Q: Tell us about your home and neighborhood.
A: We live in a cute A-frame house in Japan, with a big garden full of wildflowers, herbs, and vegetables. Our house has lots of space for friends, including a traditional Japanese tea room. Many others in the neighborhood have beautiful gardens and farms. We live close to parks and schools and a grocery store. In the winter, there is a lot of snow. It’s flat in our area (good for riding bikes), but you can see mountains all around. Beautiful sunsets are best viewed from your baby's bedroom window. We are 15 minutes from the beach.
Q: When you have a 3-day weekend, what you like to do?
A: We like to go to the mountains for hiking, camping, snow-shoeing, and onsen (hot springs baths). Celia hopes your baby will grow up to be her ski buddy, because Keith doesn’t ski.
Q: Do you have pets? If so, tell us about them.
A: No, but we have houseplants, including a bonsai who sometimes goes on vacation with us.
Q: What do you hope to teach your child(ren)?
A: We want our child to know that he/she is loved. We hope to teach him/her to love God and others, to follow God, to become wholly who God made him/her to be, to be a good listener (as we also listen to him/her), and to show grace to him/herself and others.
Q: What will you tell your child about his or her birthmom?
A: We will tell him/her, “Your birthmom made a very hard decision, but she made that decision for your sake, because she loves you so much.”
Q: Are you active in your church? Tell us about your activities.
A: Our church is both our community and our workplace. Keith teaches church members in Bible reading and interpretation, preaches, and plays the piano. Celia plans worship services and is involved in hospitality and pastoral care.
Q: How will a child enrich your life?
A: We hope that raising a child will give us more opportunities to be involved in our community, to see life with new eyes, to understand our parents (and friends with children) better, to develop patience, and to gain a deeper understanding of God’s father-love for us.
Q: Describe your last vacation and/or daytrip.
A: We went hiking close to home. Celia performed open-air Japanese tea ceremony at the peak of the mountain as we enjoyed the brilliant fall colors. Then we went to an onsen (hot spring). After that we went home and cooked dinner together.
Q: Will you be a stay-at-home parent? If so, what are your day-to-day plans? Will you be returning to work? If so, describe your day-care plans.
A: Our organization places a high value on families. We both plan to return to work, but we do most of our work from home, and we will both reduce our workload so that we can share parenting responsibilities and enjoy family time. When our child is old enough, we plan to send him/her to a neighborhood preschool (yochien), so that s/he can make friends with local kids and develop Japanese language skills.
Q: Describe your family.
A: Keith: My parents have been happily married for over 40 years and live in Iowa. My dad is a retired teacher, and my mom continues in her medical practice. I have two older brothers, one who lives in North Dakota and the other in Minnesota. I also have two younger sisters, one who lives in Indiana and the other in the DC area. At the moment I have two nephews and five nieces, and “Grampa” has become the designated babysitter traveling from state to state. When all the grandchildren get together, it can get quite hectic, but even then my parents are always glad to welcome one more into the family.
Celia: My parents have been married for over 40 years and live in Washington State. Dad is a retired engineer. He has moved on to a second career building musical instruments and singing in choirs. Mom was a teacher before I was born, and continues to serve the community by tutoring children from immigrant families in English and Math. My parents love traveling, and have been to visit us in Japan many times. My brother, who also lives in Washington, is married with two children. His wife is Chinese; they speak Chinese in the home and hope their children grow up to be bilingual.
Our parents and siblings are supportive and excited about our plans to adopt and they look forward to welcoming an adopted child into our family.
Q: Describe your childhood.
A: Keith: Growing up with two older brothers, two younger sisters, two parents, and two dogs, our house was always a bustle of activity. In particular I remember our camping trips where all seven of us, with our dogs, piled into our black minivan for our annual two-week vacations. During these trips, my father taught me how to build a good campfire and to grill a good steak, skills that I would love to pass on to our child. In high school, I was also very much involved in choir, drama, and set building for musicals. My parents always supported me by coming to my performances and being there. The importance of “being there” is perhaps the biggest thing I learned from my parents. With five children it might seem hard to have individual time with each of us, but my parents were intentional about it. One of my favorite childhood memories was when my dad took me to have an A&W root beer iced mug while we planned about what I wanted to get my brothers and sisters for Christmas. This is the sort of father I want to be.
Celia: “Creativity” and “outdoors” are the two words I would use to describe my childhood. When I was ten, my family moved into a house that we designed, in the middle of a forest. Dad had a huge wood shop, Mom had a huge garden, and there was plenty of space for our cats and horses and chickens. Dad built hiking trails through our woods, connecting up with the trails in the park nearby. The house was full of music, the mess of everyone’s art projects, and good smells coming from the kitchen. As my parents included me in their interests and supported me in my creative endeavors, I also hope to instill in our child creativity and a love of beauty as s/he discovers ways to express him/herself.