What does "Family Life" mean to you?|
Establishing and sharing generational family traditions as we have begun doing with our son, such as attending weekly Mass, hiking in the mountains, movie night/board game night, 4th of July at the beach, decorating for the Holidays, backyard barbecues and our nightly dinners at our table together. We strive to work hard so we can play hard and believe that nothing is more important than the development of and the sharing with family!
Describe your childhood:
Adoptive Mom? My childhood was surrounded by grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins along with my two brothers. Family get-togethers were legendary with summers spent at the family cottage on the lake. I grew up in the Catholic faith and in a neighborhood packed with kids. From an early age, I participated in cheerleading, played the piano, took tennis lessons, played shortstop in softball and participated in marching and symphonic bands in High School. My family had many, many family traditions such as apple picking in the fall to Easter egg hunts grand enough for the whole neighborhood. In my teenage years, I volunteered as a candy striper at the Hospital and later on was a Big Sister with Big Brothers/Big Sisters organization.
Adoptive Dad? I grew up in Ohio with a high school teacher and marathon runner for a father and a stay at home mom with an adventurous spirit. Along with my sister and parents, my summers as a child were spent hiking and backpacking the Appalachian Trail. Camping was a way of life for my family and I was one step away from becoming an Eagle Scout. This is how I learned to admire and respect the great outdoors. I not only enjoyed school but also graduated with honors while participating in track and cross-country. My family taught very traditional values as shown by our nightly dinners around the table and our annual summer vacations together as a family.
Tell us about your home?
Our home is our oasis from the pressures and stresses of the world. We often have family and friends visiting to enjoy the great year-round weather and our bright and inviting home. Living in a modest condo in a pleasant, family friendly gated community, our “oasis” has seen some changes since Bryce came into our lives! Today our home paints a far different interior picture. A real life tepee now sits at the center of our great room and colorful balls to roll around inside a tent with a tunnel to crawl into and play hide-n-seek. The screened in lanai is now a forest of birds with a corner saved for “our fort”. Bryce has his own kitchen cupboard with wooden spoons and pot lids, everything needed for a makeshift band. The art work on the walls now consists of collages of pictures of Bryce, of course! Our home is just that, the heart of who we are. From the very first day our son became a part of that home, the “heart” has expanded. Our chocolate lab, Maggie, and our son have lots of room both inside our home and throughout our neighborhood for fun, exploration and exercise!
When you have a 3-day weekend, what do you like to do?
Often on a long weekend, we will travel to such places as Key West or to Colorado for skiing or mountain biking, or to the Carolinas for hiking in the mountains. Staying local for the weekend is as exciting as traveling. We enjoy going to the local Farmer’s Market as a family, attending our friends’ children’s soccer games, play dates, having family and friends over for a barbecue or dinner party, or taking our son to the Children’s Museum which is almost in our backyard!
Do you have pets? If so tell us about them?
We would like to introduce the love of our family: Maggie the Magnificant! She is a five-year-old Chocolate Labrador Retriever who we adopted through Lab Rescue. Her name is very meaningful to Craig as his childhood summers were often spent in the Maggie Valley, NC area. Maggie is extremely friendly and very gentle with children; to say she is easy going and lovable would be an understatement along with her abundance of wet kisses. Our son is often rolling around on the carpet with Maggie giving her cuddles. Maggie is so very protective of our family but especially our son. She lies by his crib at night and never ventures far from his side. They truly are inseparable.
What is your favorite food?
Did someone say pizza?? We have a huge appetite for gourmet cuisine or really any cuisine - Sushi, Italian, Greek as we have many places accessible to us to challenge our taste buds. Our kitchen is filled with fresh and organic vegetables and fruits from the local farmer’s market, and of course there is always a little ice cream waiting for us in the freezer.
What do you hope to teach your children?
We are teachers promising that our child’s days will be filled with fun pastimes, adventures and opportunities, and yet will be balanced with an environment of peace, structure, faith in God, value of education and recognizing the integral importance of family. We look to extend education from the classroom to the outdoors, church, sports and social interactions. We look in the future and see possibly Saturday soccer games, gymnastics, biking, swimming and school plays all while becoming a well-diverse, loving and giving child. Our son has experienced weekly story time classes at our local library and since he was nine weeks old has participated in Kinder Music program. He loves to be outside exploring nature and the world and absolutely loves to be around people!
Do you play any musical instruments?
As adults, we do not play any musical instruments (nor can we necessarily sing) but in our childhoods, Craig played the clarinet and Kerri played the piano and flute.
Describe your neighborhood?
