We are Jess and Emily and we are a very happy, married couple who have been together since 2004. Though people often talk about sports bonding people, we didn’t know how true this was until sports actually brought the two of us together. We owe the sport of soccer a lot, as we met when we were both coaches for the same soccer team. Ever since that fateful fall season, we have been inseparable. In 2009, our own little team was made official; we were married in a beautiful ceremony surrounded by our amazing friends and family. Shortly after that, we knew we wanted to add another tinier member to our team. We are both blessed with unconditional love and support from those in our professional and personal lives and our support systems were instrumental in our decision to become parents. So, with their support, we adopted our daughter, Olivia, in the fall of 2013. Now we are hoping to expand our team further and adopt a second child, which is why we are writing to you.
We feel blessed that throughout our relationship we have continued growing closer as our life goals have evolved.
Early in our relationship we enjoyed travelling (from exploring or skiing on various mountains in the winter, to relaxing on beaches and hiking trails in the summer). Though we have become a bit more frugal in order to afford certain life goals, such as our first home and our beautiful wedding, we have done so with the same amount of excitement and passion.
In 2009, we were fortunate enough to spend our wedding day with 80 of our closest friends and family. It was an incredible day that we will never forget. To be able to celebrate our love with the people we love most is something we feel incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to experience. It does not hurt that it was also a lot of fun!
Emily on getting to know Jessica:
Jessica and I met as coworkers at a university close to where we live now. Through coaching with Jess, I learned that she epitomizes the role of a team player. She allows herself to be inspired and motivated by other people’s successes and she can easily lead others to follow her example. From our first encounter to now, Jess has inspired me to be a better person. While we are no longer coaching together, as I have moved on to another college and Jess is working for her family’s business, we look back at our five years of coaching together very fondly. Most importantly, however, the same values that we once worked to instill in our athletes still hold true for our family. We know that a relationship built on honesty, accountability, and hard work really does foster a successful and positive environment. Just as we are sharing these values with Olivia, we hope to share these family values with your child if you choose us as his or her adoptive parents.
Jessica on getting to know Emily:
Emily and I knew of each other as college athletes from rival schools, but we didn’t officially meet until we began working together. I feel very fortunate that I was able to get to know Emily through this environment. Emily is a successful college coach and I was able to be a part of that part of her story for five years. In our years coaching together, we were able to become the most successful soccer coaches in that program’s history. Working toward that common goal was an amazing way to allow our relationship to grow. Coaching beside Emily really allowed me to see how passionate and invested she was in the future of all the college athletes we were coaching. Emily has a great way of inspiring and challenging others that really instills a great deal of confidence in each individual. While we miss coaching together, we are grateful that our jobs allow us to be home during those early, formative years of a child’s life. We are excited that this means we will be able to see our adoptive child’s milestone moments, from their first steps to their first words, as they grow.
We live in a coastal New England town, which is conveniently located next to a bike path, playing fields, and numerous playgrounds. While we are home, most of our time seems to be spent in our kitchen and living room. Our kitchen island is the perfect place to share our love for cooking or allow Olivia space to get creative with coloring, paints, or Play-Doh. Our home has evolved through many childproofing stages and from that we’ve maintained a large open area in the heart of our living room, offering us plenty of space to let our imaginations run wild. In addition, we love our suburban town, appreciate the diversity it offers, and are excited to raise our children here.
We both hail from large immediate, and extended, families and we love the idea of adding another little member to our family so we can grow. Emily is one of five kids and is very close with her three brothers and one sister. Jess is also extremely close with her twin sister and her older brother. Each of our siblings has at least one child, so, in all, we currently have thirteen nieces and nephews (and that number is still growing). While our siblings, parents, and ourselves all have our own parenting style, we are all bonded by two values; family and love. Because of these values, we all get together for holidays, camping trips, and lots and lots of birthdays. We are excited to hopefully add another birthday party to the list, your child’s birthday, if you select us to be your child’s adoptive parents.
Two integral people in our lives are our mothers, the “Grammys.” When we told these two special women of our desire to adopt again, they immediately joined in our excitement. The happiness Olivia expresses when she knows a grandparent visit is on the horizon is overwhelming and a joy to see. Whether they are teaching the grandchildren how to bake cookies or taking a trip to the beach, these experiences are all greeted with the patience and excitement that only women with 30 plus years of parenting could have.
As parents, we are dedicated to the bonding process during the younger years and we are eager to make the time that this beautiful experience requires. Emily’s work schedule as a college coach is very flexible during the fall and winter months; this allows her to spend a considerable amount of time at home (and means free college tuition for our children!). Jess currently works a flexible schedule with her family business and is able to reduce her workload to be home more in the first years. We feel fortunate that our schedules allow at least one of us to be at home each day, if not both, during the first year.
Summers are a magical time for our family. Because Emily has a nine month work schedule (with summers off) and Jess’ job is flexible, we are able to really stop and focus on what is important to us during those warm months; our family. When we think about family, we automatically think of Jess’ family home on Cape Cod. Summering on the cape is a tradition that has been in place since Jess’ childhood and we feel incredibly grateful that our family has this environment to share with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins each summer. The family home sits just steps away from a quiet bay where we make daily trips. From navigating the beach terrain in their early walking stages, to jumping over the waves, searching for crabs at low tide, or learning how to swim, the Cape Cod Bay is the perfect place to watch a child grow. We hope that one day soon we will be able to bring another child, your child, with us to continue this family tradition.
Emily on Jessica’s Family:
There has been no better way to get to know Jess’ family then by actually spending summers with them on Cape Cod. The words to best describe Jess’ family are genuine and caring. They are big huggers, but they don’t just give any type of hug. They somehow make this everyday interaction extra special with their sincerity. Getting a hug from them is like being surrounded in a glowing, warm embrace of love and support. I admire how freely they show their appreciation for each other and I know our children will always gain a lot from this environment.
