We are so thankful to you for taking the time to learn about us.  While we can’t pretend to know what you are feeling, we do know that this is an incredibly difficult and heart-wrenching decision.

Please know that - like you - we want the very best for this child.  As you get to know us, we hope and trust that you will see us as the family that we have envisioned for ourselves.  After all, we are all in this together, and we all want the same outcome – a happy and healthy child surrounded by love.

We always knew that adoption would be a part of our story, but we are now more ready than ever to start our family.  The two of us have all the love in the world to extend and share with our new child.  Our large extended family is incredibly eager to meet our new addition as well, and to be a part of this experience alongside us.  Thank you for allowing us to have a place in the process that will allow us to become a party of three, and if you are comfortable with it, we also hope to get to know you.  You will truly be the reason for our greatest gift of all.  

Our Message to You

Thank you for taking the time to learn about us.  We are very appreciative!  We can't pretend to know what you are going through during this time, but we do know that it is an incredibly hard decision.  Please know that like you we want the very best for this child.  We hope that as you may get to know us you will see us as the family that we have envisioned for ourselves.  All of us are in this together, as we all want the same outcome - a healthy, happy, and loved child. 

Why Adoption

We decided in our late thirties that we wanted to expand our family, and became pregnant within a few short months.  Unfortunately, we lost our baby about five months into the pregnancy. Although it was a traumatic loss we never gave up hope that we would one day have our family; we even taped a little message to the bathroom wall that says 'every day is a new hope’ (it’s still there!). Not long after that Ande was diagnosed with cancer. After a year of chemotherapy we were grateful to learn that Ande was cancer free! She has made a full recovery and has been cancer free now for over a year. However, due to the effects from the chemo we are no longer able to have a biological child. After passing the physical and emotional trials of the cancer, we were eager and excited to have an opportunity to parent through adoption, and began the process shortly after Ande’s last rounds of chemo.  While we always knew that adoption would be a part of our story, after all that we have been through in the past three years we are more ready than ever to start a family!  The two of us have all the love in the world to extend and share with our new child, and are already so proud to be a part of the extraordinary process that will eventually allow us to become a 'party of three'.  If you are comfortable with it, we also hope to get to know you - as you are the reason for our greatest gift of all.

Ande on Sam

There have been many moments over the course of our twenty years together that I have felt so thankful to have Sam as my partner in life.  I could truly fill a book about what makes Sam so incredibly special.  He is not just my husband; he is also my best friend, my teammate, and the one I want to see the first thing in the morning and in the last moments before I go to bed.  Once you meet Sam, you instantly feel at ease - he has that effect on people.  We used to work together in our twenties, and when he sensed I was having a bad day, he would plop a cold Diet Pepsi (my favorite soda) in front of me and walk by with a smile.  When I can’t find the remote control or don’t remember where I left my car keys or sunglasses, Sam is the one that gets down on his knees to look under the coffee table or will walk me through my last steps until I find them.  I think he finally has my mind down to a science after all these years!  Sam is also so warm, eloquent, witty, fair, and kind.  There is not much that can ruffle Sam's feathers, and he's not one to ever cause a fuss.  It's no wonder he was voted 'Best Natured' in high school.  We also call him and my mom ‘BFFs’ because they genuinely love having conversation over burgers and fries whenever my mom is in town.  Sam is also incredibly smart; I may sound biased, but there is not a situation in which you could ask Sam a question and he wouldn't be able to provide you with a pretty detailed answer (sometimes I get more than I bargained for, especially when I ask him about anything Star Wars-related!).  He is like a human 'google!'

I simply cannot wait to see Sam with our new child, as I've seen how happy he is in the company of kids and family. When we are visiting his big family in Wisconsin with his younger cousins, nieces, and nephews, he will crack open a board game, pop in a movie, read a book, tell a funny story, or give up his dessert (unless it is blueberry pie); it is so endearing!  Sam is also a caregiver in every regard, and is always concerned when someone is facing a hardship.  He consistently donates to the World Food Program and is thoroughly invested in what is happening in less progressive parts of the world.  Sam was with me each step of the way as I fought through a battle with cancer in 2016.  Of approximately fifty doctor's appointments, he missed only two; he stood in line for me at the hospital when I couldn't stand; and he cleaned up for me when I was sick.  Perhaps most importantly, he went to 7-11 in his pajamas to get me pop tarts when I didn't feel like eating anything else!

