Nickname: Ryan and Mandy

Married Since: 2016

Pets: Yes

Stay at Home Parent: No

Other Adopted Children at Home: Yes

Other Biological Children at Home: Yes

Your little one’s life will be filled with fort building, movie nights, trips to Disney and the beach, lots of family time with grandparents and cousins, and the loudest cheering section at anything they do.

Ryan and Amanda

from Georgia

Ryan

Ancestry: Irish, English, Swedish

Religion: Christian

Occupation: Vice President - Health Care

Education: BS

Hobbies: Sports, Renovations, DIY projects

Mandy

Ancestry: English

Religion: Christian

Occupation: Senior Manager - Human Resources

Education: MA

Hobbies: Reading, Exercise, Swimming, Organizing

Baby

Preferred Ethnicity of Baby: All Races / Ethnicities

Preferred Gender of Baby: Female

Religion Child To Be Raised: Christian

Favorites

Ryan

Book
The Martian
Childhood Memory
Riding bikes with my best friends through wooded trails
Food
Bacon cheeseburger with avocado
Hobby
DIY and home improvement
Movie
Shawshank Redemption
Sport
Golf
Early Bird or Night Owl
Night Owl
TV Show
The Office
Music
Mumford & Sons
Vacation spot
Colorado Mountains

Mandy

Book
This Is Where I Leave You
Childhood Memory
Cooking with "Maw" - my grandmother
Food
Pasta
Hobby
Organizing
Movie
Any of the Harry Potter movies
Sport
Football
Early Bird or Night Owl
Early Bird
TV Show
Chopped
Music
Beyonce
Vacation Spot
Disney World
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From Us to You

We must admit, we’re slightly stumped at where to start in this letter. What do you say to a person who could change your family’s life? We can’t help but look back six years ago when we wrote a similar letter that led us to our oldest son. The admiration and gratitude we have for you can’t even be put into words. While we can’t pretend to know what you’re going through; we can offer our assurance. Assurance that we will love your baby unconditionally. Assurance that they will be cared for, provided for, protected, cuddled, played with, and offered everything this world has for them. We can also assure you that we will also love and respect you. We will share with your baby that they are deeply loved by two mothers and our hope is that you will be part of our lives. Your child will have two big brothers who will do the same and be lifetime friends.

We often imagine our future with this precious baby – doted on by two brothers, extended family, and friends. It is our hope that you will become as much a part of our future family as your baby will, but know we will always respect any boundaries you put into place. Our support for you and your baby is endless. We strongly believe family is what you make it – whether that be through adoption, biology, friends that are family, or something entirely different. Family is built through love and bonds that are unbreakable.

Your little one’s life will be filled with fort building, movie nights, trips to Disney (a favorite for our family) and the beach, lots of family time with grandparents and cousins and the loudest cheering section at anything they do – whether it be sports, academic success or their first steps. Most importantly, their life will be filled with love and support that has no end.

We hope you’ll consider us for this blessing and honor of growing our family.

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Why We Are Choosing to Adopt

When we first started talking about having kids – we knew adoption was our first choice. It was something each of us saw when we imagined our family and we wanted any child who became ours through adoption to know they were the first choice first us. Soon after Ezra was born, we knew adoption would be a route we’d take again in the future. Now that we’re here, the desire is not just on our hearts as to how we envision our family forming but it’s also how we want Ezra to be loved and supported. It’s important for us that he has someone in his home and his inner circle that has a similar story as he does and someone who, into adolescence and adulthood, can empathize with him and vice versa. As we’ve also shared our value of diversity and our openness to grow our family, it would be important to us to also provide additional diversity in our home for Ezra. We want all our kids, regardless of how they join our family, to always feel a sense of belonging and to always know their place in our family and this world and we feel that growing our family through adoption provides that for each of our children.

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Our Relationship with Ezra's Birth Mom

We are fortunate to have an open adoption with Ezra’s birth mom. We were matched when she was about 6 months pregnant. While she was expecting, we texted and talked on a regular basis. One of our favorite memories with her is when she and Mandy decided on Ezra’s name together. It was a name Mandy had liked for some time and while texting one day, she asked if there were any special names we could include. When she said Ezra was the only name she had been thinking of, we knew that was meant to be his name. After he was born, we spent several days together and then visited while we were still in the state together. Today, we text regularly and have been able to visit a couple of times. Ezra’s biological grandmother includes us on a daily devotional text group and every day begins with a text from her with a scripture and devotion. They’re incredibly loving and we are so blessed they’re in our lives. Our relationship with Ezra’s birth family is special to us and we treasure what we’ve built. Our relationship with you will be special too based on what you’re comfortable with. We will always respect you and your wishes.

