Married Since: 2019

Pets: Yes

Stay at Home Parent: No

Other Adopted Children at Home: Yes

Other Biological Children at Home: Yes

We understand that this is an emotional, difficult time in your life. We want to be there for you if you need extra support in the coming months. You are an important person to your baby and to us.

Adugna and Heidi

from California

Adugna

Ancestry: Ethiopian

Religion: Christian

Occupation: Customer Service Crew Member

Education: BS

Hobbies: Guitar, Being outdoors, Family

Heidi

Ancestry: Norwegian, Irish, British

Religion: Christian

Occupation: SAI Teacher

Education: MA (2)

Hobbies: Art, Gardening, Being outdoors, Family

Baby

Preferred Ethnicity of Baby: All Races / Ethnicities

Preferred Gender of Baby: Either

Religion Child To Be Raised: Christian

Favorites

Adugna

Animal
Horse
Childhood Memory
Swimming in the river
Family Activity
Going to church
Food
Beef tibs
Hobby
Guitar
Holiday
Christmas
Movie
Shawshank Redemption
Personal Hero
Nelson Mandela
Scripture
"And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28
Thing to Cook
Ethiopian Shiro Wot

Heidi

Animal
Hippo
Childhood Memory
Baking bread with my mom
Family Activity
Camping
Food
Avocado
Hobby
Oil painting
Holiday
Thanksgiving
Movie
Good Will Hunting
Personal Hero
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Scripture
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God." Isaiah 41:10
Thing to Cook
Enchiladas
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From Us to You

Dear Expectant Mom,

We understand that this is an emotional, difficult time in your life. We want to be there for you if you need extra support in the coming months. You are an important person to your baby and to us.

We (Adugna and Heidi) were friends for eight years before getting married three years ago. We have had a long journey in dreaming of growing our family – one that would not have been made without a great deal of love for each other. With us, your baby will be the little brother or sister, grandchild, nephew or niece, and cousin to many. Your baby is going to be spoiled. Oh yes… we admit it.

I (Adugna) have wanted to be called Daddy for years. I’m the favored uncle amongst my nephews and nieces. I look forward to raising your baby to appreciate my Ethiopian culture and speak Amharic as a second language. We will play with your baby on the floor as they learn to crawl and listen to the adorable baby giggles. I hope to teach your child to play guitar – something I enjoy doing. We will travel to Ethiopia to visit my family and to Germany to visit my family that lives there, too. Ethiopian families are very close and supportive of each other. We know how much they will love your baby. In my home country, people naturally include everyone in the family. In our home now, we value the same ideals about family and community that I learned in Ethiopia. The word for family in my native language, Amharic, is beteseb ቤተሰብ. The first part of that word, bete, is the word for house. Family is home.

As a mom of three children- two biological sons and a daughter adopted from China- I (Heidi) help my children to embrace their gifts and talents and to rise above any “labels” the world might place on them. I understand that children who are adopted require guidance to weave together their own unique life stories, and have learned how to graciously respond to the many questions about why my daughter does not look like me. I like buying new cookbooks and trying new recipes so our family can gather for dinner, and your baby will be there at the table with us. As a family, we love camping in the mountains with no internet and fresh air. We will teach your baby to make s’mores and to appreciate blooming flowers and big trees. We genuinely value family time. My sons attend university, and my daughter attends the local high school. They are already planning fun times with their new little brother or sister like taking your baby for ice cream and playdates in the park. I also have a supportive and loving extended family here in California.

With grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins around the world, your baby will be hugged, kissed, and lovingly treasured internationally. We are an unusual family that looks more like the United Nations than relatives, but we love that about us.

We look forward to having an open, ongoing relationship with you. China only has closed adoptions so we have no contact with our daughter’s birth family. Sadly, this has left gaps in the knowledge of her own beginnings. We understand how valuable an open adoption can be, not only for the child but for everyone involved. We are accepting of whatever plan you would like to have to keep in contact, whether that be visits and/or letters and text messages. We are thankful to have the opportunity for open adoption.

Gwadenya ጓደኛ means ‘my friend’ in Amharic. It speaks to that deep connection between people who share moments together that are life-changing. We looking forward to getting to know you and your baby, and we know that you will be our Gwadenya ጓደኛ.

