I think it's safe to say that one of the biggest surprises of all our lives is to find ourselves here - with us writing this letter to you and you reading it. We thank you for clicking on our profile and for considering us as you consider adoption.

Big hugs and best wishes to you.

Openness and Parenting

Gina has two best friends who are birth mothers and placed their children for adoption close to 20 years ago. Hearing about their experiences, as well as knowing some people who have either  adopted or were adoptees themselves, convinced us to search out an open adoption. We are totally open to talking about the relationship you're willing to have with us - pictures and letters sent through texts or email, getting together several times a year, or celebrating birthdays together. We also understand if you don't want to hang out much. Please know, though, that we will always welcome and encourage contact with you at any point when you feel ready. What we want is for everyone involved to feel cared about, heard, and respected.

Can’t Wait to Parent!

What we look forward to the most about parenting is watching a little person discover the world around them and guiding them through those discoveries. We are excited about the opportunity to introduce words, including from other languages, to the child we are lucky to parent. We are looking forward to helping a child explore foods - flaky biscuits and fried chicken, Ethiopian mesir wot scooped up with injera, guacamole and ceviche, Grandma’s mashed potatoes, pad thai and mango sticky rice, cherry tomatoes we grow in our backyard, fried Twinkies. We have eaten some weird things (Gina ate fried bull testicles in the Rocky Mountains and Stephen ate rat lungs while he was growing up in Papua New Guinea) - nothing is off limits! We look forward to discovering whether our child is into sports or playing an instrument; to helping them navigate friendships and science fair projects; and to making them giggle but also being there for them when they need to cry and be angry.

Childcare Plan

Gina is a massage therapist and works as an independent contractor, so she sets her own schedule. Our plan is for her to stay home for the first 3 months, then Stephen (who is an Instructional Coach for K-8 teachers at a charter school in the city) will take paternity leave for three months, though we’ll also have weeks home together during that time. After that, Gina will work 3 days/week and baby will go to daycare on those days (we’ve already toured a great one nearby and are totally impressed with them!) Grandma and Grandpa Malone live nearby and can’t wait to be babysitters, too!

Our Story

We met online, on MySpace, in 2005. We emailed back and forth for about two months before we met in person. Gina had never met anyone online before and wondered if maybe all the flirting was some long con by Stephen so that he could rob her when they met. She decided to leave her purse in her car - Ha! Can’t rob me if I don’t bring my money! - and, after closing her car door, realized she had already put her keys in her purse. After a great first date Gina admitted to Stephen that she had locked her keys in her car…..and why…..and he waited with her while a locksmith came. Two months later, Gina moved in and the rest is history!

Why Adoption?

We started trying to conceive a month after we married. After three years with no luck, we started fertility treatments. We had a sweet, old Swedish doctor with big bear paw hands and at  every appointment he would take Gina's hand in his and say 'hold on to hope.' Two more years went by. We never got pregnant.

For a while we thought we were okay with it being just the two of us. But we really want a child to love.   

While considering adoption, Gina had the realization - Stephen isn't related to her by blood but he is the person she loves most in this world. It feels like we've always been family. What made that bond? Caring for each other, helping each other through life, making decisions together, bringing joy to each other. We realized that bringing a child into our family through adoption would be the same - our child doesn't need to have our DNA for us to want to help them grow as a person, to be happy, and to feel secure and loved.

Stephen on Gina

I first fell in love with her picture - there was so much personality, so much mischief, and she was so adorable that she took my breath away. Almost as soon as we met

in person I knew that I was done. Finished. A goner. 

That was over ten years ago and I continue to fall impossibly deeper in love with her ever year.  She is so smart and funny and strong and creative! Once, when we were talking about having a child, I mentioned birthday parties and her response was “Birthday parties! Halloween costumes! Christmas! I’m going to be able to plan SO MANY PARTIES!” She loves projects and the chance to sew, paint, and use power tools to bring her ideas to life.

Also, whenever something goes wrong in the house, I’m like, “Well...better call a guy.” She just rolls her eyes, spends five minutes on YouTube, and a few hours later we've replaced our toilet or fixed the washer. This saves us tons of money and only costs me a bit of my dignity. Our child, whether a boy or a girl, will have the confidence to fix things themselves after watching her.

Gina on Stephen

The first time I met Stephen in person, I instantly felt safe with him. He is a kind and gentle man. He also has an insatiable curiosity. It's not unusual to have a conversation like this: Him - ‘do you know that humans are the only mammals that have chins?’ Me - ‘huh...no, never thought about it.’ Him - ‘I've been reading theories on it but nobody really knows why.’ Me - ‘It’s 6a.m…..’

Once we have a child he'll be able to direct these conversations toward them and leave me alone while I'm trying to wake up…..kidding! But, I am really excited to watch him share all of his interests - in science, space, politics, music, art, math, and so much more - with our child so that they grow up yearning to discover more!