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About Mandy, by Ryan

Mandy is the glue that holds our family together. She is organized, always thinking ahead, and always putting everyone’s needs ahead of her own. I had to learn early on in our relationship that I shouldn’t compare myself to her in order to maintain my own self-esteem. She is my superhero, and if I could be more like someone it would be her. Throughout the pandemic she excelled at her full-time job, leading video calls in our living room all while watching our rambunctious toddler, Miles. She wakes up each morning to exercise at 6 am and does the lion’s share of the household cleaning. Mandy is also a very passionate sports fan, more so than I. Ezra and Miles both learned early on that a loud shout coming from the living room on a Sunday afternoon is nothing to be worried about, it’s just Mom excited that the Denver Broncos scored a touchdown! Most importantly, she is one of the most loyal people you will ever meet. She has a close group of girlfriends she has stuck with since childhood and has a tight-knit bond with her immediate family as well. Mandy will do anything to protect and stand up for who and what she believes in. Which leads me to my final point about Mandy: she knows what she stands for and who she is, better than almost anyone I have ever known. She is confident in her beliefs because she is intelligent and has spent the time to formulate her opinion with facts and research. Whenever I have a doubt or a curiosity about “why things are this way,” Mandy is the person I know I can turn to that will provide an observation or an angle that I hadn’t considered before. Her perspective on life is one of the things I most admire in her and I have a deep respect for her point of view.

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About Ryan, by Mandy

I remember having lunch with a mutual friend in college and hearing him say, “Everyone loves Ryan.” He was right. Ryan has always been someone who is well-liked and makes friends easily. He’s very easy-going. While I get nervous in new social settings, he never seems to flinch and fits in wherever he goes. Once you really get to know him, you’ll learn that he is, in fact, nervous in unknown social settings. It’s even more impressive that he never lets on to those feelings and works instead to make everyone welcome and comfortable around him. He’s undoubtedly the “fun” one. He’s the forever playmate for our kids and they light up when he walks into the room. They are both daddy’s boys for sure and love to play games, cuddle or have Dad be the one to take them to school. When we spend time at the pool or on a beach vacation, he’s in the water with them or covered in sand while building a castle on the beach. Even when he’s exhausted from a long work week, he gives his kids his all. As much as I loved him before kids and all the fun we’ve always had together, seeing him as the *best* Dad is certainly what I love most about him now. Even after 10+ total years together, he still looks for ways to impress me, completely unnecessarily, but he truly just works to make our family happy and provided for.

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How We Met

We met at a mutual friend’s house in our Sophomore year of college. Our friend, Chase, used to host a group every Thursday to watch ‘The Office’ and would often have a bonfire in the backyard. It was a solid group of friends – most of them played Ultimate Frisbee together and it was a genuine group of people. While Ryan was initially interested in Mandy, he learned from her friend that she was dating someone else and he didn’t try to pursue her. Over the course of that year, we became closer friends and really got to know each other in a non-romantic way. Junior year of college, Mandy invited Ryan to a Bible Study that she had been going to. The hosts were off campus and we would carpool to it. It was in these short car rides that our friendship became something more. Ryan would sing proudly along with any song and was always making Mandy laugh. We started hanging out more and more – grabbing lunch or going to the library. One night, after Ryan was dropping Mandy off from the library, she blurted it out – “Can’t you tell I have a crush on you?” We started dating after that in 2010 and have been together ever since.

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Our Lifestyle

Our lifestyle is laid-back but fun. We both work full-time jobs and are passionate about our careers. We believe in supporting our community and church – whether that be through volunteerism or donations. We love going to the movies or having a morning out as a family to breakfast and a trip to Target. As Ezra starts school, I imagine we’ll get more involved with the school community and any extracurricular activities he’s interested in. We believe in giving back; especially to the groups or organizations we are part of and have supported us.

Most weekends, we hang out at home and spend time together. Ryan can often be found working on a project around the house off and on through any given weekend and the kids get a lot of unstructured playtime. In the summer, we’re usually out by the pool or playing on the playground. For the most part, we use our weekends to relax and not follow much of a schedule. We enjoy going to the zoo or aquarium or having friends over to play but for the most part, we keep things low key and try to go with the flow. We see weekends as a time to recharge and spend quality time together.

