Hi – our names are Barry and Heather. We live just outside of Washington, DC. Thank you for taking the time to read our letter and give us the opportunity to share a little bit about our life with you. Adopting our son Malcolm was the best thing that ever happened to us, and we want to share our love and joy with another child. We can only imagine what you are going through at this time. We admire your courage in considering open adoption for your baby and look forward to learning more about you and your hopes and dreams for your child.
We’ve been together fourteen years and married for ten. We grew up in very different places. Barry is originally from South Africa, while Heather grew up in a small town in western New York state. We met in Angola, a country on the west coast of Africa, where Heather was helping to resettle war refugees and Barry was running a medical assistance company. Today we live in Maryland, where Heather works in public relations and Barry works for a non-profit.
Becoming parents to our son was a dream come true. We only had 24 hours notice about Malcolm’s birth and we still remember the giddy feeling of being on the plane, flying out to meet our son. Nothing compares to being parents and we have had such fun (even through the hard times) raising Malcolm. Both Heather and Barry have siblings that we are close to, and we would love to complete our family by welcoming one more child into our home. We promise to love them, be there for them and allow them to become the person they are supposed to be, just as we are doing for Malcolm.
Our relationship is filled with a lot of fun and laughter. It is important to us that our home be a happy, filled with friends, kids, family and pets! Many of our friends have young children of their own and we have fun playing games and hosting child-friendly get-togethers. We live in a large, comfortable home in a safe, multi-racial neighborhood that has lots of kids. There are two parks within walking distance, and our house has a large, fenced-in yard with a swing set and playhouse.
We love to take walks to the parks together as a family, host cook-outs on our patio, and make the most of being so close to DC by taking Malcolm to the zoo, festivals and other kid-friendly activities.
We share our home with two dogs – Sasha and Gunner – and a cat. All the animals are important parts of Malcolm’s life – he likes cuddling with the dogs and feeding the cat.
We enjoy holidays and make a big deal of decorating the house for Halloween and Christmas. Heather spends an entire day baking cookies to give to our friends and neighbors at Christmas-time while Barry spends hours plotting how to add more lights to the yard so that Malcolm can say, “Wow cool!” We always celebrate Christmas with lots of family and look forward to a Christmas when we can add another stocking to the mantle.
About Heather (by Barry)
When we were asked to re-do this particular portion of our application for our second adoption. I thought that it would be really simple to write, because, how much can one really change in the relatively short period of time, since our first adoption process – I mean really change?
Heather still has all the great qualities I wrote about the first time. She is still a person that hand writes thank you notes, and is still an extremely dedicated and motivated person at work and at home. Her honesty and high moral standards are still qualities that she has, and even builds upon. Ensuring that the many family traditions are still adhered to, all of which to Heather are still extremely important, is still a major priority, a priority today, which is even more important ever
Well, I am really pleased to say that we do not really change, and Heather certainly has not. What does however change, are circumstances, and it is these situations and life events, which bring out traits in a person, that one may never have before seen, mainly because the circumstances for them to be visible, did not exist Why, what life changes have occurred since our last application has brought out attributes in Heather that I have never seen before? I’ll even tell you the date and time, it was, 12:26 p.m on Tuesday 26th April 2016, and what the event was. It was when she was handed a little 7lb 4oz little boy with a thick mop of black hair, and it was our new son, Malcolm Oscar.
Heathers instantaneous bond to Malcolm brought out in her, the maternal instincts and love for a child that was impossible to see before Malcolm was made ours. Her patience, her ability to give unconditionally of herself, her perseverance and tolerance in teaching and nurturing Malcolm, is unlike anything I have ever seen and experienced.
Heathers ability to communicate and show her love for Malcolm, and watching Malcolm’s positive response to those emotions, is something that moves me daily.
I know that when we are again afforded the opportunity of not only adding another child to our family, but also giving Malcolm a sibling, that these behavioral qualities in Heather will simply be extended to the new child.
A child, who, like Malcolm, will be one of the luckiest kids in the world, because, Heather will be their mother
About Barry (by Heather)
Becoming Malcom’s father has been the biggest joy in Barry’s life and he can’t wait to add another child to our family. His absolute delight in spending time with Malcom, talking about trains, or a favorite book, is apparent every day. Barry was a stay-at-home Dad for the first 18 months of Malcom’s life and their bond is special. Malcom loves calling Barry, “My Dada” and Barry’s smile each and every time he hears that brings a smile to my face. Barry is looking forward to the adventures he will have with both Malcolm and another child.
Barry truly is a social being– he loves people, talking to them and finding out their story. Being a good host is very important to him – this is something we share. He loves to cook and I think he is happiest when he has a large group of friends or family around and he is cooking a braai for them all. (A braai is a South African barbeque with a lot of meat!) He can’t wait to pass along some of his South African traditions to his child.
Barry is also one of the best friends I have ever met. Not just with me, he is remarkable in keeping up with all of his friends and their lives, no matter how far away they may be.
He has a great sense of humor and sees few things in life that can’t be approached with humor. It has been a joy seeing that Malcom shares a love of laughing with Barry. Barry loves travel, adventure and the exploring the outdoors, whether through fishing or deep sea diving. I have loved sharing in some of these adventures with him, although parenthood has been our best adventure. We can’t wait to continue the adventure with another child.
While family has always been an important part of our lives, it became even more important once we adopted Malcom. Heather was fortunate to have grown up with her first cousins and strives to give that same experience to both our son and the next child we hope to adopt. Heather’s sister and her family live near to us, and we frequently host cousin sleepovers. Heather’s Mother and Father spend a lot of time with us and share a special bond with their grandson. They are all just as eager as we are to welcome another child into our family.
Barry’s family is more spread out in South Africa, England and he has an adult daughter living in Australia. We get to go on some wonderful trips in order to see them all and introduce Malcolm to Barry’s family, and it’s been our great joy to welcome them to America when they come to visit.
Barry loves planes and flying and is a big history buff. He also loves watching and playing sports and has developed a love of baseball and hockey since moving to the United States. He can’t wait until Malcolm and our other child are old enough to go with him to a game.
Heather grew up on the East Coast, and winter is her favorite season. She considers teaching Malcolm to ride his sled and catch snowflakes on his tongue as essential life skills! Heather loves reading to Malcolm and story time is an important part of every day. Heather also loves music – pretty much any kind – so there is almost always some kind of music to suit her present mood playing in the house.
Both of us have spent significant time living in other countries and love of travel is something we share. Planning our next trip somewhere, discovering hidden gems in out-of-the way places or eating a fabulous meal someplace new are some of the great joys of our life together, which we can’t wait to share with our child.
Laughter is a big part of our lives. We share a curiosity about our world, and love planning our next adventure together. We believe strongly in the importance of compassion and service. We both spend time volunteering in our community and plan to instill the value of service to others into our children.
We both believe in the value of education, as we have spent time in countries where children were often denied the privilege of going to school. Yet we also know that education doesn’t just happen in a classroom – that children should be exposed to all the diversity and wonder that the world has to offer. We hope to teach them the patience and compassion to learn from others, and the curiosity to never stop learning.
We appreciate you taking the time to read this, and wish you the best in your journey. We hope you will want to learn more about us because we very much would like to learn more about you.
Barry & Heather