Married Since: 2016

Pets: Yes

Stay at Home Parent: No

Other Adopted Children at Home: No

Other Biological Children at Home: Yes

In our house your child will be well-loved and valued as an individual. We strive to appreciate who a person is and respect that about other people as well. We are prepared to support your child as they join our family, and answer questions they have about their birth story. We will celebrate their story.

Blake and Mara

from Iowa

Blake

Ancestry: Czech, German, English

Religion: Nonpracticing

Occupation: Senior Engineering Manager

Education: B.S.

Hobbies: Running, Cooking, Basketball

Mara

Ancestry: Italian, Jewish, Russian

Religion: Nonpracticing

Occupation: Public Health Coordinator

Education: M.P.H.

Hobbies: Yoga, Gardening, Reading

Baby

Preferred Ethnicity of Baby: All Races / Ethnicities

Preferred Gender of Baby: Either

Religion Child To Be Raised: Nonpracticing

Favorites

Blake

Thing to Cook
Risotto
Early Bird or Night Owl
Early Bird
TV Show
New Girl
Vacation Spot
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Personal Hero
Malcolm Gladwell
Family Activity
Going to the pool
Movie
Goodfellas
Book
Harold and the Purple Crayon
Sport
Basketball
Leisure Activity
Gardening

Mara

Thing to Cook
Grandma's pasta and meatballs recipe
Early Bird or Night Owl
Early bird
TV Show
New Girl
Vacation Spot
Big Sur, California
Personal Hero
Brene Brown
Family Activity
Going on walks
Movie
Arrival
Book
Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Sport
Yoga :)
Leisure Activity
Reading
>
<

From Us to You

We don’t take your choice lightly. We can imagine an ache you might feel in considering letting your child go. We’ve had that same ache and carry it with us still. Our son, Leo, died on May 3rd, 2019. He was a micro-preemie born at 22 weeks and lived for thirteen days before dying peacefully in our arms. We know the ache of letting a child go. We honor your choice to share your baby with strangers and we know it is a choice that will shape the rest of your life, as it will shape us for the rest of our lives. We’ve been told that to let your child go is the greatest act of motherhood and love, and now that we have lived a form of this, we completely agree. You are brave and we are grateful.

Leo’s life planted a seed in us, a desire to continue growing our family and give the love we know we can. Leo taught me, Mara, that being a mom is a natural and humbling role I am meant to play in this life. Adoption is something we have talked a lot about, for longer than before we got pregnant with our first child. While then it was just an idea, now it is a choice that feels right for our family. We were blessed with another biological child in fall 2020, and though we want to continue to add to our family, we don’t feel that another high-risk pregnancy is right for us. We have been together for about twelve years now and our partnership is solid and steady. Life’s growing pains have brought us closer instead of pulling us apart, and we are humbled to be able to model this type of partnership to our children.

In our house your child will be well-loved and valued as an individual. We strive to appreciate who a person is and respect that about other people as well. We are prepared to support your child as they join our family, and answer questions they have about their birth story. We want to celebrate their story. We are excited to introduce your child to their big sister, Beau. She is the silliest baby we could have imagined, and we believe she was sent to us to teach us the importance of joy. We promise to bring that joy to your child.

We live in a vibrant college town with our dog, Olive. We love to garden and cook, go on walks and jogs whenever we can, and enjoy the Great British Baking show more than we should probably admit. Travel excites us and we are beginning to take Beau places like Chicago and Florida to meet her extended family. Rest is just as important as play to us, Sundays are our sacred time to spend the day as a family, relax, and enjoy a delicious meal without making any other plans for the day. We have a strong network of friends and family who are all instrumental in supporting us as parents. Additionally, Beau goes to a daycare where she is treated like one of the staff’s own children. When they say it takes a village to raise a child, they mean it and we are incredibly grateful for our village.

We are humbled and honored that you are considering us to raise your child. Thank you for this wonderful gift. We will celebrate their birth story and share with them how brave and strong their birth mom is.

