BC: Thank you!
1: Hi there. We are Simon (dad), Lysa (mom), and Aidan, and we are thrilled you're reading our family book. We took all of the photos ourselves and hope that this little book of ours gives you an authentic and complete picture of who we are individually and as a family. Thank you!
2: Pregnant with Aidan | OUR LOVE STORY. . . | Our Wedding Day (2006) | We met in 2001 at the University of Washington, where we were both graduate students in the English department. Lysa was working on her Ph.D. in Literature and Simon was getting his M.F.A. in Creative Writing. We quickly became each other's best-friend and fell quite easily in love! We did everything together and realized fairly quickly that our love was built to last. Six months into our relationship we decided to move in together and have been living together ever since.
3: Honeymooners! (2006) | Although we were busy with grad school and work and didn't have a lot of money, we had each other and enjoyed everything from hitting the town at night to reading quietly at home all day. We also had a lot of friends and kept a busy social schedule. We were in love, child-free, and in a vibrant Seattle neighborhood. | Now, one kid and several years later, we are undoubtedly a bit more tired, but having just as much fun! We feel blessed for all that we have -- most of all, each other. In fact, it's our love for each other and Aidan that has inspired us to build our family. We are ready to grow! | 2013
4: What Simon Loves About Lysa | I was in graduate school at UW the afternoon I saw my future wife pass by in the hall. I had met Lysa briefly a few weeks before, but had been trying to avoid new relationships I didn’t think I had time for. However, Lysa’s playfulness, intelligence and compassion were different. After only a few dates, I didn’t just fall in love, but dove headfirst into her embrace. I'm pretty sure her closes friends would agree with me when I say that Lysa just has a way with people that makes them feel immediately at home and valued. She always sees the best in people. She smiles at strangers and is always the first to volunteer her time and energy to those in need. She is one of the most compassionate people I know. As a mother, Lysa is warm, playful, patient, and strong. She works hard in her teaching and writing, yet at the end of the day what matters most to her is coming home to me and Aidan. I feel lucky to share the rest of my life with her!
5: What Lysa Loves About Simon | When I first met Simon I was struck by his gentle, attentive, and sensitive nature. I was smitten pretty much from the second I met him. Simon is that guy at a party who everybody genuinely likes. (And you will never hear him speak ill of anybody. Ever. That's just the way he is). Simon is laid-back, optimistic, quick to laugh, and downright kind. He is also smart as a whip and very intuitive. He definitely keeps me on my toes! Not a single day goes by that I don't thank my lucky stars for finding Simon, who is in my eyes the most amazing father and husband a family could ever have. Simon grew up without a father, but I believe that experience has has made him an even more devoted father (and husband). He truly appreciates the gift of fatherhood and lives to give Aidan the childhood he never had. I feel incredibly lucky to share in the joys and challenges of parenting with someone like Simon!
6: HOBBIES: Reading, photography, running, spending time with my family and friends; gardening; hiking and exploring the great outdoors. I also enjoy cooking healthy and tasty meals for my boys! Fun Facts: 1. I love science fiction novels and movies. 2. My dream job would have to be the person who gets to arrange the soundtrack for movies. 3. I once sat next to Michael Jackson at a NBA basketball game! 4. My favorite childhood pastime, hands down, was camping. 5. My heroes are my parents. | LYSA | English Professor
7: Hello. I was born in Southern California to a Dutch-American mother and a Mexican-American father. I have two younger brothers with whom I remain very close. They are awesome uncles to my six-year-old son, Aidan. My parents divorced when I was 10, but they remain lifelong friends. I grew up in Los Angeles. Yes, I saw movie-stars all the time. No, I do not miss it! I earned my Bachelor's degree at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where I studied literature and philosophy. My passion for learning eventually brought me to Seattle, where I studied at UW and earned a Ph.D. in English. My dissertation was on science fiction. Fun stuff! Seattle is also where I met the love of my life and started a family. I feel blessed to have gotten to where I am today. As a first generation college student, I've had an uphill journey, but one well worth it! I find that it's the simple things in life that make it all so worthwhile. Making pancakes on Sunday mornings; working in the garden; mentoring a student; reading to my son at night: these are the "little things" that make life stunningly beautiful. | Lysa's Story | I am an easygoing person by nature. I've been told I'm also quite sensitive. Mainly, my life revolves around my family and my work, which is perhaps true for most of us. All I know is that I love what I do (teach, write, think) and I love that at the end of the day I get to come home to my family. I hope to grow this family and have faith that one day I'll be able to do just that.
