Q: Tell us about your home and neighborhood.
A: Our neighborhood is the type of place where parents in town take their children to go trick-or-treating and kids leave their bicycles in the front yard all summer. We’re a middle class neighborhood on the edge of a small town. Our community is very lucky to have a higher-than-average ethnic diversity than most cities in our state and we seem to have more racial harmony, too. We live in a single family home that we bought in 2014. Our house was built in the late 1950s and we have three bedrooms, two and ½ bathrooms, a garage and finished basement. Your child would have his or her own bedroom. We have a fenced in backyard, vegetable garden and fruit trees.
Q: When you have a three-day weekend, what do you like to do?
A: We’ll visit the nearby metropolitan area for a movie and maybe go to a museum. Sometimes we’ll see a rock concert or visit an arboretum. If we stay in town, we’ll work on projects around the house or spend time with our extended family. We often have large family gatherings for meals and enjoy entertaining our friends and family on our back patio.
Q: Do you have pets? If so, tell us about them.
A: We have three miniature dachshunds. They are our family! They are getting rather old, one is 18 and two are 12. One we purchased, the other two were rescues. We enjoy walking them and spending time with them. The two 12-year-olds, Murphy and Charlie, are younger and should be around for many more years, but we would not be surprised if the 18-year-old, Brownie, is no longer with us sometime during the adoption process. We thought we were going to lose him last year with a health problem, but he was able to bounce back and is doing well. They have a fenced-in backyard where they love to roam and roll in the grass. They are always up to date on vaccinations and our vet lives down the street from us.
Q: What do you hope to teach your children?
A: Coping with infertility for nearly 10 years, I have written many lists of pages of things that I would like to teach my children. It helped me to cope and be hopeful for my future. Between Jeff and Melissa, one of the highest values we adhere to is respect. Children can make all sorts of mistakes, but the most important thing is that they learn to be respectful and kind to others. Melissa grew up with an aptitude for writing and also enjoys music and gardening. Jeff would enjoy teaching a child about popular culture, humor, playing outside and tinkering with electronics. We get lots of fun ideas from our siblings who have young children, about fun things to try, like science experiments at home or Montessori lessons. Jeff’s mother has been a Montessori preschool teacher for many years and his father worked in retail business management. Melissa’s parents were both music teachers. All of those values are important to us, too.
Q: What will you tell your child about his or her birthmom?
A: We plan to be open and honest with our child about the adoption. What we tell him or her about birth parents depends on what we learn about them through the adoption process. Melissa plans to keep an adoption journal that the child will read later in life. We’ll always think of our “adopted” child as our real child. You had a different person give birth to you. We are your parents. The rest we can kind of figure out as the child gets older and asks questions. We know that we’ll have to be able to adapt based on the child and what the birth parents want.
Q: Are you active in your church? Tell us about your activities.
A: I (Melissa) would call us active in our church, which I would say is kind of a moderate, low-key type of religion. Melissa grew up in the Methodist Church and Jeff grew up Catholic. Our extended family attends Catholic church. Several relatives are Lutheran, Baptist or even no religion.
Melissa serves on a mission committee, choir and board of trustees. Jeff serves on the tech committee, which does sound and powerpoint for services, and nominating committee.
Our church is full of wonderful, caring people, but they are definitely aging. There is just a small handful of children in my church, but the moment they enter our building, they are surrounded by loving and caring adults to teach them about life.
Q: How will a child enrich your life?
A: Being a parent is something we very much want to experience in life. We want to help a child grow and learn. Jeff is a very active “fun” uncle and loves playing with his nieces and nephews. Mostly, a child would allow us to be the family that we have always wanted. We feel that we have so much more to give the world.
Q: Describe your last vacation and/or daytrip?
A: My husband took off a little bit of time just before he started his new job so we could visit family. A lot of our trips are visiting family in other states. We spent time talking to my grandfather, my husband helped with yard work and we visited my family’s ancestral farm. My mom and I cooked meals together and in the evenings we sat outside around my parents’ fire pit.
Q: Will you be returning to work? If so, describe your daycare plans?
A: Jeff and I will be able to take off several months to spend with a new baby. Melissa has been at her job for several years and can even work remotely for a few extra months if necessary. She commutes to a nearby town about 20 miles away. Her hours are pretty much only during business hours. Jeff works in town. His hours can be more sporadic. They have multiple options for daycare in both of these communities, but would need to get on a waiting list as soon as possible. Jeff’s mother, June, who used to be a preschool teacher, currently is working as part of a preschool co-op and takes her 3-year-old grandson there a few days each week. June is hoping to do the same thing for a new grandchild. June is in her late 60s and in very good health. We can rely on her somewhat but expect to also plan for daycare as well.
Q: When you close your eyes and see yourself holding your precious baby in your arms, what are your thoughts regarding his or her birth mother?
A: We will have so much deep gratitude and love for your brave choice. For the rest of our lives, we’ll be reminded of this amazing woman and what she did for us. We’ll hope that your choice allowed you to lead a successful and happy life, wherever that may lead. We want your choice to be the best thing for all of us.