Sincerely,
Adugna and Heidi

Check us out on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/adugnaandheidisadoptionjourney/

 

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Why We're Choosing to Adopt

Before we married, we talked about the possibility of having a child together. Because Heidi’s previous two births were C-sections, we had doubts she could carry another baby. After having some tests, the doctor confirmed our thoughts to be true. Adugna has always wanted a baby of his own. He is an uncle, and he loves being around children so after we got the news, we decided very quickly we were not going to allow this to stop our dream. Heidi had already raised three children, but she raised them alone with very little support from their dad. So when we decided to grow our family through adoption, she saw this as the opportunity to raise a child with a partner that she adores and that she knows will fully be engaged in co-parenting. One thing we are both amazed at is how well an adopted child fits into the family even when there are biological children. We just know adopting is the best way for us to have a child together.

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About Adugna, by Heidi

Adugna and I have been friends for over ten years now. He is an easy person to get along with, non-judgmental and loving. Within a five-year period, I lost my favorite grandma, and my dad and my previous marriage fell apart due to my ex-husband’s addiction and abuse. Adugna was there through it all. He would chat with me online, and on the phone, and he always made sure he was with me on my bi-yearly trips to Ethiopia. I spent time in his family home, and he seamlessly taught me about Ethiopian culture without ever making fun of me or telling me how to behave and what to do. He has always been very kind and good to me. I had dreamed for so long of being married to someone who I knew loved me and cherished me, and someone I could trust. Someone who would easily accept my love for him without taking advantage of me. For me, Adugna is the perfect husband.

One of my favorite memories of Adugna is on one visit to Ethiopia. I brought bubbles to play with the children. Adugna stood in the middle of hundreds of little children blowing bubbles and laughing just as much as the children were laughing. I have also seen how his nephews and nieces love him so much. When his nephew moved to Germany with his family and Adugna moved here, Adugna video chatted with him. His six-year-old nephew begged him to come that moment to Germany and play with him. Your baby is going to be so blessed to call Adugna “Daddy.” I am blessed to call him my husband.

 

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About Heidi, by Adugna

Heidi is filled with lots of love. From the moment I met her, I was able to see the love she showed for children. We worked together in a school in a village in Ethiopia, where we met. She has a wonderful heart for people in the village and their children and the community gave her a name in the local language “Jalene” which means “the loved one.” I have watched Heidi with her own children, and she is caring and patient. One of my favorite memories of her is when we had our honeymoon in Ethiopia. We had a wonderful time together. Heidi also never gave up when we encountered many challenges with the immigration process. She was persistent and gave me hope when it felt like we would never be able to live together. She learned how to make Ethiopian food for me so I can have a small piece of my homeland here. Some things I really enjoy doing with Heidi are spending time hiking or visiting new places. I like to listen to her talk, and she is my best friend.

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Our Home

We look forward to welcoming your baby into our home. We own a three-bedroom, two-bath home in a neighborhood with many young families and children. We will set up a crib in our bedroom so we can have your baby close at night to meet his or her needs. When they are old enough, we will move them into their own bedroom. Our backyard overlooks a walnut orchard and has beautiful views of the mountains.

In our neighborhood, we take daily walks on the trail that runs along a creek and leads to a county park with a lake and many activities for families. We will take your baby there to run through the grass, throw pebbles in the water, climb and slide on the playground structures and take rides on the little engine train. Our town has a large, light-filled library where we will take your baby for fun activities like story time and puppet shows. We will take your baby to swim lessons and baby gym classes. Your baby will be part of a large, diverse community. We enjoy trying the many ethnic restaurants here and talking to people from all over the world. One thing we love about our home is within 20 minutes we can be walking down the beach on the coast. Your baby will spend many Saturdays with us building sand castles and putting his/her toes in the water.

