We have been married 15 years. Throughout that time, we have lived and worked in the same, closely-knit rural community in north central Illinois.
We have built an extraordinarily close and understanding marriage. Mark served as an Army medic in the first Gulf War in 1990-91, and as a result he has some chronic health concerns like pain and fatigue. We’ve learned to cope with those challenges in a way that has drawn us even closer together. We know we can always rely on one another for emotional support and companionship.
We especially like to stay active outdoors. In the evenings after work we often walk, ride our bikes, or hike in nearby woods. Weekends mean yard work or gardening. On vacations we usually camp, hike, canoe, or ski. Some of our favorite times are spent on the quiet, scenic hillside of our 40-acre farm property located about two hours west of our home.
We believe our close marriage and active lifestyle will combine to make a wonderful life for an adopted child. But that’s not always enough. We know adopted adults who were raised before open adoption was common. They love their adoptive parents, but they wish they knew more about their birth families. It is important to us that our child always knows they have a birth family who wants the best for them. We want to know who YOU are and your dreams for your child. If possible, we’d like to stay in touch with you in a way that makes sense for everyone involved—especially our child.
Mark describes Rhodora ~Rhodora is the nicest person I know. I often tell friends how lucky I am to be married to her! She is quiet, kind, and caring. If she believes in something, she pours her heart into it. She is also thoughtful, careful, and detail-oriented.
People are often curious about Rhodora’s heritage. She is half-Filipino which gives her the dark hair, eyes, and skin tone. Her background makes both of us acutely aware of diversity and how people of different races are treated.
Rhodora describes Mark ~ This is going to sound cheesy, but it’s true: Mark is my hero. He is the most generous, people-oriented person I have ever met. He is always calm and levelheaded in a crisis. He fears little, never panics, and acts swiftly and capably when needed… traits that served him well in the Army and to this day. He’s the kind of guy you hear about who rescues someone from near calamity. In fact, one winter day a few years ago on his way to work he came upon a car that had rolled onto its side in the icy road. He stopped and found still in the car a badly-shaken pregnant mom with a 3-year old girl, both surrounded by shattered glass. He called 911, reassured the mother who could not be moved without the help of the rescue squad, lifted the little girl out of the car, soothed her while placing her in his own warm car, and then returned to talk to her mother until the rescue personnel arrived. That’s the kind of person he is.
Mark also makes people laugh. After being married all these years, he still says things that make me giggle for hours! He will be a fantastic role model for our child. Just by being himself, he will show the importance of honesty, generosity, humility and fun.
Our family ~ We are both blessed to have family nearby. Mark’s parents live 5 minutes away while Rhodora’s folks are 30 minutes away. They are excited about our plans to adopt and eagerly awaiting the arrival of their first grandchild!
Mark’s brother lives in Florida with his wife Lea; they stay in frequent contact by phone and e-mail. Rhodora is an only child but has cousins who are close enough to feel like brothers and sisters, several of whom live nearby. They are also excited for a new addition to our family!
Our home & neighborhood ~ We live on the edge of a small rural subdivision in northern Illinois. Our area is a wonderful blend of both rural life and close neighbors. Looking in one direction from our house, we can watch the progress of farm crops through the seasons. Looking the other way, we see our neighborhood: a street full of down-to-earth families who all know each other. In fact, many of them are like family. When a neighbor girl got married recently, we all joked about posting a guard at the end of our street because EVERYONE was gone at the same time to attend her wedding. All our neighbors know each other by name and care enough to look after the safety and well-being of everyone’s kids (and pets)—not just their own. They, too, are excitedly awaiting the arrival of our child.
Child care ~ We are both looking forward to taking several weeks off work to bond as a family when we bring our child home. Our longer-term child care plan is to find a find a safe, loving family day care setting in which our child will thrive when each of us returns to work.
Mark’s thoughts on being a dad ~ I’ve seen the hard side of life and I know how easy it is to get lost. It can happen to anyone! But I also believe nobody is beyond hope given enough love and support. My enjoyment of camping, fishing, carving and woodworking are things I hope to pass on to my child. If those interests don’t fit who they are as a person, I will learn something new that does. My ultimate goal is to provide love and inspiration and let my child know they can become anything they dream and work towards.
Rhodora’s thoughts on being a mom ~ I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and writing about why I want to be a mother. I really want to…
Make a profound difference in a child’s life.
Make living my values be a model of living for my child: kindness, generosity, love of nature, curiosity, wonder, and finding beauty in unexpected places.
Watch Mark be the amazing dad I know he will be.
Read, sing, and cuddle with my child.
Experience the thrill of pride when my child does something kind for someone else.
Have a child’s joyful laughter in my life.
Experience the world through a child’s eyes.
Hug the warm and vibrant body of my child, knowing our loving contact will nurture and strengthen both our spirits.
Watch my child transform into a caring and responsible adult.
Thank you… for taking time to learn about us. We know the task of choosing the parents for your child is overwhelming, and ours is one letter of many you will read. If you feel a connection with us after reading our story, perhaps it will be the start of a new family: ours and yours, connected by a cherished child.