What does "Family Life" mean to you?|
Family Life means sharing our lives together every day. This means that family has to be your first priority. We almost always have dinner together, and often have weekend gatherings with our extended families. We share the things that happened to us during the day or the week – good and bad. We often try to plan a special activity together on the weekends like going to the park or to the museum or zoo. We also like to attend church together and usually go out to lunch or brunch with Candice’s family after the service.
Describe your childhood:
Adoptive Mom? I grew up in a suburban neighborhood with my parents and one brother. My mom stayed home with us and would get us ready for school every day. We would do our homework in the afternoon, then play outside until dinner. I remember riding bikes and roller skating with my friends from the neighborhood. I also spent a lot of time with my grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins. I used to go to my grandparent’s house for special weekends with my cousin, who was a few years older than me. She and I are still really close. I was her maid of honor and she was my matron of honor, and I am godmother to her three children. I really enjoyed family celebrations and holidays when everyone got together. I think I was pretty lucky to have had such an idyllic childhood.
Adoptive Dad? I grew up in a small, rural community in Southern Illinois. My parents and sibling (brother) provided a loving and nurturing home. Our family stressed the importance of education and travel. When not focused on grades, I spent time participating in numerous extracurricular activities: Boy Scouts, baseball, basketball and golf leagues, Boys State, honor societies, spelling bees and math competitions, pinewood derbies, church camps, water skiing, and student government, along with fishing trips to local lakes in the summer. My family was close-knit, and it seems like we were together for every breakfast and dinner during my childhood. We also enjoyed summer vacations and travel (Grand Canyon, Washington D.C., Williamsburg, beaches, etc.) from my earliest days through my high school years. My parents have a loving, committed marriage and serve as my role models.
Tell us about your home?
We live in an English Tudor with lots of interesting architecture and hardwood floors. It has a living room with a two-story ceiling, wood beams and a stone fireplace. There are plenty of windows and a screened porch. We have a modern kitchen that leads to a deck in the back of the house, which is great for grilling. We bought this house because of the great neighborhood, the trees, and the family environment. We envision living here for the rest of our lives.
When you have a 3-day weekend, what do you like to do?
We try to catch up on projects at home or spend time with family and friends. We like to make big dinners or plan a special outing for the afternoon. Occasionally, we will plan a weekend getaway. Recently, we went to the lake to go fishing, horseback riding, and see the holiday lights.
Do you have pets? If so tell us about them?
We do not have pets at this time, however, we do plan to get a puppy – either a goldendoodle or a labradoodle (they’re super cute and don’t shed).
What is your favorite food?
John’s favorite food is Chinese or Thai food. Candice enjoys good cheese with fresh bread although I’ve become very fond of hot and spicy Dan Dan noodles (Thai).
What do you hope to teach your children?
We would like to teach our children to be good, honest, and hardworking people. We want them to take advantage of every educational opportunity so they can be happy and independent adults. We want them to understand that education is important because no one can ever take it away. We want them to be critical thinkers who are interested in learning about the world from various sources and forming their own opinions based on the information they have.
Do you play any musical instruments?
John plays the organ. Candice does not play any instruments.
Describe your neighborhood?
We live in a quiet suburban area with lots of beautiful older homes and trees. It is very family-oriented with many children who play outside and run around the neighborhood together. There are several schools within walking distance of our house. Every morning, there are children walking to school and neighbors walking their dogs or just exercising. There are several churches nearby as well as a few golf courses and swimming pools.
Share something about your spouse that only you know:
Husband? What don’t people know about Candice? She is a financial whiz! She is frugal, pays our family bills, saves for college and retirement, and is a prudent investor. (She also can be really goofy when we’re by ourselves – singing and laughing.) Another little known fact: Candice can tap dance.
Wife? John has milk and cookies or ice cream EVERY night before he goes to bed.
Describe the last romantic thing you did together?
We went away for a long weekend at a cabin by a lake. We built fires every night, took long walks around the lake, enjoyed romantic dinners, and John surprised me with a bouquet of roses waiting in our cabin.
What will you tell your child about their birthmother?
We will tell our child that we loved their birthmother for giving us such a precious gift and for taking such good care of you. Your birthmother loved you so much but she was not ready to be a parent. She wanted you to have a loving, stable home with every opportunity in the world and she chose us to be your parents. There will always be a special place in her heart for you and a special place in our hearts for her.
It's Daddy's day - what activity do you want to share with your child?
There are lots of activities I want to share with my child. A perfect day would be getting up early for breakfast with mom, and then heading off to the zoo or a museum for an adventure. We would come home to play and have dinner together. We end the day reading bedtime stories.
Do you plan on sharing with your child what their birth parents were like?
We plan to share information about their birth parents.
