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Hank & Melissa
Adopting our daughter has been the greatest blessing of our life, and we are excited and grateful to be on the journey of adoption again. Thanks for this chance to introduce ourselves and show you what it would be like for your child to grow up in our family. We have a home full of love and laughter and can't wait to welcome another child - and to get to know you, too.
Adoption in Our Lives
Our lives were forever changed when our daughter's first mother made the decision that we would be her parents. Our daughter is the light of our life and every day we are so grateful. We are grateful too that our relationship with Chloe's birth mom has continued to grow since that first day. We share messages and pictures often and try to visit at least once a year, knowing that this relationship will become even more important as Chloe gets older and has questions of her own. Our family gained much more than a child when we adopted - Chloe's birth family became like our extended family.
- Chloe's birth mom
We love spending time together as a family. Hank's research position allows him to work from home most of the time, and Melissa loves being a stay-at-home mom while also occasionally working remotely doing website work. We start our mornings with a family breakfast that Hank makes (fried eggs on toast, strawberry pancakes, and oatmeal with blueberries are favorites) before getting started with work or school. Most afternoons include a walk or bike ride to the playground or park to get the wiggles out before sitting down to dinner. On weekends we plan a fun family outing, like a bike ride to a park for a picnic, down to the National Mall for a hotdog and ice cream, or to the farmer's market for kabobs or tacos.
Our faith is central to who we are as a family. We talk to God as someone who is always with us, who loves and cares for us and helps us love and care for each other. Going to church as a family and being active in our church community gives us strength and support to be who God is calling us to be.
Our family loves reading together and telling each other stories (some from life, some made up on the spot for giggles). We also love traveling, whether it's road trips to the beach or to visit extended family, or a work trip for Hank (around the country or around the world!) with Melissa and Chloe tagging along for fun.
We love living in an international city with so much ethnic and cultural diversity, and we especially value Washington, D.C.'s African American history and culture. When we adopted our daughter, we knew we wanted to raise her in a community that shares her Black cultural heritage. We love our diverse neighborhood and the relationships we have with the people in our community.
We have formed some of our most important relationships at our church, which has a rich African American heritage. Our Catholic faith and being active in a Black church are very important to our family. Hank is in the men's Gospel choir and Chloe loves singing in the children's choir. Our church has a sister parish in Haiti and ties to the Cameroonian community as well.
Diversity was also important in our choice of a school. Our daughter's Montessori school has many teachers, administrators, staff and students of color and a curriculum that celebrates racial and ethnic diversity, equity and inclusion. We have sought out Black doctors, dentists, dance instructors and other people in our family's life so that our daughter is surrounded by people who share her experience as a Black American. We are grateful for all the people in our lives that celebrate our daughter's cultural and ethnic heritage.
Our House and Neighborhood
We live in a historic brick rowhouse on a quiet, tree-lined street. It's a quick walk to a national park and two playgrounds, tennis courts, and riverside biking and walking paths. We can walk to the library, church, Chloe's school and the local middle and high schools, too. Our annual block party is so much fun! We close the street and have food, music and games for the kids. Last year, Chloe got to ride a horse.
Our house has three levels, with bedrooms upstairs and Hank's home office and family room perfect for movie nights on our lower level. We spend most of our time on our main level in Chloe's play space and at our dining table for family meals, art projects, doing hair, playing games and more. We have strawberries, tomatoes, basil, cilantro, and parsley planted in our sunny backyard. Chloe loves helping to water the garden.
Washington, D.C. is an amazing place to raise a family. So many museums and monuments, local and international cultural events, farmer's markets, concerts and plays, the zoo, parks and other green space means our family can always find something fun to do. We love riding our bikes to the National Mall for a picnic, some kite-flying and (another Chloe favorite) walking up and down the stairs at the Lincoln Memorial.
Our Extended Families
Our families are so excited that we are adopting again! Hank is an only child, and his parents live near the beach. We have fun walking, biking and playing on the beach when we visit. Grandpa and Grandmama adore Chloe and can't wait to have another grandbaby to love.
Melissa's parents, Nana and Bappa, are also excited to shower another grandchild with love. Melissa has one brother, and when he married his wife became the sister she always wanted. They don't live nearby, but we video chat often and love getting together several times a year. Our families love taking vacations together. We recently rented a beach house for a week with Melissa's mom, brother and his family and had a blast relaxing, playing in the sand and splashing in the ocean. We watched fireworks, rode around town in a golf cart and celebrated Chloe's birthday together.
We think sibling relationships are precious. A brother or sister is someone you can count on growing up and will always be there for you. It is a hope dear to our hearts for our children to have that special relationship too.
From Us to You
We are so glad to share with you about our family and our hope to adopt again. Our daughter is our great joy, and we can't wait to fall in love all over again with another precious child.
Our story begins in high school, when Hank was a sophomore and Melissa a junior. Although we knew early on that we wanted to get married, we decided to wait until after we both had completed our undergraduate degrees. After Hank finished his first year of graduate school, we started trying to have a baby. It didn't take long to find out that it wouldn't be easy. We are grateful for that difficult experience of infertility because it helped us learn to take care of each other in hard times and truly share our hearts together. It also led us to adopt our precious daughter, and we couldn't imagine our lives without her.
We've now been married almost 18 years - good thing we started early! We feel like we've really grown up together. After finishing school and starting our careers, finally becoming parents has been the fulfillment of so many of our dreams. We're excited to begin our next adventure of becoming a family of four, and Chloe can't wait to have a little sister or brother to love.
When Chloe was born, Melissa had been managing an IT team doing website and database work. She left that job to be home with Chloe full time, and it's been such a blessing. Lately she's been doing an hour or two of consulting work a day while still being able to stay home with Chloe. Hank works from his home office most days so our family has lots of time together to talk, play and get things done as a team. Our days have a relaxed rhythm with lots of bike rides, walks, meeting friends, reading together and telling stories. We have so much love to give to another child.
Our diverse community is very important to us. "It takes a village to raise a child," and we are grateful to be able to raise our family surrounded by people who share their racial and cultural heritage (and people from a variety of backgrounds) at school, at church, and in our neighborhood. We know how important these relationships are for our children as they grow up in a multicultural family and a multicultural world.
We are also grateful for our relationship with our daughter's birth family. Our experience with open adoption has shown us that our family, our child, and their birth family all benefit from ongoing communication and the chance to form lasting connections. We hope to have an open adoption for our next child as well. We will send letters and pictures and would love to be able to arrange for video calls and visits too, if that is something you would like. Your precious child will always know who you are and the love you have for them, and you will be able to be a part of their life as they grow into the person that God has made them to be.
Please know that our family is praying for you as you choose a path for yourself and for your child. If you have any questions or want to learn more about our family, we would love to talk to you.
Hank & Melissa