Sam on Ande

How to describe Ande? If you meet her you will know: she is one of those magnetic people that can light up a room. She is a strong, inspiring, and caring woman. When Ande sets her mind to something, she works tirelessly to achieve it. Beating cancer is only the most obvious example. When she decided to change careers, Ande moved across the country by herself to become a makeup artist in Hollywood. When she pursued her Masters degree in Writing, she took classes while working full time and writing her first book. And, after beating cancer she worked out five days a week, every week, for a full year to make herself strong again.

Ande has so much love to give!  When I see her with children I see what kind of mom she will be: affectionate, patient, understanding, and fun!  Ande just has a way of bonding with children - it comes from a place of pure love and joy, her own youthful spirit, and a genuine interest in their lives.  Our nieces especially look up to Ande and sometimes call her just to talk.  When they come to visit us, Ande always has a full itinerary of kid-friendly activities planned – swimming at the water park, bowling, mini-golfing, taking trips to the bookstore (and candy store if is not too close to bedtime!), even making dance videos to the kids’ favorite songs.  She made sure that our niece would get to see Chicago’s elusive Holiday El Train on her last Christmas visit, an experience that ended up being just as thrilling to the two of us!  That's one of the things I love about Ande - she has a lust for life and is always looking for new experiences.  She has a great sense of humor and makes everything more fun. A trip to the mall will turn into an impromptu photo shoot as she pulls us into every available photo booth. Cleaning the house will turn into a dance party as she pauses to jam to her favorite song. When we're out with friends, or even meeting someone for the first time, Ande is usually the one to keep the conversation going, because she genuinely cares about other people and what's happening in their lives. She is our social planner, too, keeping us close to our friends by making plans with them to have dinner, see shows, go to movies in the park, or something more adventurous like visiting a ‘haunted asylum’.

I really admire Ande's sense of empathy and fairness.  She is generous with people in need and will always go the extra mile to help. She volunteers with an organization that pairs cancer survivors with people going through chemotherapy. She also loves spending time with the cats waiting for homes at the local animal shelter.  When you meet Ande, you quickly discover that she is a compassionate and caring person.  I love her very much; she is my absolute best friend, and I cannot imagine a more loving and inspiring mother for our child.

Our Parenting Philosophy

We feel our job as parents is to give our child a loving childhood filled with happy memories and to do everything we can to prepare him or her to be a happy, conscientious, and successful adult.  That means lots of fun, activities, hugs, and affection.  It also means responsibility (yes, chores eventually!), manners, and lessons about empathy and doing for others.  We think it's important for a child to explore the world around them, not just their immediate neighborhood.   While we are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to travel, Chicago itself offers great opportunities to experience a variety of people, cultures, neighborhoods, and ideas.  We are both big readers, too, and see books as a way to learn about the world and other people's experiences.  Our library for our little one is already growing quite rapidly!

It will also be important for us to raise our child to be compassionate. We truly believe that the impact of a kind word or a nice gesture causes a ripple effect which ultimately makes our world a better place for us all.  Our compassion extends to animals as well.  We adore our pets and will most likely always have a brood of animals as part of our family. 

Our Family and Friends

Sam comes from a big family.  He's the second-youngest of nine children!  He also has 21 nieces and nephews and some of them even have children, so there are always a lot of kids of all ages around at holidays and family gatherings.  His mom and most of his family live near Madison, Wisconsin, and we spend a lot of time with Sam's goddaughter Emma and her brother, Carter.  They come to stay with us for the weekend about three times a year just for fun!

Ande has one brother who lives overseas as a travel writer in Thailand.  Her mom and step-dad live in Virginia, but they just bought a second home in Evanston - just four floors above us in our building!  They say it's partially to see us more frequently, but they also admit that it is mainly to spend time with their future grandchildren.  This will be Ande's mom's first grandchild, and she is already knitting up a storm of baby blankets, booties, hats, and whatever else one can possibly knit or sew for a child!  Ande's dad splits his time between New York City and Italy - both places we plan on taking our child once he or she is old enough to travel.  Ande also has a younger half-brother and half-sister who are both attending college at the University of Vermont and an older stepsister who also lives in Vermont with her two sons, Ande's nephews.