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Our Sweet Pets

We have three pets in our home which are all rescue animals. We have two Chihuahuas named Gigi and Rico. They were both rescued as strays, and Gigi had five puppies that were all adopted before she came home with us. She is very sweet, and when she is being petted, she gets the cutest little smile on her face. She is a lover. Rico is our boy dog. When he wants attention he sits up on his hind legs and smiles and shakes. He has crooked teeth so his smile is so adorable. If we tell him what a cute boy he is, he smiles bigger. Gigi and Rico get along very well. Where one goes, so does the other. Recently we adopted a cat named May May. She is a long-haired gray and white cat. She is mostly my daughter’s cat. May May and the dogs don’t like each other much so they tend to stay out of each other’s way. May May is sweet and loves to be very active at night when she runs up and up down the stairs as fast as she can at 3 AM! She also likes to sit in the window when it’s open. They are all so special to us.

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Our Families

We have a large, extended family who is very supportive of our marriage and our decision to adopt.

Heidi: My family lives in northern California. Sadly, several years ago I lost my dad to cancer. He was a great dad – very wise and loving. Thankfully my mom and I are very close and talk daily. She lives near my younger sister in Eureka. My older brother lives with his wife in Ukiah. We like to get together for the holidays and see each other when we can.

Adugna: My family lives in Ethiopia and Germany. I have an older brother who lives in Germany where he is taking graduate courses in university. He has three children. When we all lived together in Ethiopia, I was fortunate to spend time with my nephews. I truly cherish those moments. My younger brother is also studying in Germany. My parents and my sister live in Ethiopia. My sister is married and has a daughter. We are a close family, and we miss each other very much. We are able to video chat often though. They look forward to welcoming your baby into our family.

We also have three older children from Heidi’s previous marriage. The oldest son lives and attends university nearby. We see him and his girlfriend frequently. The middle son attends university about three hours south of our home. Our daughter is a junior in high school and lives full-time with us. Since our daughter is adopted, as a family we embrace the idea that family is more than DNA. The boys have always accepted her as their sister. They argue just as much as biological siblings, but they have a deep love and loyalty too. So we know they will fully accept and love your baby.

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Our Lifestyle

We enjoy spending time at home cooking, gardening, and watching our favorite movies and shows together. We often have our family in our home having dinner and playing board games. We are a close family and very open about our thoughts and lives. We also like to visit with friends and take walks, share a meal and discuss our lives. We are involved in our church which we attend on Sunday mornings. Our church has a family-orientated congregation with park days, movie nights, and children’s programs. We also like to travel and enjoy time visiting family and adventures visiting other places. We recently went to a San Francisco Giants game, and an Earthquakes soccer game. We are happy to be home relaxing, but we also enjoy being outdoors and being active. Your baby will spend time enjoying all these things with us.

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Family Traditions

Because we are a family of many cultures, we have a combination of traditions. On Christmas morning your baby will wake up early to see what Santa brought. Afterward, the family will gather to open presents and eat Julekake, Norwegian Christmas bread, made with Heidi’s Norwegian grandma’s recipe. Then in January, we celebrate Ethiopian Christmas with traditional injera and beef tibs. Your baby will join us in celebrating the holidays of both cultures. On your baby’s birthday, we will make their favorite dinner and cake. And on Valentine’s day, your baby will join us for our traditional Valentine’s ice cream Sunday. We also are fortunate to celebrate two Easters as Ethiopia usually celebrates on a different Sunday than most of the world. That means two family dinners – one with ham and scalloped potatoes and another with injera and doro wot (chicken stew).

Another tradition we have is camping. Every summer we pack up our car and head for the mountains for a few days. We hike, cook outdoors, play board games and make s’mores around the campfire. We look forward to introducing your baby to enjoying the outdoors with us.

Lastly, we attend church on Sunday morning. Our church is very diverse and loving. We purposely sought out a church where we all could fit in. We know our church family is going to love and bless your baby.

