We met our junior year of college while students at the University of Illinois and became friends. After a few months, we began dating (after Dan asked Amy out about 10 times before she finally said yes!), and have been together ever since. We got married in August 2001 and feel fortunate to have found someone early in our lives, since we are both in our mid thirties. We were fortunate to establish good careers, financial resources, and travel to many parts of the world before deciding to have children. The biggest thrill in our lives has been becoming parents together. We adopted our son Caden in November 2005 and our daughter Alexa in November 2008 through open adoptions with the help of the Cradle. We are excited to add one more child to complete our family and we know we will love another child as much as we love both of them.
We have an open relationship with Caden’s birthmom, Mama Julie and her family and Alexa’s birthmom, Mama Alyssa and her family. We share cards, e-mails, phone calls, and lots of pictures with their birthmoms and their families and get together several times a year for visits. We were fortunate to have Alexa’s birthmom and grandma join us for her big family birthday celebration this year. We look forward to discussing with you the type of relationship you hope to maintain in your child’s life and we realize that all relationships are unique. We are open to discussing as much or as little contact as you would like – our child building a relationship with his/her birthparents will allow them to see how much love you have for him/her while allowing them to understand first-hand their adoption story. We truly believe in open adoption and it is something we already live on a day to day basis but we understand that a different level of contact may be more comfortable for you. With the bedtime singing we do, we are already hoping that Caden is blessed with Julie’s singing abilities and Alexa inherits some of Alyssa’s artistic abilities!
Our relationship and our family is based on respect, honesty, and having fun! After living on the north side of the city of Chicago, we moved several years ago to the western suburbs so Caden and Alexa have plenty of room to run and play and attend good schools (among the best in the state). We have a great park just one block from our house and the elementary and junior high are located within walking distance in our neighborhood. The neighborhood is also filled with children and very friendly neighbors. For fun, we enjoy biking / big wheeling / scootering / strollering around our neighborhood with the kids and our dog Maisey, a 9 year old beagle that we adopted from the Anti-Cruelty Society. She is great with children – she tolerates lots of hugs and kisses from Alexa and sometimes mis-directed toys from Caden and she seems to enjoy ’helping’ them clean up after dinner or a stray bite of snack.
One of our favorite things to do as a family is explore all of the great things the city and surrounding suburbs have to offer. We are frequent visitors to the zoo, the aquarium, and numerous museums where we have family passes. The kids love swimming lessons and spending time at our neighborhood pool a short walk from our house or the neighborhood pools of both grandparents. Our friends and family comment to us how amazed they are with all of the activities we do, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! We think it provides a great learning opportunity for them at a young age and we enjoy exposing them to a wide variety of experiences. We also enjoy doing simple things such as walking to the neighborhood park, spending time in our backyard where we have several slides and swings, reading books, or working on craft projects together. We can’t wait to include our future child in these activities as well and hope that s/he will expose us to all kinds of new activities that they are interested in.
We also have great fun cooking together, always trying new dishes – most of the time they actually turn out pretty good! We love to have friends and family over for dinner and try out new recipes. One of our great passions is travel, and we have been to many foreign countries together, exploring new places and cultures. We would like to continue to travel around the country and see more of the sights that the United States has to offer as well and expose our children to the great diversity that exists in the world. We also enjoy getting together regularly with our friends: entertaining for the evening and cooking / grilling, camping, hiking trips, outdoor concerts, or a trip to the bowling alley. We also have fun just hanging out at someone’s home playing board games and having good conversation. Quite a few of our friends have children, and we all enjoy visiting together and playing with the kids. We’re a laid back family so instead of a living room, we turned it into the kids’ playroom with the walls painted red, blue, yellow, and green. It is filled with toys and is right next to the family room (which usually becomes the second playroom) so we can easily keep an eye on them and be involved in all of their imaginative games and make-believe.