Stephen is selfless and patient and always willing to support any idea I have, from my silly Halloween decoration plans to serious career moves.So many of his old students keep in touch with him because of how much he supported and encouraged them. I know he will be the same as a father.

Gina

I was born and raised in a super small village in Southern Illinois. By the time I was five I knew I wanted to move to a big city. I have one brother, Joey, who is three years younger than me and is one of my best friends. Growing up we were always outside playing - building forts in the woods, snuggling the barn kittens, searching for Indian beads in the gravel roads. When we go home to visit he will be right there to explore with our child as he is still a big kid!  I can’t wait to explore the world  with our child - all the little things…..making ‘rivers’ in the sandbox, teaching them how to gently pick up a lightening bug to watch them flash, showing them where to place their feet and hands when climbing a tree. We’ll make our own play-doh and slime, watch the bowl of bread dough rise in a sunny spot on the counter, and draw pictures of whatever silly creatures come to mind. I love crafty projects and can’t wait to foster the imagination of a child!

Stephen

I was born in a small clinic in the mountains of Papua New Guinea. There was a small earthquake just minutes after I was born and, true or not, I tell pretty much everyone that this was because the earth trembled at my birth. My childhood was filled with adventures including close-encounters with snakes and bird-eating spiders. I’ve run from crocodiles and wild boars, and had close calls with sharks. There were tribal wars and days-long treks through the jungle or exploring streams and rivers. I returned to the States for university and earned a degree in Elementary Education.  20 years later, my passion for encouraging and supporting children as they explore and experience the world around them is as strong as it was when I started. 

The experiences I have gathered continue to influence many aspects of my life. I wouldn’t change them for anything.  And while I do not wish for my own child to ever have to run for their lives from wild boars, carefully walk around poisonous snakes, or race down rumbling volcanoes to safety, I do very much look forward to sharing adventures with our child through hiking, camping, and traveling or through reading and talking about books together. I can hardly wait to nurture her or his natural curiosity and to encourage a sense of adventure and as she or he grows!

Our Family

Gina’s family has a home out in the country on several acres of land - room to run, explore native wildflowers, hike through the woods, and listen to the quiet of the countryside with only the buzzing of insects and songs of the birds. Her parents still live in her childhood home and so many aunts, uncles and cousins live nearby. This baby will be the first grandbaby for Gina’s parents and her mom is simply dying to spoil them already!

Stephen’s family are world-travelers - they’ve lived in Papua New Guinea, Thailand, Senegal, and Madagascar, among other places. His sister currently lives in Dubai and one of his brothers lives in Jamaica. His parents now live only a 15 minute drive away from us in Chicago and are semi-retired but used to travel for work to Pakistan, Liberia and Vietnam, as well as other countries. This will be the only grandchild in close proximity and they are looking forward to being a part of their lives as they watch them grow. Their apartment is like a museum with all the things they have collected on their travels and they love to share their stories with their grandchildren.

Our Home

Our home is bright and open with lots of room for playing! We always have music on - everything from obscure Indie songs, classic rock, and rap to Disney tunes.

We love our neighborhood - there is always sidewalk chalk art and kids playing in their front yards. We are so lucky to be best friends with our neighbors on both sides! We love the city - the zoo, getting to see performances, all the different foods, the parks and museums, exploring different neighborhoods, public transit, the graffiti, and all the opportunities for learning and exploring our child will have.

Travel

Stephen got to do a lot of traveling with his family growing up and Gina was always dying to travel! Together, we have explored some amazing places and we can't wait to bring along a little one to introduce them to the sights, tastes, and sounds of the world!
 

Fun facts

Gina
  • I love seeing World’s Largest objects and will travel out of the way just to visit them!
  • I love trying new food, especially stinky cheeses!
  • When I'm obsessed with a song I'll listen to it 20 times in a row!
  • Growing up I always wanted to be “that” house on Halloween and, since buying our home, have created bigger displays every year. This year I began building my decorations in March!
  • I love to come up with creative ways to prank my brother.
  • I love to use exclamation points when writing!
  • My favorite tv shows are ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’, ‘Arrested Development’, and ‘Seinfeld’. I’ve watched all the episodes hundreds of times!
  • I became an ordained minister online and have officiated weddings for three of my friends!
Stephen
  • I’ve been to every continent except Antarctica and to countries that no longer exist.
  • Butter chicken is my favorite Indian dish.
  • I love being near or in big, rugged, wild, majestic mountains.
  • My perfect day involves a good book, a warm blanket, a comfortable couch, snuggles, and rain.
  • As a child, I once served tea and biscuits to a cannibal.
  • I love the smell of cedar.
  • Most of the movies I own are sci-fi, which makes sense since from the time I was a little boy I’ve dreamed of going into space.
  • I enjoy writing goofy little poems for people.

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 use this form or 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.