What kind of education are you hoping to provide for your child - Private or Public?
Public for early childhood and elementary. We have excellent options for both in our neighborhood, and we plan to determine whether or not to enroll in a private school later. It will depend on our child’s needs, strengths, and goals.
How did you come to the decision of adoption?
We always thought that adoption would be an excellent choice for us. We had several years of unsuccessful fertility treatments. During our final fertility treatment we had already decided that we were going to adopt. We were blessed with the adoption of our daughter in 2009 and so excited about building our family through adoption again.
What faith will you raise your child?
We will raise our child as a Christian.
How will you help your child accomplish their dreams?
We believe a loving and nurturing environment is critical, including setting boundaries, providing structure, being good role models, and devoting time each day to focus on our child. We will set high academic standards and goals, read and play with our child, and expose our child to a variety of activities (from music to sports to travel to books) in order to see which of these are most interesting to our child. We will expect our child to attend college, and we will monitor his or her progress throughout K-12. We will volunteer for school functions, attend parent-teacher conferences, help with homework, and support and root for our child in whatever they do. If there are set-backs, we will work extra hard to ensure that our child makes the most of the opportunities given to him or her. We have set aside sufficient funds for college and tutoring, but believe the best way to help a child achieve his or her potential is to set a good example for our child.
What kind of a relationship do you hope to build with your birthmom through her pregnancy?
We would like to get to know her and hopefully be involved in attending doctor’s appointments (or at least getting updates on how she is doing and how the pregnancy is progressing). We will be available to her in any way she needs us.
How did you meet?
We met on match.com (believe it or not), yet we grew up within 20 miles of each other. We have been happily married since 2005.
What was your relationship with your parents like?
We’re both really close to our parents.
What attracted you to each other?
In addition to finding her beautiful, I was impressed with Candice’s intellect, accomplishments and views on life. She is a strong, successful, independent woman who can juggle a demanding career and still find time to volunteer at church and spend time with family. Plus, she’s a great cook! I was attracted to John because he is one of the most loving people I know. He has always treated me with so much love, kindness and respect from the day we met. John is also one of the brightest and most hard-working people I know, and he makes me laugh really hard! We come from similar families: stable, no divorces, successful parents, with many of the same experiences, goals and beliefs. We often are amazed at how alike we are.
Please describe your personalities:
Husband? Hard-working, goal-oriented, ambitious, with a wide array of interests.
Wife? Outgoing, hard-working, and goal-oriented, with a hidden silly side.
What are your hobbies (please share those you enjoy as individuals and those you enjoy as a couple):
Husband? I enjoy music very much, whether that means searching out new CD’s for my library, collecting vintage sheet music, or listening to performers and groups at local clubs. I also have a collection of comic books and paperbacks, but I spend much less time with it now that I am older.
Wife? I enjoy reading, decorating our house, and cooking. I especially enjoy cooking for our family and friends. I spend lots of time looking for new recipes and trying things out on John. I love getting our house ready for company. I also love flower arranging, and I am taking classes on cake-decorating so I can make birthday cakes for everyone.
When you close your eyes and see yourself holding your precious baby in your arms what are your thoughts regarding the birthmother?
When I hold our adopted daughter, I just look at her and think about how grateful I am for this beautiful child. I feel such gratitude for the care she took to ensure that the baby was healthy and had a wonderful life. I hope that we are providing this child with the love and life that she envisioned when she chose our family. Sometimes I wish she could see her now because she is absolutely amazing. I want her to be proud of herself for her decision and to know that this child is loved and thriving.
How will a child enrich your life?
Our priorities have definitely changed. We focus more on the important things in life: family, togetherness, a better world, and a safe and enriching environment. Children have a special way of looking at the world that adults sometimes miss and they help you see life differently. The joy that we get out of little achievements like a new word or a fit of giggles are more rewarding than almost anything else we could accomplish.
Why did you each choose the career path you decided on?
Husband? I wanted to be an attorney since the eighth grade, and I never deviated from that path. I enjoy reading, writing and speaking, all of the tools a lawyer needs for the job. Fortunately, my parents were very supportive and helped with education costs. They wanted their children to live better lives than they did, and they sacrificed and pushed to make it happen.
Wife? I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to do after college. I thought about law school and graduate school. At college I participated in student phonathons (calling alumni to ask them to give to the university). After graduation, my boss sent me an announcement about a management job overseeing a phonathon program at a different university. Little did I know that it would be the beginning of my career in university fundraising. I really enjoy my work. It’s very satisfying to see your work help students achieve their goals.
What makes a birthmom special?
A birthmother places her child’s interests and well-being ahead of her own because she wants what is best for her child. She will always be part of her child and her child will always be a part of her.