Right outside our gated community is a new and large neighborhood park and play ground. We live in a neighborhood with a diverse range of people from retirees to school children, and we are quite certain that there are more dogs in our community than neighbors! We are so fortunate to have many amenities in our neighborhood from a huge resort-style swimming pool to basketball-tennis-and beach volleyball courts, a fitness center and great fishing on our private lake. For the golfer, such as Craig, there is a putting green to practice his short game and we have a playground with slides and swings. The Elementary, Middle and High Schools are all within a few miles of our home and the High School football teams are repetitive State Champs! Our backyard almost reaches the Water Amusement Park, Library, Zoo, Children’s Museum and beaches.
Share something about your spouse that only you know:
Adoptive Mom? The depth of Craig’s nature and ability to nurture relationships near and dear to him and those he comes into contact with is above and beyond the norm. He is a sincere and genuine listener and goes out of his way to support family, friends and even strangers by guiding and caring through any small matters to major life events. Since becoming a father, these attributes have only magnified as he is such a hands-on parent.
Adoptive Dad? My wife is a quietly spiritual person who still carries daily an old bible that she was given by her great aunt 25 years ago. She often steps out at lunch to the adoration chapel at our local Parrish to reflect and pray. She lives a life that is filled with love and God and practices her faith daily. As a mother she is very attentive to our son’s needs and wants, and goes to great lengths to assure that he is always learning new values and attributes. She makes sure his life is fun and fulfilling in all ways.
Describe the last romantic thing you did together?
We walked the beach together as a family on Christmas afternoon! A simple moment filled with such peace and an abundance of love!
What will you tell your child about their birthmother?
We will convey to our child, as we have with our son very early on, the selflessness and graciousness of their birthmother by her actions to choose us as parents for her baby. We hope to learn as much about our birthmother as she will know about us so we can tell her story and journey. We embrace and welcome the opportunity to share stories of our child’s birthmother so our precious child will have a great understanding and appreciation for who she is. We want our child to truly feel the love that their birthmother has for them this day and in the future.
It's Daddy's day - what activity do you want to share with your child?
On daddy day you can count on my son and me doing activities that are both fun and developmental. We love to be outside either backpacking and exploring with our chocolate lab, playing at the park, swimming, digging in the sand at the beach, kicking around the soccer ball or swinging the golf club. If the day is raining, you will find us inside playing or reading, singing, at the local Jumping Jack play center, or at the library. Regardless, there are always lots of laughs and hugs between us.
Do you plan on sharing with your child what their birth parents were like?
Absolutely, as stated earlier we hope to know as much about our birth parents as they learn about us so we can tell their stories for years to come. Since our son was days old we began talking to him and telling him of all the wonderful things about his birthmother, visits we had and how much she loves him. We believe in sharing our son’s adoption story with him throughout ever day life.
What kind of education are you hoping to provide for your child - Private or Public?
We both will take active roles in our child’s education, as we value not only the education of today but in the future. Although, Kerri attended both private and public school, we agree on public education for our child as Kerri’s aunt was an elementary teacher for 30 years and Craig’s father was a High School history teacher for 35 years, both in public education. We will willingly look for and present appropriate social and educational opportunities for our child.
How did you come to the decision of adoption?
Adoption found us while on our journey to having a family and it feels like it “fits us like a glove”. We feel in our hearts that adoption is as much a miracle as giving birth. We can wholeheartedly tell our birth parents, that we are in agreement on again adopting and we have an understanding that being adoptive parents begins with an ever-lasting promise. We are adopting a child because we believe we could offer a child a life of unconditional love, stability, growth, wonderful childhood memories and most importantly we would love to have a child to complete our family and give our son a sibling who he could share all his love with.
What faith will you raise your child?
We look to raise our child in the Catholic faith. We believe in the traditions and rituals that will bring tremendous value in the spiritual growth of our child and our family. Our church has children of all ages. Each week at Mass, the children are called to the altar by the Priest and given a special blessing followed by juice and doughnuts outside in the sunshine!
How will you help your child accomplish their dreams?
We will instill in our child a sense of worth and purpose by always treating him/her with respect and tenderness. We will be patient in the way we explain all the new wonders of the world as they occur. We will constantly strive to be out in the world seeing and experiencing these new wonders. We will talk and engage with our child to teach and nurture their formation of thoughts, beliefs and values. We wish to lead our child to the path where they can find and fulfill their dreams and aspirations.
What kind of a relationship do you hope to build with your birthmom through her pregnancy?
We hope to get to know her and her family along with learning of her hopes and dreams, as we believe this will be very important to the “adoption story” that we build for our precious child. By having true insight into our birthmother, we will be able to bring to life all the great treasures that are part of this wonderful story!
How did you meet?
We met through mutual friends at party in the park in Michigan. During the summer months, each Friday evening, local musicians, artists and vendors gather at the city’s historic park for this great community event for all ages. Oh, did we mention that we were caught in a surprise rainstorm?
What was your relationship with your parents like?