8: SIMON | FUN FACTS: 1. I love playing and watching basketball (go Celtics). 2. My dream job would definitely be to play point guard in the NBA. 3. I was raised by a single-mother and consider myself a true feminist. 4. I won a national poetry award right after college. | College Professor/Tech Writer HOBBIES: Reading, playing basketball, poetry, home renovation projects, being a good dad, husband, and aspiring Tai Chi expert.
9: Hello. I was born on February 20th in London. After I was born, my American mother and Irish father soon returned with me to my mother’s hometown north of Chicago. Within a year, they relocated to Boston, the location of my oldest memories. I have always excelled in school because I love learning! My elementary school offered advanced reading classes, gym classes and holiday celebrations, so I was more than satisfied. After a few years of adolescence and middle school, I attended a small boarding school in Connecticut. I went to Kenyon College for my Bachelor's degree. Kenyon, a small, private university was exactly what I needed: small class sizes and a nationally-known English department! It did not take me long to delve right into my studies and, as I did in high-school, I graduated with honors. | Simon's Story | For the first three years of our sons' life, I decided to work part-time so that Lysa and I could raise Aidan together. I was blessed with the opportunity to be a constant presence in Aidan's new life, watching him walk, talk, and become beautiful boy he remains today. This was special time for me. Each day I was there for Aidan, to care, comfort, guide and play with him was a chance for me to provide Aidan with what I lacked growing up: a loving father who was always there. I think growing up without a father has had both negative and positive effects on my life. I grew up feeling “different” and even sometimes ashamed of not having a father around, and I do not have access to an entire part of my family. Yet not having a father actually drives me to be the best father I can possibly be. I genuinely appreciate the opportunity to make up, in some indirect way, for what I missed as a child. Being there for my family is what it’s all about for me. I cannot wait to extend this compassion to your child and family as well. | My life after college was, in a word, international. After earning an ESL certificate, I traveled to both Greece and Taiwan, where I taught English for three years. I eventually settled in Seattle to pursue a Master's degree at the University of Washington, where I met, fell madly in love with, and married Lysa. It's also where I first became a father.
10: AIDAN | First Grader HOBBIES: Chess club, soccer, cooking with mom and grandma, reading at bedtime, play-dates with friends, and Wii ("screen").
11: Fun Facts about Aidan | 1. I was born on the hottest day of the year in 2006. 2. My middle name is Luke, but not because of Luke Skywalker. 3. By age 3, I could sing Bob Dylan and Stevie Wonder songs with my parents. 4. I won "most smiley-est smile" in kindergarten. 5. My best friend was born five hours before I was. 6. I love to read. My favorite book is called Peter and the Star Catchers. 7. I am a natural athlete. I think I take after my dad. 8. I can't wait to be a big brother! I want to sing to the baby. 9. I love playing hide n' seek. I like being the hider. 10. I love school and my favorite subject is "recess."
12: Our House & Neighborhood ... | Our neighborhood is the reason we bought our house. It's a charming, historic neighborhood with tree-lined streets and four parks. We live within walking distance of downtown, the beach, and one of the best schools in the district. In 2010, we built an addition to add a bedroom, bathroom, and larger kitchen. Our bright and cheery 3 bedroom/2 bath home has a fully fenced yard and a new bedroom that cannot wait to become a nursery. We have developed close friendships with other parents in our community and together we help one another with babysitting, play-dates, and providing support whenever it is needed. There are three multiracial adoptive families on our street alone. Your child will be surrounded by love at home and in our community.