Jessica on Emily’s Family:
Becoming a member of Emily’s family has allowed me to realize the chaos and excitement of being one of five children. Emily is very close with her three brothers and one sister and their bond shines through when we all get together. Each of Emily’s siblings has been blessed with a tremendous sense of humor and this has been their tool to show acceptance and really bring each other’s partners into their family. I know they will bring this same love and acceptance as they welcome another child into our family.
As lesbian parents, we’re aware, first hand, of how difficult facing discrimination can be. While we know we can’t always protect our children from the judgements of others, we feel very strongly that our schools and community must foster an environment of acceptance, so our children and others can focus on learning, playing, making new friends, and growing as individuals. We may not be mirror images to our children, but, as parents, we will work tirelessly to make sure there are other positive people in our lives who can be mirror role models for them.
Our family and friend groups are diverse and made up of various types of relationships and family units, from same-sex couples, to interracial and adoptive families. Within our larger community, we have surrounded ourselves with people of many cultures and ethnicities as well. From the teachers who care for Olivia, to our doctors and co-workers, we have made a conscientious choice to make sure our children have the opportunity to grow up learning that our world only works because it is full of so many different and amazing people. Therefore, with our community’s support and guidance, we feel confident in stating that we are comfortable raising a child of any ethnicity.
Along with having the support from family, friends and community, we feel fortunate to have found a preschool for our daughter that also shares our values and our dedication to diversity. Though Olivia is Caucasian, we chose her school largely due to the racial diversity of the student body and the school’s mission to create an environment of inclusivity. We are grateful for the kind and thoughtful environment they provide and plan to provide that same opportunity to another child.
Our Road to Parenthood:
In 2011, two years after we were married, we began the process of building a family. We began the journey through the use of donor sperm. After a miscarriage and many failed pregnancy attempts, we found ourselves at a crossroad, either pursue more drastic fertility treatment or go another path. From that moment on, we knew in our hearts that adoption was the path we were meant to take. We have not looked back. Now we spend every day thankful for all it has given us already and all we hope it will bring us in the future.
Emily on Jess as a Parent:
Jess really doesn’t sweat the small stuff. Whether it’s a little dirt on an outfit before school or some impromptu puddle jumping, Jess always keeps a healthy perspective: the dirt was to come eventually, that day it just happened before 9 am (it doesn’t hurt that we also haven’t encountered a pair of sneakers that can’t recover from a day of puddle stomping). What’s most amazing about Jess’ perspective, though, is how it transcends to the rest of our family. When life brings stresses it doesn’t take long for Jess’ composure to offer a calming effect. Even in the midst of the most frantic toddler tantrums, I can see our 3-year-old’s stress dissipate with Jess’ calm touch and a good dose of her positive reassurance. I know she will bring the same tranquil energy to anything parenting a second child will bring.
Jess on Emily as a Parent:
Ever since the day I first met Emily, she has always exuded a “carpe diem” (seize the day) approach to life and as a parent she takes on the same role. As a result of Emily’s influence, Olivia has had many fruitful experiences, be it a quick trip down to the water to end a summer day with a swim or never hesitating to coming with us on the annual College Coaches Conference in Disney World. Emily makes the most of every moment and I’m excited to watch her show another child how to live life to the fullest.
Our Feelings about Adoption:
It’s hard to describe the excitement we felt when we first began pursuing adoption. The anticipation of meeting a new little person to share our love with is like nothing else. To put it simply, adoption feels overwhelmingly “right” for us. In putting together this letter and starting the adoption process again, the same resurgence of excitement has sprung in us that occurred during our first adoption. While we have traveled this road before, we also realize that navigating the world of parenting, especially parenting a child who is adopted, is a lifelong journey. We take this responsibility very seriously and constantly seek out new opportunities for us to grow and learn through online education, books, and peer-support.
A great resource for us in particular has been our good friend, Derek, who was adopted. Hearing about Derek’s journey and seeing the amazing man he has become has been incredibly helpful and inspiring. Along with helping us see how wonderful the adoption experience can be, by sharing his story, Derek has also shown us the importance of having an open adoption. Derek’s adoption was a closed adoption and as a result Derek has no connection with his biological family. Though Derek has identified many reasons why this has been difficult for him, most prominent has been his inability to learn of his biological family’s medical history. Derek is a parent of two, our two godchildren, the oldest of whom was born with a congenital heart defect. Because Derek has not been fortunate enough to build a relationship with his biological family, he is unable to look to them for information that may help him better understand his own son’s condition. While Derek has worked to come to terms with this, his journey has helped us to realize just how important it is for any child, particularly an adopted child, to have some sort of knowledge of, and connection with, their biological relatives.
While Derek’s situation has highlighted for us the importance of an open adoption for the purpose of health information, we understand the benefits are actually much greater. We believe fostering the connections between a child and their birth parents also allows them to have greater sense of self. It allows a child to grow up fully understanding where they have come from and it surrounds them with more people who love them in thought or in presence. For these reasons, and the hundreds more that would take too much room to list, we are open to keeping connected with you in whatever way feels most comfortable.
Thank you for considering us as adoptive parents for our child. We are extremely grateful that you are exploring this option and that you are considering placing your child for adoption with a hopeful family such as ours. Throughout this letter we hoped to bring you comfort and peace in your decision by showing you how much unconditional love and support we, and our whole family, are ready to offer your child. We admire the courage you are displaying by weighing all of your options and we are grateful for this opportunity to share a little bit about ourselves.
Thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit about us. If you would like to learn more about us or speak with us please contact Full Circle Adoptions at 1-800-452-3678.
Emily & Jessica