Although we are always making new friends, we have a rich history with most of the people in our 'friend-circle.'  Once we make a true friend, they are a friend for life, so a lot of our friends are from college who we have remained in touch with over the years, and now we are friends with their spouses as well.  They may live in other cities and states, but the majority live in the Midwest which makes visits and get-togethers easy.  We are both also still close with several friends from grade-school and high school, and it is always fun catching up with them in one another's company!  It's also been a great joy to get to know their children and see them grow over the years; we are particularly close to the children of our friends Maria and Nathan…so much so that they call us 'Aunt Ande' and 'Uncle Sam.'   Our adult niece Calynne also lives nearby in Chicago, and she is so eager to be 'Chicago Cousin Cale' and have family nights with the three of us (and babysit if we ever decide we need a break!).  

Two Becomes Three…

Despite some of the hardships we've faced, we are both incredibly positive and appreciative people.  We look at the world around us and realize that we have been dealt some fortunate cards. And with that, we try to live each and every day to the fullest and grab meaning from each moment we have on this earth!  Our lives are often quite simple and content; we have three cats who we adore to pieces, and we love spoiling them and hanging out with them (yes, we are 'crazy cat people').  Currently, we both work full-time - Ande as a Retail Manager for a small skincare store in Lincoln Park, and Sam as the Global Digital Channels Leader for Deloitte.  Although Ande, being in retail, often works weekends, we always make plans for our 'family time' - whether that's making dinner, watching a movie, going to a show or game downtown with friends, vacation, or visiting family.  We are certainly spontaneous people, but we also like to have plans in place to keep our lives 'orderly' so we can maximize all of our spare moments!  Ande is a big Cubs fan (especially now that they are World Series champs!) and you cannot find a bigger Green Bay Packers fan than Sam, so we can't wait to cultivate a new little sports fan in our home (sadly, our cats don't get into sports that much….unless you count who can get the most naps in as a sport).

We say almost weekly how much we love living in Evanston.  Not only is it a great city for adults, but it is also so kid-friendly!   We truly can't wait to raise our family here.  From beach activities to seasonal festivals and cultural events, we can't get enough, and the two of us are so eager to slowly introduce our child to all that Evanston and Chicago have to offer.  We live a stone's throw from the bookstore and library (did we mention that we both love books?) - and they both have an amazing children's section; there is also 'Gather' -  a place for children to play, learn, move, and create with their parents, as well as the beach, an ecology center, playgrounds galore, and other family-friendly activities that take place throughout the year.  There is so much we want to do with our child, and we are so excited to envelop them in the traditions that we have started between the two of us over the years - decorating the tree while playing old-fashioned Christmas music, taking trolley rides in Door County in the fall, walking along the water's edge in summer, and strolling through the Botanical Gardens in spring.  It's hard to believe that these things may be happening in 2017, and we just can't wait!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun facts

Ande
  • I save every letter I have ever received.
  • I used to live in Canada.
  • I love microphones.
  • I eat peanut butter practically every day.
  • I used to be a makeup artist for TV and film.
  • I feel like I am the only one alive who thoroughly dislikes green tea.
  • I was captain of the track team in High School.
  • My favorite movie is ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,’ which takes place in Chicago…and we also have a cat named ‘Bueller’
  • I love 80s music.
  • I have kept a journal every year since I was 10 years old.
Sam
  • I come from a family of 9 kids.
  • I grew up on a dairy farm.
  • I was voted ‘Best Natured’ in High School.
  • I served in the Army Reserves for 6 years.
  • I have every line of ‘Star Wars’ memorized.
  • I could eat pizza every day.
  • I design board games in my spare time.
  • I have visited over 20 countries.
  • I still have the first home run baseball I ever hit.
  • I am a huge history buff.

Pregnant and exploring adoption?

If you’re interested in learning about adoption for your baby, we can help. We’re available 24/7. All of your information is confidential.

To speak to someone now, call our 24-hour hotline: (800) 272-3534 or text us at (312) 800-1559 (answered 8:30am-8pm).

If you’d like us to contact you, please use the form below.

If you are looking to adopt a child, please schedule a call with an Adoptive Parent Counselor.

If you are an adopted person looking for information, please schedule an informational consultation with our post adoption department.

How did you hear about The Cradle?

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.