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Our Parenting Styles

Most simply put, Ryan is the endlessly fun parent and Mandy is the endlessly prepared parent. We balance each other out in such a fantastic way and inevitably, even in our off moments, the other steps into a different style to keep things whole. Our two boys adore Ryan to no end and while they are always loving and precious with Mandy, they are undoubtedly “Daddy’s Boys.” He is their hero and their safe space. He builds sandcastles at the beach and gives piggy-back rides around the house or is the one the kids are repeatedly jumping to in the pool. He is also beautifully patient. As we’ve had to adjust our parenting to each of our boys’ individual needs, we also had to significantly evaluate ourselves as parents when Ezra was diagnosed with Autism. Patience and understanding aren’t just important; they are critical to helping him grow. Mandy is the constant, the cuddler and the maker of special moments. She’s the one the kids go to for snacks and band-aids, and for bedtime book reading. She plans birthday celebrations and holidays to the nth degree – focused only on how it will make the kids feel special. She sits with them when they’re upset and lets them work through their feelings and never shuts them down. She’s the follower of all the parenting blogs and magazines and works to make us both better, more aware parents.

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Racial Diversity

We both grew up in fairly diverse communities and schools, but admittedly didn’t have a great amount of diversity in our families or friend groups until we went to college. We were thankfully exposed to greater diversity and backgrounds in our groups in college with Ryan playing Ultimate Frisbee and Mandy in Model United Nations. It grew to be a core value in our lives. The beauty and importance of learning about and working to understand people of different races, backgrounds and upbringings have made us better people. Valuing diversity in our lives has meant looking for apartments or houses in diverse communities and plugging into groups that have the same types of values as well. After adopting Ezra, who is Black, the importance of diversity wasn’t just a value, but how we knew we needed to live our lives. We’ve worked to make sure Ezra is not in a place where he’s the only Black child in a classroom or church group. We’ve sought out doctors, dentists and schools where he’ll see representation all around him. Our friend group is diverse, and Ryan and I regularly work to be open and allies not only to the Black community but to all minority groups. We’re also committed to continuous learning. While we will always continue to educate ourselves, we admit there are some things we won’t be able to fully understand or experience. We aren’t afraid to ask for help from our own friends who are Black or from Ezra’s biological family who will be able to share experiences we can’t. Our lives are more beautiful this way and we hope to continue that commitment and growth as we continue growing our family.

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Home & Neighborhood

We’ve lived in our current home since the summer of 2018. We moved to this neighborhood after our oldest son, Ezra, was diagnosed with Autism. We looked at schools and where the best support resources would be for him and we replanted in the suburbs. It’s a great area and neighborhood – filled with lots of older, brick homes but lots of young families. There are neighborhood parades each 4th of July and it’s the perfect neighborhood for trick-or-treating at Halloween. In the broader community, there are several great parks, restaurants, shopping centers and movie theaters. Our house is two stories on a, currently, unfinished basement, but Ryan has been working to finish it to allow for another bedroom and playroom for the kids. Regardless of where we’ve lived since being married, Ryan always sets out to make a place our own and works on DIY projects, big and small. Our backyard is what really drew us to the house. We have a beautiful yard with a pool and the perfect place for a playground. During the summer months, and especially through the pandemic in 2020, you could always find us outside by the pool. Each of the kids have their own bedroom that is unique to them – Ezra’s room, for example, is “Toy Story” themed but has quickly been overtaken by all his many Legos. It’s a wonderful, safe house in a neighborhood and community we look forward to having our kids grow up in.

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Our Families & Friends

We’re extremely blessed with a close-knit family and incredible friend group. Mandy’s parents are truly the greatest grandparents – they call themselves “Gimme” and “G-Daddy.” They’re very involved in all their grandkids’ lives and regularly remind us that the more grandkids the better. Not only are they great at coordinating cousin sleepovers but make it a point to have special one-on-one time with each of their grandkids too. They love to pick them up from school and go on “date nights” together. They’re the most playful grandparents– never hesitating to be the one on the floor playing with dolls or toys and have beautiful relationships with all their grandchildren.

We go on family trips at least 3 times a year that include all of Mandy’s immediate family and their kids. That means grandparents, Mandy’s sister, Callie, and her husband and son, Mandy’s brother, Matt, and his wife and two kids. At our annual beach trip last summer, Ezra and his cousin, Irie, got to share a cool bunk bed room and hosted dance parties by the pool each night. After dinner, we would walk on the beach and Ezra and Irie would see what they could catch in their sand nets and splash in the water. The babies got to take baths in the sink before bed and explore in the sand during the day. Ryan and Mandy’s brother, Matt, took turns seeing who could build a better sandcastle or a deeper moat to collect water as it rolled in from the ocean – giving the kids an extra space to play in and splash around.