13: Lysa’s family mainly lives in Southern California, where we like to go at least once a year to soak up the sun and more family. Her family is warm, generous, and thoroughly open-minded. | Simon's mom lives in Vermont and visits often. He also has a close uncle in Michigan and his favorite cousin lives in Portland, Oregon. | S | Lysa, Aidan &Grandpa (Lysa's father) 2010 | Our Extended Family... | Aidan and Opa (Lysa's stepfather) | Lysa & Her Mom, 2010 | Aidan & Grandma (Simon's Mom) | Whoever we are lucky enough to adopt will also enjoy a large and very loving extended family filled with lots of cousins, aunts and uncles, and good times! Our families are warm, generous, and always ready to laugh! | We love to travel and welcome the possibility of traveling to new cities and towns as we build an ongoing relationship with you and your family.
14: Our Family Lifestyle . . . | As university professors, we have summers off, which leaves us a bunch of time to visit family members on the east coast and in California. We also spend summers working on our house and yard, an ongoing labor of love to say the least! We like simple things: berry picking, barbecuing with friends, and free concerts in our neighborhood park. | As a family, we lead a simple, stable, and family-oriented life. Part of this is due to where we live -- Bellingham -- which is small enough to keep the traffic away but big enough to keep us busy, entertained, and fully satisfied. As much possible, we get outside: parks, trails, hikes, you name it. We live close to the freshwater lakes, the ocean, and the Northern Cascades, so getting out into the 'great outdoors' is both convenient and affordable. | We feel incredibly lucky to have the flexibility that comes with teaching full time and often fill our calendars up with various camps, hiking trips, and family road trips to connect with our extended family. We can't wait to travel even more through open adoption. Whoever we are lucky enough to adopt will enjoy a family-centered, simple lifestyle. He or she will grow up surrounding by much love, lots of laughter, close friends, and a supportive immediate and extended family.
16: Dreams for our children... | We believe that fancy cars and big houses do not alone bring happiness. So, while we are committed to raising our children with as much opportunity to succeed in life as possible, we also believe that inner-strength is of utmost importance to raising children. At least our children. We want our children to be comfortable in their own shoes. We want them not only to demonstrate compassion and generosity towards others, but also towards themselves. By providing a loving, accepting, and safe environment, we believe that our children will thrive and grow into well-rounded, confident, and compassionate individuals with much to offer others and the world around them.
17: Aidan on campus. | As teachers, we profoundly understand the value of learning. We see in our students how invigorating knowledge can be and we will always cultivate a love of learning at home. Our children will attend private schools up through middle-school because, as teachers, we've seen firsthand how incredibly important early childhood education can be in providing a foundation for growth and learning. We welcome, of course, any input you might have as well. | All parents want nothing but the best for their children, adopted or not, and we are no different. Through honest communication, unconditional love, and perhaps even hard work, we are committed to raising two very strong, healthy, and open-minded children. | We also make sure our children have time to play, be creative, and use their imagination. That's why, in addition to emphasizing academics, we also value the arts and expression. From art camps in the summer to private music lessons, our children will have ample time and opportunity to explore their passions outside of school.
18: It did not take long for us to realize that open adoption was the right choice for our family. Here's why: First, the birth family gets the peace of mind that comes with being in their child's life forever. We believe so much in this benefit of open adoption and therefore welcome a high level of contact. You deserve to know that your child is happy, safe, and secure. What's more, you get the chance to remain a permanent part of that child's life. Openness, because of this, strikes us as healthy, balanced, and natural. Second, the adoptive family -- that's us! -- gets the gift of life. We get to build our family by raising not just a second child, but by extending our hearts and home to you and your family. Again, this seems right, natural, and beautiful. Most importantly, though, is how open adoption benefits the child. The adopted child will never have to wonder who his or her birth parents are. He or she will grow up in an environment of honesty and openness, which we believe will strengthen the child's sense of self in unimaginable ways. Your child will grow up knowing that she or he was loved, honored, and wholeheartedly valued by both families. In our eyes, adoption is a decision inspired by the unconditional love of a mother who wants to do all that she can for her baby. We will keep your love for your child close to our hearts as we develop what we hope will be a lifelong, respectful, and healthy relationship with you and your family. | Why We Chose Open Adoption . . .
19: Thank you for taking the time to read our family book. We wish you nothing but strength, happiness, and clarity. Sincerely, Simon, Lysa, and Aidan