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Vacations

We both like to try new things. We like to explore new places and learn about cultures. Recently we took Heidi’s son and daughter to Paris – mostly so her son could practice speaking French. We spent a week going to art museums, a palace in the country, under the streets of Paris to the very creepy catacombs, and we climbed over 800 steps to the top of a church’s bell tower. We saw the Mona Lisa and Van Gogh’s home. We ate foods we had never had before, and we learned how to use the public train system. We had some funny encounters when Heidi’s son didn’t understand someone’s French or someone didn’t understand him. We sat in street cafes pretending to be French, but we don’t think we fooled anyone. We have also had many adventures in Ethiopia. We traveled together to see the churches in Lalibela that are carved out of the ground. Our favorite day in Ethiopia was when we got married on a boat on a lake with hippos! Yes, hippos attended our wedding. Another favorite day during our honeymoon was exploring a park near the lake. A man told us to put out our hands in which he put nuts. The next thing we knew, a monkey was sitting on each of our shoulders! We also got to feed storks and ate fish fresh from the lake. We both love to immerse ourselves in new cultures, and we will take your baby on many new adventures. We will take him or her to see the hippos that attended our wedding, and we are already planning a trip to visit family in Germany.

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Racial and Cultural Diversity

We are the most racially and culturally diverse family we know. When Heidi’s son’s girlfriend joins us, we have 4 different racial backgrounds! We often get looks from people who are trying to figure us out. But this is what we love about ourselves, and what makes us unique. There is no doubt that your baby will have someone in our family who shares his/her racial and/or cultural background.

One of the biggest benefits of living in our area is that people from every walk of life live here, and we enjoy each other’s cultures. We attend a church that predominantly has an African- American congregation as the head pastor is African-American, and the Ethiopian community here is also large. We go every Saturday to the Ethiopian market to buy injera and any other Ethiopian foods we might need. Heidi works in a school that is 90% Latino so she has a deep appreciation for their culture as well. Diversity makes life so interesting and wonderful. No matter what your baby’s background might be, he/she will belong in our family and our community.

Faith

We both grew up in Christian homes, and we have attended church since childhood. We have personally witnessed the power of God in our lives, and we both believe in His son Jesus. We believe in acting with compassion, kindness, and love. We purposefully sought out a church that teaches the Bible and challenges us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus who put love before all else. We both have been rescued by God from situations we could not rescue ourselves from. So we remain dedicated to our Christian faith. We will raise your baby going to church, but there also comes a point when he or she will need to choose what they believe. We will provide the space for that to occur.

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Our Hobbies

I (Adugna) enjoy making music. I have taught myself to play the guitar and I enjoy listening to and playing Ethiopian music. I (Heidi) am an artist. I find much relaxation in oil painting and drawing. Many of my paintings hang in our home. Together we like to be outdoors walking, camping, and gardening. This past summer we planted jalapenos, zucchini, and tomatoes. We had to eat zucchini in everything we had so much! We also have a new painting of sunflowers in our dining room that Heidi painted over the summer, and I (Adugna) have a new guitar that was a gift that Heidi and her son picked out for me. I was so happy because I was unable to bring my guitar from Ethiopia. We also went camping this summer in the California mountains. We took a three-mile hike through the mountains and saw old lava flows. We went white water rafting on the American River. It was thrilling to be in a raft going over the rapids.

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How We Met

We first met in Ethiopia during a mission trip to a school in rural Ethiopia. I (Heidi) was a team leader for a trip sponsored by the church I was attending, and I (Adugna) was the team’s interpreter. We didn’t take long to become good friends. We have similar personalities, and in spite of the cultural and language differences, we enjoy being together. Our friendship grew even when we were apart. We were friends through many ups and downs, and we supported each other. We spent time together in Adugna’s family home and I (Heidi) learned so much about Ethiopian culture by being with Adugna’s family. When we were apart, we would chat online and sometimes video chat as well. We were also together on bi-yearly mission trips. We were friends for so many years. After Heidi’s divorce, we started to talk about the possibility of us being together as a couple. We had been friends for so long that we knew we got along well. We had to ask if we weren’t together then would we ever find someone else that we were so compatible with? The answer for both of us was no. So within a few years, we were married. Now after three years of marriage, we are confident that our choice to be together was the right one.

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The Kind of Parents we Are

We have very similar temperaments. We are both calm and flexible people. We will raise your child with a great amount of love, and also with boundaries so they know what is expected and safe behavior. We will gently guide them to grow and embrace the person they are becoming. We will be open and honest and allow your child to feel comfortable talking to us about everything. As parents, we will work together to make wise decisions and decide together how to best approach parenting. We are also aware that each child is unique and needs to be parented differently so we will seek to understand your baby and what is best for them.