We are both very fortunate to have our families in nearby suburbs, and we see them often – for holidays, birthdays, just to grill out together, or spend the weekend together. Both of our immediate families live less than 30 minutes away and are always available to talk, hang out, and ask for and provide advice on any subject that might come up. We visit with all of them very frequently and both children have great relationships with extended family, especially their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Both of our sets of parents have always been very loving and supportive and have been married nearly 40 years – they provide great role models for marriage and for raising a family. Regardless of what was going on, both of our families always ate dinner together every night and this is something we are already continuing with our own family. Dan works from home 1 day per week and has a very flexible schedule which allows us to eat breakfast and dinner together as a family every day. All of our family members are looking forward to the addition of another child to the family, particularly the last ‘baby’. Our next child will also have no shortage of a supportive, close-knit family that is nearby for all occasions and ready to welcome her/him with open arms and have already done so with Caden and Alexa. Caden and Alexa share a special bond as brother and sister and love to play together and just have fun. Our house is filled with squeals of laughter and we know they will welcome another sibling into their special bond. Caden has asked us several times about having another baby and asks to hold the babies of our friends. Alexa is already a little mother and loves taking care of her dolls with lots of hugs, kisses, and bottles.
Amy’s favorite hobby is taking pictures, a love she developed while taking a photography class in high school. We have captured some great times while on our trips and simply hanging out with friends and family. There will be no shortage of pictures as our family continues to grow, capturing all of the ‘little moments’ in life and we look forward to sharing these with you. Amy updates our family website on a weekly basis so the kids’ birth families, extended families, and friends can keep up with their day to day lives. Amy also enjoys decorating our house (she always has a project in mind!). reading, scrapbooking, and taking the kids to the park.
Dan really enjoys playing golf (although he still needs lots of improvement :) and also likes riding his bike, listening to music, watching movies, swimming, bowling, playing poker, and ‘wrestling’ with Caden and Alexa. More than anything, Dan enjoys spending time with the kids and is a very involved father. We have each changed an equal number of diapers and he loves to read and play with them.
About Caden and Alexa
Both kids love to explore and to read and be read to – they both frequently have a book in their hands. Caden is very interested in building and inventing things and always likes to be active, whereas Alexa is definitely the artist in the family and enjoys sitting and coloring for quite a while or making a delicious cup of tea with her tea set. We encourage them to be their own people and will support each of them in whatever they want to do. We will foster their innate talents, whether or not they are similar to ours. We look forward to doing this with our next child as well. As a family, our focus is on making great memories, whether that is baking sugar cookies together at Christmas or zucchini bread ‘just because’. We have a number of traditions we try to do every year and continue to add new ones: visits to at least 3 Santas each year, a fall party with a movie projected outside for the kids under lots of blankets and roasting marshmallows while the adults chat around the firepit, dying easter eggs, trips to Disney, or tackling and wrestling Daddy with shrieks of laughter. You may be asking yourself why you would pick a family for your child that already has 2 children. We think there are a few key reasons: 1. This child will be the baby of the family – we plan for this to be our last child; Amy is an only child so this will be the last grandchild on her side of the family and Dan’s brother and sister have completed their families 2. We have experience with open adoption and are very committed to developing a successful relationship based on what is best for you and your child; our families also understand it 3. Your child will have a wonderful older brother and sister and will share the special bond of domestic adoption with them (and has built in truck / train / princess / doll and everything in between playmates!).
We believe strongly in the value of a good education, the importance of friends and family, and teaching and portraying good morals and values. We enjoy the many experiences that life has to offer and want to provide these opportunities for our children, so they can discover their own interests and passions. More than anything, we love being parents and we can’t wait to add another child to our family.
We’ve told you a lot about us in a short amount of space and we can’t wait to learn the same things about you: what are your hobbies, if you could visit one place in the world, where would that be (Amy would love to visit Alaska one day, Dan can’t wait to see South America), what is your favorite color (Amy’s is green, Dan’s and Caden’s are blue, Alexa’s is pink or yellow, depending on the day)? There is a world of questions that we have a lifetime to explore together. We realize you have some difficult decisions ahead of you. If the little bit you have read here interests you, please consider looking at our longer profile to learn more about us, the opportunities we can offer another child, and the relationship we hope to have with you