Our friend group is also amazing. We have a close circle of friends that include Mandy’s best friend, Abby, and her family (husband and two girls) – they’ve been friends since middle school and we love to vacation together and spend weekends at the pool or zoo. We have another friend group from college that gets together for cookouts, Friendsgiving and more. It’s been especially fun going from college to weddings and now having kids altogether. Our kids’ godparents are also a core part of our lives – Cameron, the boys’ godfather, is a friend we met while living in Colorado who later moved to Georgia after us. He and Mandy worked together in Denver and initially bonded over Beyonce and he and Ryan quickly connected over their exercise regime. Now, we love movie nights and ordering dinner to just catch up and laugh endlessly. Amy, the boys’ godmother, is one of Mandy’s best friends from college. She lives in Florida so we don’t get to see her as much as we used to but she’s the funniest, most cheerful person we know. She’s fiercely protective and incredibly smart and loving. Whether friends since middle school, college, or through work – we feel very fortunate to be surrounded by supportive friends and loved ones.

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Family Traditions

We have some very fun traditions in our family! We have a couple of vacation traditions that come to mind first. We take a weeklong family vacation each year to either the beach or Disney – this is with our extended family. On our beach trip, we have a tradition on the 2nd to last night of the trip to have a big steak dinner – sometimes at a restaurant and sometimes we grill out, but it is always delicious. We go to Disney around Halloween where we show up dressed in a family costume. Then, for Christmas, we go back to Disney for a long weekend. It is always such a fun time together.

We spend each Halloween together, so all the cousins get to trick-or-treat with one another and Mandy’s dad stays at the house to hand out candy. For Thanksgiving, we alternate each year with our extended family. When we’re with Mandy’s extended family, she and her grandmother cook the Thanksgiving meal together. Ezra has started getting interested in helping so hopefully he’ll start joining in the Thanksgiving dinner making, too. At Christmas, we visit extended family and have big, traditional southern meals and exchange gifts. On Christmas Eve, everyone in our house unwraps Christmas PJs and our goal is to stay in those PJs all Christmas Day enjoying our time together and playing with toys.

On the kids’ birthdays, the “Birthday Fairy” decorates the yard with balloons, pinwheels, streamers, and a giant birthday sign to celebrate. Each Super Bowl, we host our friends and their kids for a big Super Bowl party – the kids play lots of games and we have great Super Bowl snacks while we watch the game (and commercials).

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Vacations

For almost all our vacations, you’ll find us at the beach or at Disney World. We do occasionally go to new places – Colorado or the North Georgia mountains are other favorites, but less frequent, vacation spots. Vacations to the beach are spent playing in the water – in the ocean or at the pool. No trip to the beach is complete without at least one massive sandcastle built by Ryan. In the evenings at the beach, we cook dinner and then watch a movie or play a game. Most nights we go for a walk on the beach at dusk and Ezra likes to try to see what he can catch in his beach net. We’re frequent Disney visitors but try to find new things to do each trip – whether that be a new hotel, tour or restaurant we’ve never been to. We like to let the kids lead a bit and tell us what they want to do or see. They love the ‘It’s A Small World’ ride, seeing Mickey Mouse, and of course, time at the pool. Ezra especially loves any water slide at the hotels and is fearless on them.

Mandy is a big planner and always has a tentative agenda for each day of any vacation, but having kids has really taught us flexibility and enjoying the moment of each vacation or weekend.

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What We Will Share

We hope to have an open adoption with you and for you to continue to be part of our lives. But, near or far, you will always be someone we talk about regularly. We will tell your child about how much you love them and how brave and strong you are. We’ll explain the selflessness you showed when you chose adoption and how loving you are. We’ll always speak about you in the most respectful and honoring way we can. We can’t wait to have stories to share about how and when we were matched and what it was like preparing for their birth together. Maybe we’ll even have stories about sitting around in the hospital together, anxiously awaiting baby’s arrival, lamenting together over bad hospital food, and sending Ryan to bring back takeout. We’ll tell your child, and show them, how much love we have for you and assure them that you will always be a part of them.

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Our Promise to You

We promise you; we will love your baby unconditionally. We promise to care for them, provide for them and support them in everything they do. We promise to share about you and their birth story. Our promise is to comfort and console, and cheer on and help to grow. We promise to help them be brave and to build their confidence and belief in themselves. Above all, we promise to love them deeply and ensure they know how loved and valued they are each and every day.

Message Ryan and Amanda

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • Hi, We are honored that you are considering us! Lisa, our adoption specialist at Adoption Network, will be reaching out to make sure your needs are being met and your questions about adoption are being answered. She will help us get in touch with each other. We can’t wait to connect with you!

Contact Ryan and Amanda

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
  • Hi, We are honored that you are considering us! Lisa, our adoption specialist at Adoption Network, will be reaching out to make sure your needs are being met and your questions about adoption are being answered. She will help us get in touch with each other. We can’t wait to connect with you!