Dear Birth Parent,
Hello and welcome to our family of three- Kim, James, and Cecelia. As you make what must be an extremely emotional decision, we are grateful that you are taking the time to consider our family. We certainly can’t know what this experience has been or will be like for you, but we have deep compassion for whatever you are going through and admiration for the incredibly brave and selfless choice you are making. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to tell you a bit about ourselves.
We first began to consider adoption in 2014, after several years of trying to have children. However, amazingly, we then got pregnant and were thrilled to become parents almost two years ago, when our daughter Cecelia was born. That was the start of the most beautiful experience of our lives- and one that we had been dreaming of for a long time. We knew right away that we wanted to have another child or children, and we held onto our hopes and plans to adopt when the time was right. Now, after two wonderful years as parents, we are excited and very ready to expand our family, and we’re so happy to be starting again on this path.
We met more than 10 years ago while pursuing our masters degrees in education in James’ home state on the west coast. As luck would have it, we found ourselves placed in the same school as student teachers. We fell in love a little bit everyday as we carpooled to work, and I guess we knew if we could find so much to talk and laugh about at 6 am in traffic, we were on to something special. Before long we were going on hikes, making meals together, sharing our plans for travel and adventure, and dreaming of a future together. The things that drew us together continue to keep our lives together exciting and full - our sense of adventure, our passion for travel and books and music, our love for the outdoors and for sports, our devotion to our families and friends, and our shared goal of doing meaningful work as teachers.
After graduating, we each taught in public schools in the US, Kim as an English teacher, and James as a Health & PE teacher and later a Spanish teacher. However, we eventually decided to connect our passion for teaching and our love of travel and found jobs at an American international school. We currently make our home on a beautiful tropical island, where we have lived since 2014, surrounded by sunshine, lush mountains, amazing beaches, music, a warm, vibrant culture, and a supportive community of friends and co-workers. Our daughter Cecelia was born here, and being a family of three has made the adventure of life overseas that much more fulfilling, beautiful, and exciting.
Cecelia is a ray of sunshine in our lives, just as our next child will be. Although we had many years of experience working with children as teachers, she certainly teaches us new things everyday, and we love rediscovering the world through her eyes. She is clever, fun, inquisitive, and active! She loves playing in the pool, running around the park waving to everyone, reading books with us, leading our dogs around, and playing alongside her friends. She is a sweet and happy girl, and we know from the affection she shows our friends and family, our neighbors, her doll, and just about everyone she meets that she will make a great big sister. She is a toddler, so of course she has her challenging moments too. When she’s tired or cranky and testing boundaries, we consider that she’s helping us to develop the art of patience, and in truth, having waited so long to become parents, we even find joy in many of those moments because we realize how fortunate we are. Rounding out our family are Oliver (our quirky 8 year old hound dog) and Annie (a former ‘street’ dog that made an amazing transformation into the sweetest, most loyal dog a family could hope for). We can’t wait to expand our family further, and to know and love the baby that finds his or her way to us.
Our life here is fun, relaxed, and fulfilling. Our community of friends includes many other international families. Because we outside our home countries, we make a special effort to build connections and community, and our friends have become like family in this home away from home. We spend a lot of time together hosting dinners, barbecuing at the pool, spending weekends at the beach, and arranging activities for our kids. We love that there is always something fun going on, that our daughter plays with children from various parts of the world, and that she is connected to a whole network of wonderful adults (most of whom are also teachers). It really does take a village to raise a child, and we have been blessed with an amazing village, both here and in the US.
In our free time as a family, we take walks with our dogs, ride bikes in the park, spend time at the pool, read together, draw, or relax at home, play music, or visit the playground on our school’s beautiful campus, which is just a 5 minute walk from our house. We participate in community service activities, James coaches sports at our school, and we take time to explore and discover our city and the amazing beaches nearby. We adore this island that has become our second home, but in time, we will have the opportunity to live and work in another country for a few years, if that feels like the best choice for our family, before we ultimately return home to the US.
As teachers, we have 13 weeks of vacation every year. We spend a bit of that time traveling, but most of our time is with our families in the US. We own a house in a beautiful university town on the west coast, which is surrounded by mountains, rivers, and farms. It’s the same town where James’ extended family and many of our friends live, so when we visit, we spend lots of time hiking, going to lakes, taking bike rides, having barbecues, and relaxing with James’ family and our close friends. While we’re there we stay with James’ mom, known as Nonni to Cecelia and her cousins. She is an amazing woman in many ways, not least of the all the resilience she has shown over the years. Despite going through tremendous loss and hardship after the death of James’ dad and brother, she remains full of love and life. She’s active (she still goes biking and kayaking with her tribe of amazing 70 something friends) and always full of energy to share with her grandchildren, who utterly adore her. She, like the rest of our family, is thrilled about our plans to adopt and will come to stay with us after our next baby’s arrival.
The other half of our vacation time is spent on the east coast with Kim’s brother and parents. They live in a quiet but beautiful town in the south. Their house has a backyard pool, and we spend many warm summer days there and in the parks nearby. Kim's mom was a speech therapist, and has lots of experience working with children. She has more energy than anyone we’ve ever met and is also super creative, so coming up with fun activities and games to play with Cecelia is right up her alley. She absolutely loves every minute of being a "Grammy" and cannot wait to meet her next grandbaby. Kim's dad, unfortunately, has Alzheimer's, so he is losing a lot of his memories and abilities. Amazingly, he never forgets Cecelia or how much he loves her. She fills his heart with joy, and he makes her giggle. We are so thankful for the time they've had together, and hopeful about the time "Pop" will have with our second baby, whom he will adore just as he adores Cecelia. Because Kim’s parents live just a short flight away, we’re able to visit often, and they make sure we always feel that their home is our home.
We have chosen to live overseas because it gives us a lot of enriching experiences, an exceptionally close community, great jobs that give us lots of free time as a family, and the opportunity to save quite a bit for the future. Even though we do live outside the US, we are lucky to have so much concentrated, quality time with our families there. It’s important to us to give our daughter and future children a sense of roots and connection, even as we explore the world together. We feel so lucky that our life together offers the best of both, as well as the unconditional love and support from two wonderful families, and we look forward to sharing that with the baby that joins us.
There are many unexpected surprises in life, and we don’t know exactly what the future holds. One thing is certain though: the baby that joins our family will be surrounded by love, family, learning, and adventure. He or she will have unconditional support and encouragement, not only from us, but from our extended family of relatives and friends. And so will his or her birth mom. We wish you well and look forward to learning more about you.
Kim and James