Q: Tell us about your home and neighborhood.
A: We live in a three-story townhouse in Northern Virginia just outside Washington, D.C. It’s a colorful home with lots of fun things inside. We have a hammock hanging in the guest room and an indoor sauna in our bedroom. The baby’s room is painted sage green and is on the second floor where the window looks out into the forest. It’s almost as if you are in a tree house when in the baby’s room. We have mountain bikes hanging from the walls and a theater room in the basement.
We live in a small city, though it is bustling with many people and shops. The founder of our city wanted to ensure every child could walk to school, and as a result there are many elementary schools and walking paths through the forests throughout the town. We have a town center where there is ice skating in the winters, live bands in the summers, a movie theater, and lots of great places to try all kinds of ethnic foods.
There are hundreds of parks in the area, with an especially large park with mountain biking/hiking trails, a pond for fishing, soccer fields, a skate park, and a large camping area. We have a multicultural neighborhood, full of all kinds of ages and races of people.
Only a few feet from our home is the local swimming pool, where we spend quite a bit of time in Summer after work and on the weekends. There are also two playgrounds on both sides of our house where we have spent time with our previous foster boys.
That being said, we especially love our cabin in West Virginia where we spend every spare minute we can. The cabin sits on over 5 acres of forest, has a fire pit, and Jesse just made a tree swing and homemade teeter-totter. Across the dirt road is a small fishing pond. Our cabin has a large screened-in porch with a swing and a great view of the Appalachian mountains. Inside, the cabin has many windows, is bright and welcoming, and has a fireplace around which we love spending evenings reading books and sipping hot chocolate. We can’t wait for summer to get here so we can start eating dinner out on the porch with the fire flies and making homemade ice cream!
Q: When you have a 3-day weekend, what you like to do?
A: If we have extra time, we often like to plan little get-aways. Sometimes we will pick up our things last minute and head to a beach or find a good campsite in the mountains. Now that we have the cabin, we’ve loved getting to explore our new home and the surrounding area. Near our cabin, there are ski resorts, national and state parks, and many waterfalls, places to rock climb, and rivers to raft.
Q: Do you have pets? If so, tell us about them.
A: We have two miniature Schnauzers named Besh (8 years old) and Petey (1 year). Besh thinks he is a human. He loves to be cozy, sleeps on his back in our bed, and snores just like an old man. He loves babies and is very protective of them. Once babies start crawling, he likes to follow them around wherever they crawl. Petey is a lover and likes to give kisses to anyone that will take them. He is very sweet and cuddly and is just a big bundle of fluff.
Q: What do you hope to teach your child(ren)?
A: We hope to teach our child the love of learning and exploring. We both grew up on farms where we spent a lot of time exploring and spending time with animals. While we had hobbies, such as track and field, choir, and volunteer activities, our parents did not allow for our days to become over-scheduled so we could enjoy being a child. This is something we want for our child.
We want to instill in our child the value of hard work and working to achieve his/her dreams. We grew up in poor homes, however our parents taught us the values needed to succeed in life. We've achieved many of our dreams of living outside of the US, graduating with Bachelors and Masters Degrees, owning our own home, and having successful careers. We want the same for your child and will support them throughout their life in order for them to achieve their greatest dreams.
Q: What will you tell your child about his or her birth mom?
A: We hope that our child will have a relationship with his/her birth mom. We think it is important for the child to know where he/she came from. But if this is not possible, we hope we could keep in touch with the birth mother via letters or some other type of communication at least at some point in the child’s life. We have tried to put ourselves in your shoes and your child’s shoes and think both of you would benefit from knowing one another as the years go by.
Q: Are you active in your church? Tell us about your activities.
A: We are active in our church and attend services weekly. We both serve in leadership roles, caring for the youth and women of our congregation. Our congregation in Virginia is rather large with many children, while our congregation in West Virginia is smaller with more grandparent-types. We both teach in our various roles and plan activities for the youth and older members. Jesse has organized many camp outs and hikes, and Danielle has organized service projects and taught young girls new skills, such as making homemade lip balm. We recently made a trip with our church to North Carolina to help with the hurricane clean-up in New Bern.
Q: How will a child enrich your life?
A: We have had children come into our home, sometimes for as long as a year. Watching a child take on the world every day with such wonder is a joy! Helping the children to discover new things every day is such a treat. One of the boys we fostered for a long time would come running for us every day we picked him up from daycare. He would scream “Mommy!” or “Daddy!” and we would scoop him up and we would squeeze each other as tight as we could. We were best friends! We still see him and his brother as often as we can, now that they have returned to live with their mom. For us, having kids and babies in our home is just freaking awesome!
Q: Describe your last vacation and/or day trip.
A: On our last vacation, we went on a two-week Mediterranean cruise with Danielle’s parents, brothers, and uncle. We first flew to Spain where we met up with Danielle’s former foreign exchange student brother and his parents. We visited famous sites and enjoyed each other’s company. After a couple days in Spain, we left the port from Barcelona. We visited several places in Italy, including Rome and Pompeii. We also visited Greece, Malta, and Croatia. We swam in the Mediterranean Sea in Greece, ate a lot of gelato in Italy, walked the ramparts of the city in Croatia, and visited the oldest civilization we’ve encountered in Malta dated to 3600BC. On the cruise, we played volleyball, Foosball (which is interesting on a rocking boat), went to magic shows, dance parties, movies by the pool, and ate amazing local foods. It was a whirlwind of a trip, but so much fun making memories with Danielle’s family.
Q: Will you be a stay-at-home parent? If so, what are your day-to-day plans?
A: During the first months, we plan to work part-time in order for at least one of us to be home during the newborn stage. We are so excited to have a child in the home and want to be home as much as possible. We both have very flexible jobs and have the ability to work from home whenever we need.
Q: Will you be returning to work? If so, describe your day-care plans.
A: Unless one of us decides that we need to be a stay-at-home parent, we both plan to return to work after a few months. We have a daycare close by that we have gotten to know through our foster children experiences. This particular daycare is a fantastic learning center. The kids go on fun and inspirational trips and are truly loved by the staff. They even have a video camera in the various rooms of the center so you can check on your child at any time during the day. They monitor the child’s growth and areas to work on at home. While more expensive, they would be our daycare of choice in this area!
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: What a gift you are in our lives! While your journey has likely been difficult, we couldn’t be prouder of your decision. We hope you continue to be a part of your child’s life and in our family’s life. Thank you, thank you, thank you!