Hello, we’re Jen and Ryan!  Thanks for taking time to get to know our family better.  We can’t promise a perfect family, but we do promise to always be open and honest with you, and that we will give everything we have to providing for and nurturing our family, as it hopefully expands through adoption.

We’ve built a beautiful life together filled with laughter, love and friendship for the past 17 years, and we’re eager to add a child to our family so that we may share our happiness with a little one. Often, we dream about sharing life’s little moments with our baby, going to the park and hearing the laughter as they play. We look forward to make these dreams a reality.

We hope this profile gives you a better idea of what life is like in our family.  Since the day we met, we have wanted to have a child to love, support and nurture, to witness their growth and to share in his or her life.  We are extremely excited about the possibility of adopting and devoting ourselves to raising a well-rounded, happy and healthy boy or girl.

A Little about Jen, by Ryan

Jen is the love of my life.  I am consistently in awe of her incredible strength and commitment in life, and she has, without a doubt, the biggest heart of anyone I know.  She grew up in a single parent household and had to do a lot of things on her own at an early age, always helping her mom to clean the house, cook and do laundry. Her grandpa was really the first father figure in her life, and along with her grandmother, really helped teach her what a loving marriage looked like.  Some of her favorite memories are going on family road trips with her mother, stopping for ice cream and sightseeing all over the Midwest.

A Little about Ryan, by Jen

My husband is the most loving, patient and caring person I’ve ever known. I knew when I met him that he would be a wonderful husband and father. He grew up in a small town in Ohio in a family of 4.  His parents were very involved in his childhood with his mother staying home to raise Ryan and his older brother.  His dad worked full time, but always made time to be with his sons, even coming home during his lunch break every day to spend time together.  Ryan’s upbringing was filled with camping, family gatherings, art projects and woodworking, which eventually led him to become an architect. 

Our Relationship

One lucky day in 2000, we met each other over lunch with mutual friends and have hardly been apart ever since.  Together, we’ve shared a loving relationship built on trust and commitment to our family, friends and dreams.  We were married in 2003, moved to Chicago in 2005, and all the while supported each other through grad school, careers, and the ups and downs life can throw at you.  We were both raised with strong Christian values and morals, we value education and plan to instill those same principles in our future children.  We are committed to providing them with every opportunity that we can, to live meaningful and fulfilling lives.

Our Family Life

Our family life is filled with holiday gatherings, family visits and celebrating each other’s achievements. Holidays are very special in our family. It’s time for relaxation, reflection and for connecting with our loved ones.  We catch up with each other during board games and over holiday meals we prepare as a family.

We enjoy Thanksgiving Pie Night the most!  After our Thanksgiving meal with our immediate family, we get together with the extended family for a dessert party, where everyone brings their favorite pie and we swap recipes and stories late into the evening.

At home, we have an adorable orange tabby named Niko that we adopted 9 years ago. He is a huge part of our family and often a source of entertainment doing playful things around the house. He’s a gentle soul and loves to cuddle every night.

Our Parenting Plans

We both strongly believe that time spent together is the most important part of child care plans.  We’ve seen the benefits of involved parents in our own lives and can’t wait to recreate the special moments and traditions we hold dear from our own upbringing: reading bedtime stories, exploring the outdoors and playing together on snow days.

We know we don’t have everything figured out yet, but we’re committed to giving everything we have in raising our future children.  We both work full time now, but Jen is excited about staying home during the first few years to help raise our future child.  We look forward to joining local adoption play groups to make friends with similar experiences. We hope to extend the creative sides of our design jobs into family activities: drawing, art and crafts.  We are absolutely committed to raising our future child according to the positive set of values that helped to shape who we are: honesty, compassion, and doing the right thing.

Our parenting philosophy is to provide unconditional love and support for our future child, to celebrate all that life has to offer, to give them room to learn make a few mistakes and learn from them, and to always be there when they need us.

Our Home Life

Our house is a reflection of who we are: cozy, warm and inviting. We enjoy entertaining friend and family and gather in the kitchen for most of our meals. We are looking forward to pulling up a high chair to the counter and sharing our day with each other and our future child. Meals together are a strong and important tradition in our family.