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Our Relationship with Our Daughter's Birth Family and with You

At the time my daughter was adopted from China, closed adoption was the only option. We know nothing about her biological family except they were brave to have her in a country where having a second child is illegal, and they were brave to leave her at the orphanage when she was only one week old and they risked getting caught to make sure she was safe. We have often wished we could know them so we could thank them and also so they could see their incredible daughter who is so stunningly beautiful and intelligent. My daughter will never know what happened the first year of her life before we brought her home, and knowing how her life began should be part of her story. And for her biological family, I can only imagine the pain of not knowing who she is growing up to be. They can’t be reassured that they made a good, wise decision for her. I would love for them to know that. So this time around, we have the great privilege to have an open adoption. We look forward to being able to tell your baby about you, and we will know what to say because we will actually know you! And we are so happy that you will have that assurance, as we keep in contact over the years, that you made a wise decision for your baby. It’s something all moms want to know and deserve to know.

Our Relationship with our Parents

Neither of our parents lives nearby, but we still are very close to them. Heidi’s mom lives a six-hour drive to the north of us. She is a widow since Heidi’s dad passed several years ago, so Heidi calls her daily to check on her. We are very close, and we share our lives together. We often take her traveling with us when we go to visit family, and she comes to see us for the holidays and special occasions. Heidi’s dad was a firefighter before he retired. I miss him very much. He was a great dad, and he taught me to manage my money properly and to enjoy nature. Adugna’s parents live in Ethiopia in his hometown. His dad is a retired accountant and his mom is a nurse. They are also very close and talk as much as possible. His mom is an excellent cook and a smart businesswoman. Even though she works as a nurse full-time, she also has a few small businesses that she manages. Between our parents, there are 12 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Both our parents look forward to having another grandchild to love.

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What We will tell Your Child about You

We are thankful that because of open adoption, you will tell your baby about you. We promise you that we will speak of you favorably and with great love. We will tell your baby that you love him or her very much and that is evident in the sacrifices you made for them. We will make sure to point out things they have in common with you. Will your baby have your eyes? Or smile? Will you share a common interest? We will make sure your baby knows about that too. We will weave together the story of your pregnancy and birth with the story of adoption seamlessly and in a positive light. This will be a story of love, gratitude, and blessing.

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Our Careers

I (Heidi) am a teacher of children with special needs in a local public middle school. I have worked as a teacher for many years. My favorite part of teaching is that moment a student realizes that they have finally achieved a goal after much hard work. I also enjoy getting to know my students as people who have hopes and dreams and life outside of the classroom. Every year I have previous students stop by and say hello because of the connections we made in the classroom during our time together.

I (Adugna) currently work at Trader Joe’s as a crew member. When I first came to the US a little over a year ago, I wanted to learn the culture, improve my English and give myself time to update my skills in computer science. Working there has helped me in all these areas. I never knew there are so many types of cheeses and fruits and vegetables! In Ethiopia, I had a career in computer science, and now I am looking to continue that career here in the US. Both of us like to have careers where we interact with people and help them to solve problems and take steps towards their goals.

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Our Promise to You

When I (Heidi) adopted my daughter from China, I had to go to the US Embassy in China and put up my right hand to swear that I would do my best to take care of her. I never had to make that same promise before I left the hospital with my biological children, but that same truth was in my heart – I would do my best. And I believe I have – not in perfection- but the best I had to offer.

If we could stand before you and raise our right hand, we would swear to you that we will give our best to your baby. On the good days, we will cheer your baby on and celebrate all the wonders he/she accomplishes. On the bad days, we will stretch out our arms for hugs and be a shoulder to cry on. When your baby falls down or later in life makes poor choices, as we all do, we will be the first to be there to help point the right way and get him/her back on track. We will be there on the big days – first steps, the first day of kindergarten, graduations, and maybe someday a wedding. When disappointments come and self-doubt and all the things that life brings, we will be there unconditionally and lovingly. We will be the listeners, the advisors, the caretakers, and we will be your baby’s biggest fans.

Message Adugna and Heidi

  • 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 Adugna and Heidi

  • 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!