Dear Birth Parents,
Thank you for taking the time to get to know our family. We are Craig, Erica, Odin and Ezri. We come from a combination of the Midwest and East Coast but live and work overseas. While we won’t pretend to understand how hard this journey and decision has been, we do want to tell you that we admire your bravery. In choosing life for your child you are giving them, and another family, an invaluable gift. The ability to do this requires a level of strength, compassion and selflessness that is admirable. Even though we don’t know you, we are honored that you would even consider taking this journey with us.
The Story of Us:
We met in 2006 while we were both working in Afghanistan. Craig was working at the US Embassy and Erica was supporting a large women’s rights organization. Erica’s roommate was dating Craig’s friend and brought him along for dinner one night. We spent the night playing cards, arguing about politics and sparring about whose home state, Minnesota (Craig) or New York (Erica), was superior. We spent a year as friends, getting to know each other and forming a solid foundation for our relationship. By the time our relationship grew beyond friendship we were inseparable. Although we have moved on from Afghanistan, we both continue to work internationally on projects funded by the US government. Craig oversees operations, with a focus on finance, logistics and security and Erica focuses on working with communities, especially women and youth, through grants.
From the beginning Erica has loved that Craig is the guy whose thirst for knowledge is both vast and never-ending. He knows about planets, and dinosaurs, and lava, and electricity, and zombies, and planes, and current events and the stock market. He can fix the car (like more than the battery), build a desk from scraps laying around the house, create a universe out of Legos and read a map and find his way no matter where he is. He is hands on, he is humble and there is literally nothing he wouldn’t do for his friends and family. He is the guy everyone calls when they need help. He is loving and affectionate and is invested in every aspect of his children’s lives from their education to their dreams. Craig has two siblings and was born and raised in a small town in southwestern Minnesota. Before beginning his career in international development, Craig went to college in Minnesota and was an Officer in the US Army, including a deployment to Afghanistan. While he loves to travel the world, his core values of community, faith and hard work were shaped by being raised in the Midwest.
Craig fell in love with a million things about Erica. There is little she can’t do from re-covering an old chair to holding her own in a professionally competitive industry. She is the glue that holds our family and community together. She is funny, kind, warm, intelligent, insightful, nurturing and the person who rights the ship no matter what the problem. Her connection with Odin and Ezri is magic. She sees them for who they are and is able to guide them so they are the best version of themselves. Erica has no official siblings but comes from a large, close family of aunts, uncles and cousins. Her mother’s sister has three sons who are her “cousin brothers”. Her family is the voice inside her head – they keep her grounded, have taught her how to nourish and care for other people, have given her a fierce sense of right and wrong and the courage to stand up for what she believes in. Erica went to college in New York and worked in documentary film and media for museums before finding her way to international development.
Odin is brave and protective and stands up for the underdog. He welcomed his sister Ezri with grace and love. He is gentle and kind and takes his job as big brother very seriously. When we talked to Odin about adoption he said that our family has a lot of love and that we should support another family. Odin likes books, science experiments, super heroes, music, dancing, Legos, swimming, horseback riding, camping and playing in the mud. Ezri is light and laughter. She has a laugh that can bring you to your knees. She is independent and feisty and always moving. She is nosy and loves to explore. She brings out the best in all of us and has made us want to expand our family even further. Ezri loves eating, music, water and most of all her big brother.
Our Life and Community:
We currently live in Africa and not only is it beautiful and friendly, life is simple here. Our lives center around family and community and our children spend their time outside – exploring, building, hiking, horseback riding, swimming and using their imaginations. They come home dirty and tired each day and are surrounded by a community of friends from all over the world. It is our plan to raise our family overseas because we love to expose our children to adventure and culture. We feel the experience of discovering new countries has made our family bond even stronger.
We are lucky to have biological families that we adore however, we are truly blessed to have collected a group of friends who are like family. We have a level of support that is unparalleled, with aunties and uncles always on hand to mentor, guide, babysit and just surround us with love and laughter. Our community of friends speaks multiple languages and represents a diversity that mirrors the kind of world we want our children to grow up in.
Our Family Values:
Our family is defined by a combination of faith, laughter, hard work, loyalty and adventure. We are committed to raising kind and strong children who have the courage to stand up for what they believe in and the character to protect those who need help. We value intelligence, honesty, grace, humility, inclusion and diversity. We have dedicated our lives to helping communities recover from hardship, be it poverty, drought, food insecurity or conflict. This commitment to service is central to our marriage and family.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking the time to read our words and look at our pictures. We hope you can see that our world is filled with family and friends who are loving and supportive. Our whole community is excited for us to adopt and will welcome our child with open arms and an open heart. We see this adoption as a way for our families to be forever connected. We are sending you love, prayers and strength as you navigate this decision and hope you know that we have nothing but respect and gratitude for you.
Craig & Erica