Mara and Blake (and Beau and Olive)

>
<

About Blake

Blake and I were young when we met, just seniors in high school believe it or not. I am so grateful to have met and married him! We have grown up together and been each other’s biggest supporters throughout all of those growing pains, good and not so good. Blake is quiet, thoughtful, loving, and committed to being a present husband and father. All of this was laid out in front of me when our son Leo was born prematurely. He spent thirteen days in the NICU before eventually passing away. Blake was an active dad in Leo’s care, changing diapers and taking his temperature. When we went back to work to try to save our leave time for his potential discharge, Blake went to the hospital at 5 a.m. before work just to be able to read Leo a book at the start of the day. His devotion to his family has grown with each child we have. He is kind and incredibly patient, a quality I admire and appreciate on our parenting journey. It is one of my life’s greatest joys to get to parent with him and watch him learn and play with our daughter. I know his love will continue to grow as our family does.

>
<

About Mara

Mara is always giving her time and energy to others. She is energized by people. Her caring nature drove her to work in public health, become a yoga teacher, and be a mentor and friend to so many. Mara enjoys hosting friends, family, and co-workers for cookouts and weekend visits. On top of making sure everyone feels at home and welcome, she ensures no one leaves hungry.

Though Leo’s birth was unexpected and scary, Mara quickly adapted to be the best mom. If Leo was going to make it out of the NICU, Mara knew our family needed to be prepared to bring him home. Mara ensured that insurance paperwork was complete, the nursery was ready, work leave was finalized, and so much more. All while calling the nurses’ station overnight and pumping milk in the hopes that one day it would nourish our son.

Mara is a role model for our daughter, Beau. In addition to providing her love and compassion, she exemplifies a life of balance. Mara draws from experiences beyond motherhood to teach Beau that a well-rounded life brings happiness to each day. When you are excited for work, love your family, are passionate about your hobbies, and know when to relax, there is always something to look forward to. Mara looks to cultivate Beau’s interests and passions so she too can experience life with the same joy and energy.

>
<

Our Home

We live in a quiet neighborhood minutes from a vibrant college city. We enjoy the quite area and being able to see the stars at night while having quick access to sporting and music events and the arts. Our house is 3-bedroom, 1970 split level with tons of natural light. Recent renovations have improved closets and opened the kitchen, dining, and living room into one large space. Our family spends many nights experimenting in the kitchen or playing outside. The house sits on a half-acre lot with two large garden beds and tons of yard space. We like that there isn’t excess space; we believe filling a house with things is less fulfilling than quality time and experiences with those they love.

>
<

Our Sweet Pup

Our fur baby is a six year old Australian Shepherd named Olive. She is equal parts spunky and sweet and our family would be lost without her loving personality in the house. A nerve-wracking thing about bringing a baby home is wondering how your pets will respond, but Olive has done amazing having Beau at home. She gives her lots of love and affection, and we often joke that Olive thinks she is Beau’s mom. It’s so fun to watch them interact and even play together (yes, Beau has been having a blast handing Olive toys to play with). Olive is a big reason we live such an active lifestyle; we love taking her on long family walks.

>
<

Our Families

They say that it takes a village to raise a child, and we have a wonderful village. This was a lesson we first learned when our son Leo was born and we had an outpouring of support from friends and family. From meals provided to time spent visiting our family in the hospital, we received so much love and care. This continued when our daughter Beau was born. Mara has two younger sisters and Blake has one older brother. Mara’s parents (Nonna and Pops) are wonderful grandparents who love to spend time with Beau. Their favorite activities are taking Beau to the pool in the summer months and FaceTiming Beau between visits just to “chat.” Mara comes from a large Italian family, with lots and lots of cousins and their kids. Holidays and family reunions are cherished and exciting activities.

We have a number of very dedicated friends who feel just like family. As the world has opened back up again we have been able to see our friends and let them meet Beau and it has made our hearts so incredibly full. They have been with us since our early college days and treat Beau just like a part of their own family. It is beautiful to see. We also have a great neighborhood and neighbors with young children who have been fun to play with and ask for help and trade stories as our kids grow up.

>
<

How We Met

The fun fact about how we met is that we have actually gone to the same school since the seventh grade, but our middle and high schools were so large that we didn’t meet until senior year of high school. Mara has a knack for learning foreign languages, and decided to add French to her class load after being in Spanish for so long and loving it. Blake had been enrolled in French all throughout high school. When Mara got bumped up a year because she was taking it on so quickly, that became their meet-cute. Our French teacher (allegedly) still has a photo of us up in her classroom.

What started out as a friendship became prom dates and bigger feelings. We had both already committed to the same University, and essentially just kept dating. The next thing we knew, we were talking about a future and were certain that we each wanted the other person to be in it. It’s a simple story really, but one we love. We have been together ever since and gone through life’s challenges and triumphs all while encouraging and supporting the other person’s growth. We are grateful to have such a strong support person in a partner, and it has made our parenting journey even sweeter.