We love the cottage style of the house and the big backyard perfect for soccer games and croquet.  Ryan has also put his architecture skills to work, helping to renovate and modernize the home.  It’s been a labor of love, but a place we’re glad to call home, and one to which you’ll always be welcome.

Our Neighborhood

We found a great first home in Highland Park on a quiet, tree-lined street with many active families and children.  There’s a park and playground one block away which we walk to often, meeting neighbors and enjoying the peaceful surroundings.  The neighborhood even has an ice cream truck in the summer – a tradition we both grew up with and hope to continue with our future child.

Hobbies and Interests

We both love to bring our creative side into our hobbies and activities.  Jen loves to bake, and actually ran her own business for a few years selling treats of all tastes and sizes at local markets and online.  She also enjoys crafting projects, especially metalworking, stamping and beading which she uses to create her own unique jewelry.

As an architect, Ryan loves drawing, sketching and painting, often capturing the scenery and landmarks while we travels.  A couple years ago, we combined our baking and architecture talents in a gingerbread house contest and won first place!  We can’t wait to dive into school art projects with our future child, craft some jewelry or bake treats together.

Fun and Adventure

Life is about family, friends and not taking things too seriously.  We’re fortunate to have a lot of family that lives nearby and great friends to share the good times with.  We still love to jump into some karaoke with friends or create costumes for Halloween.  Trick-or-treating with our future children will definitely add to the fun.

We also love to unwind, watching our favorite shows or exploring the outdoors.  We’re not hardcore hikers by any means, but we love finding peaceful spots to go bird watching.  We’ve spotted over 120 species already!

We love to travel to experience different cultures and see the natural wonders that make each place unique.  We’ve visited most major US cities and Europe once, but we really look forward to sharing those travel experience with our whole family.

Openness and Love

We fully embrace the Cradle’s philosophy on open adoption and the benefits it brings to everyone involved in the process.  Our future child will have questions, the knowledge of who their birth parents are is crucial to share with them at an early age so they will fully understand their origin story. 

We plan to introduce the topic of adoption to our future child early on, reading books, meeting other adoptive families and sharing their own adoption story over time.  We truly believe this approach will be crucial in helping our future child understand their roots, strengthening our family, and bring everyone peace of mind in knowing firsthand how the child is being cared for.

This is also something we want to figure out together with the expectant parent.  We want to always have open lines of communication, whether quick texts, emails, visits or all of the above.  Like any relationship, we will shape it together and allow it to evolve as our future child grows up.

Thank you for considering us as adoptive parents. We hope we can meet soon and learn more about each other.

With love,


Fun facts

  • Jen looks forward to planning birthday and holiday gatherings with friends and family. She makes custom table settings, like teepees at Thanksgiving or Oktoberfest pretzels, making each event special.
  • Jen makes time to meditate each day, to help relax and unwind.
  • Jen loves shopping for and listening to old vinyl records. She has quite a collection including John Lennon, Dolly Parton and Graham Parker.
  • Jen likes to make, and eat, homemade pizza. She has mastered the perfect dough.
  • Jen has a green thumb and loves growing fresh herbs like basil, parsley and thyme. She uses them in a lot of her recipes.
  • Combining their baking and architectural talents, Jen teamed up with Ryan in a gingerbread house competition and won first place.
  • Jen is always up for watching a John Hughes movie: Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club.  You name it, she’ll bring the popcorn.
  • When Ryan met Jen, we was helping to design the church that they eventually were married in.
  • Ryan’s first date with Jen was a day spent together at the Toledo Zoo.
  • Ryan enjoys nature walks and has photographed over 130 bird species
  • Ryan loves to eat Jen’s homemade pizza. 
  • Ryan played piano throughout high school and eventually wrote a song he performed at a recital.
  • Ryan enjoys woodworking and has made several furniture pieces for the house, including an end table, bookcase and kitchen millwork.
  • Ryan is always up for watching his favorite movie, The Princess Bride.
  • Books on Ryan’s nightstand:  Astrophysics for People in a Hurry, Game of Thrones, The Space Within: Inside Great Chicago Buildings

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?

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