relationships with our students. We encourage them when they aren't performing to their potential, we congratulate them when they succeed, and we listen to them when they need to talk. We laugh with them, celebrate with them, march with them, worry with them, and cry with them. We love our students. All of our students. As parents, it is important to raise our children to love and celebrate all people for who they are. It is also important to us to raise our daughter with an understanding that her privilege in life necessitates engagement in actions that work towards equity. We want our children to grow up proud of who they are, confident in themselves, kind to everyone around them, and empowered to demand what is right.
Our House and Neighborhood
We love living where we live. We have a very diverse group of friendly neighbors. Some of our best friends live right down the street and have small children. Our neighborhood is right next to a huge city park. We live within walking distance of a world-class zoo and we visit so often Willow knows many of the animals by name. We like to go at times when it isn't crowded and we have the animals to ourselves. The park also has miles of hiking and biking trails. We walk, run, or bike there almost daily. There is a great little creek Willow loves to play in on hot days. We live near a wonderful science center, where Willow's favorite display is the huge dinosaurs. We also enjoy visiting the art museum and sledding down the huge hill in front of it when it snows. Our favorite recent exhibit was the Kehinde Wiley exhibit.
Our house is fun and simple. We built a climbing wall and Willow loves climbing on it with us. We have a large backyard with a big garden and fruit trees. It is a nice place to play and we often eat outside.
Our Extended Families
We are lucky to have supportive families who live nearby. They are all very excited for us to welcome another little one into our family. John's sister's family lives a short drive from us. We have dinner with them every Sunday night. Willow loves playing with her cousins and giggles most of the time we are together. Jen's parents live nearby, and watch Willow twice a week during the school year. At their house, we enjoy playing piano, feeding the fish in the outdoor pond, and picking and eating vegetables from the garden. John's parents live a couple of hours away and we visit about every 3 weeks. They live in the country, and we enjoy hiking and biking the miles of trails around their house, swimming in their lake, and exploring the woods. John's mom is a retired kindergarten teacher and she always has fun, educational activities for the kids. We love when the whole family gathers at their house for a weekend or holiday. The seven grandchildren have a great time together making up games, playing outside, and having slumber parties. We meet John's brother's family on a regular basis to do outdoor adventures together. This summer we spent 5 days canoeing in the Boundary Waters in Minnesota. Jen's sister's family lives in North Carolina. We enjoy going to the beach with them and playing in the sand with the kids. We are very close to our parents and siblings and spend a lot of time with them.
From Us to You
We are so excited to be connecting with you, and greatly appreciate you taking the time to get to know us a little better. We are simultaneously amazed by your strength, mindful of your unique challenges, and humbled to be meeting you right now.
We met almost twenty years ago, working summer jobs at a camp that allowed us to do two of the things we love the most: work with young people, and do it in an outdoor adventure setting. We formed the early parts of our relationship on riverbanks and long walks, planting the seeds that would grow into the foundation of our lives together. We worked and played through school, jobs, births, weddings, and funerals. We've shared the most formative years of our lives, and feel like we turned into adults together. We've been each other's sources of joy, shoulders to cry on, and source of strength on which we've built our lives and our family.
The day our daughter was born was both the best day and hardest day of our lives. We were so excited to meet and hold our new baby for the first time. Then we faced the fear that Jen might lose her life, and grieved over losing the ability to have more biological children. Through it all we remain so thankful Jen lived, and that we have a happy family. From the moment we met our daughter, Willow, we realized a new level of love was possible that seemed to enter into every part of our lives. We know we have an endless supply of love to grow our family, which is why we are pursuing adoption.
Our family values quality time above all else, and quality time with our family is our favorite thing. We've built our lives around the activities we love to do, from paddling rivers for weeks on end to backpacking with our daughter to mountain passes. In her first three years, our daughter has seen 35 states, and has spent over 150 nights camping. We look forward to our summers, when we explore the country for two months, seeing oceans, redwood trees, mountain lakes, and the deserts of the American Southwest. Even days at home, after a long day of work, generally end with a bike ride together, or a walk in the park.
We've intentionally built the work-life balance we need, which allows us both the time to enjoy our family time and personal passions, while also gaining a sense of personal and professional fulfillment in the service of others. We're both high school teachers, and we both absolutely love it. We love building relationships with young people from every possible background. We love being the person they celebrate with when they accomplish something amazing, and being the person they find when their lives are met with extreme challenges, fears, or uncertainties. We love working with young people to help them achieve their goals, whatever they may be, and we love working with young people to help them expand their own ideas of what they can accomplish. We love meeting every student exactly where they are, wherever they are. Long before we had a child of our own, we had hundreds of kids we loved like our own.
These important relationships have also taught us a great deal about family. We are both beyond fortunate to be part of a family that has taught us how to love, grow, cry, and laugh together. But we've also come to know that our family reaches beyond our family trees. We've come to understand that our family isn't simply who lives in our house, or who we see on Christmas. Our family doesn't all have the same religious practices or skin color. Our family is the entirety of the circle of people we love without end, and we're so excited to add to that family through adoption.
We are excited to grow an open relationship with you, to share pictures, letters, and to visit. You will be an important part of our child's story and you will be honored and loved in our family. We would be happy to meet with you before the birth of your baby.
John & Jen
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