>
<

Family Traditions

We enjoy stress-free traditions and most involve good food! With our family scattered around the country, we do our best to see loved ones over the holidays, but know that it isn’t realistic to see everyone. Mara’s mother is Catholic, and her father is Jewish. Her family celebrates Christmas and Hannukah. We enjoy the participating in variety of celebrations in December. Thanksgiving is when we travel to visit loved ones.

Friday nights involve fun family activities; park, pool, or dog park followed by a late “date night” after Beau is asleep. Each 4th of July we attend a Jazz festival with food vendors and fireworks. In the wintertime Sunday afternoons are dedicated to big pots of soup and having an all-day fire in the fireplace. We enjoy having fresh produce throughout the summer. Mother’s day weekend is when we plant a variety of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers, and herbs in our garden.

The most cherished tradition we have is celebrating our children’s birthdays. We both take the day off of work and bake a cake in celebration. Although Leo passed away, it is important for us to honor him on his birthday the same way we do our other children.

>
<

Our Hobbies

We have several shared hobbies and some individual ones as well. Mara is a huge reader, she makes sure to spend at least a few minutes each night diving into a book. Fiction is great but she also loves to read about other people’s life experiences. Her favorite book is “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone” by Lori Gottlieb. Blake is a kitchen gadget guy, spending time decompressing each night by watching reviews of cool tools and checking out new recipes to try.

Both of us love yoga. Not only is it a great way for us to move and stretch our bodies, but it helps us to learn how to stay true to ourselves and calm when life throws curveballs our way. Mara went through a yoga teacher training program in 2020 and will begin to teach pre- and postnatal yoga this fall. She teaches other places locally as requested and loves sharing time on the mat with others.

We love to cook for each other and together. We have a Friday night ritual of making and sharing a delicious meal together once Beau has gone to bed, like a nice date night in. A key piece to our cooking is our garden; we love having freshly grown fruits, veggies, and herbs available to use. Garden grown tomatoes are our favorite, with cucumbers, basil, and string beans coming in close behind.

We are also both runners, having completed a few marathons and half marathons between the two of us. Our running has slowed down lately as life has gotten fuller, but we still make sure to get out there to enjoy the endorphins and time to ourselves or together. We have a running stroller and take Beau along too.

Downtime hobbies include catching great shows like Bridgerton, New Girl, or The Great British Baking Show. We are also big movie watchers and pre-pandemic loved to go see movies at local theaters. Podcasts are also a must; we listen on the go or while we do things around the house.

These hobbies are all things we will share with our children, and we are excited to see what other interests they might have!

>
<

What We will Tell your Child about You

We will tell your child that you are brave, that everyone has their own special birth story and you is the most important part of theirs. That women are strong and sometimes you have to make choices that might be so hard but are made out of love. Those are things we would share regardless, but we also hope to get to know you well enough to be able to answer more specific questions your child might have, get to know some fun things about your interests and quirks so we can say, “your tummy mom loved that!” or, “You have her eyes.”

We also hope to be able to share things you wish for them to know growing up. What are important aspects of life to you? What are some hopes that you have for them? What are some important life lessons you might hope they learn?

>
<

Why We are Choosing to Adopt

Early in our relationship, we discussed adoption as a something we were interested in. Our first son, Leo, was born premature on April 20th, 2019. Leo passed away on May 3rd, 2019. We were heartbroken and miss him every day. The cause of Leo’s premature birth was never determined. Mara became pregnant again in 2020. Although the pregnancy with Beau was high risk, there were no complications and Beau was born on September 30th, 2020. We are grateful to have Beau, but learned the stress and difficulties that come with a high risk pregnancy. We quickly decided that adoption was better suited for our family.

>
<

Our Promise to You

We promise to provide a loving family to your baby. We will be caring and foster their interests so they can grow to be the best version of themselves. We will lead by example and show them that they have unlimited potential. They will define what makes them happy and pursue it without fear of judgement. We promise to teach them balance. To work hard for what they want and find joy in each day.

We promise to be there for all stages of life, standing beside them as they move through childhood, adolescence, and into adulthood. We promise to love them as we love our other children. We promise to tell their story. That they have a special mom, who loves them too.

Message Blake and Mara

  • 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 Blake and Mara

  • 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!