Craig - My parents were very nurturing in a learning and developing kind of way. They spent large amounts of time with me and my sister, often allowing us to make those mistakes that taught life’s lessons, yet they always seemed to be there to fight the battles for us when we most needed them. They taught me my love for the outdoors and for our planet, and they faithfully respected us for the ‘little adults’ that the raised us as.
Kerri - I am extremely close to my Family! When participating in any sport or extra-curricular activity, I could always count on looking in the stands or crowd and seeing my parents cheering me on. We were a family always on the go, whether to the cottage for the weekend of fun, playing backyard football or tackling chores around and outside of our house. My parents guided me through my childhood and showed such unconditional love and respect to me and my brothers and had always, and still do, have open communication. They were the leaders of family values and morals, and for that our family was as unified then as it is today.
What attracted you to each other?
Craig: Kerri has a welcoming smile and an affectious laugh, but more, we immediately seemed to share common beliefs and values. We both had a great love for the outdoors and a strong sense of family and traditional values.
Kerri: Craig has the warmest and gracious smile in conjunction with a joyful laugh and sense of humor that I just love. Most of all I was drawn to his awareness of and doing for others, and taking care of them - it is a constant, above and beyond selfless act!
Please describe your personalities:
Adoptive Mom? I have a very outgoing personality (after a cup of Joe in the morning that is) and a sense of wit. I believe as the tally goes in my family, I am ahead of my younger brother regarding “who is funnier”. I have much appreciation and love of being around diverse people of all ages. I also have a very serious, hard working and subdued side when appropriate.
Adoptive Dad? I am the guy who stands out in a crowd because of my loud laugh, although at times I can be somewhat shy. Mostly, I am very outgoing and looking for new adventures to experience with family and friends. I thoroughly enjoy meeting new people and developing close relationships. In summary, I would say I am the guy who is very dedicated to my family and career. I work extremely hard at my job for I can play hard as equally with my family and friends.
What are your hobbies (please share those you enjoy as individuals and those you enjoy as a couple):
Adoptive Mom? I love to cook and enjoy tempting the palates of my friends and family. I also enjoy taking long walks, working out, going to the beach, reading novels and being with family and friends. What I really find to be my hobby since having my son is spending as much time with him as possible, whether it is curled up together with his blanket reading his favorite Dr. Seuss book or at the beach searching for the most unique Florida seashell! Craig and I enjoy playing tennis or getting our bare feet in the sand for beach volleyball, and love to be in the mountains hiking or mountain biking. We are always on the look-out for a good rock concert to go to-especially at an outside venue since we live in the Sunshine State. Mostly, we ultimately enjoying having family and friends to our home for good home cooked food and fun!
Adoptive Dad? I love to be outdoors. I golf, play tennis, love to hike or go to the beach, and always look for reasons to be outdoors. Since the arrival of our son, my favorite hobby now is just spending time and playing with him.
When you close your eyes and see yourself holding your precious baby in your arms what are your thoughts regarding the birthmother?
That there is no gift like the one of this sincere selflessness, graciousness and utmost unconditional love that our birthmother has given our family! To say I could imagine what our birthmother is going through, has gone through or will go through during this process, is unimaginable for me. So I pray for her every day, even today before meeting her I have prayed for her to feel loved, to be healthy and safe and most of all to feel noble, honorable, and realize the gift of life she has given to a precious child and the gift of completing our family she has graciously and selflessly given to me.
How will a child enrich your life?
We SO look forward to being able to share the gift of a child with our family and son; and that great joy and responsibility that it brings. We look forward to the unconditional love that we will both give to and receive from this precious child. We also look forward to the opportunity to teach and be taught many of life’s most important lessons. A child will bring additional laughs and love, joys and concerns, and most of all completeness to our family and our child’s life.
Why did you each choose the career path you decided on?
Adoptive Mom? Actually, my career in banking chose me. While in school, I took a part-time job at a local community bank as a teller and fell in love with finances. Today I work with high net worth clients and provide problem-solving financial solutions. My job is challenging, fast paced and allows me to interact with people all day. I am able to use my outstanding organizational and multi-tasking skills, as it is essential in Trust & Investment Administration. Although I am now only in the office part time, my work is never the same as the day before and provides me new opportunities and learning experiences.
Adoptive Dad? I chose retail management because I love the opportunity to positively affect others. When you work in this vocation you get the chance to see and impact literally hundreds of people each day. That coupled with the knowledge that no two days are the same makes for a fun ever changing challenge.
What makes a birthmom special?
Birthmothers are without a doubt the most selfless of all people. They put the wellbeing of a child above their personal needs and wants. As we saw in our first birthmother, she was always focused on her unborn child and the impact that we all would have on him. She allowed us the greatest of gifts; “the gift of life” and then trusted us to the development and love of that gift. Truly a selfless act indeed.