S: Tory & Andrea
FC: TORY & ANDREA
1: Dear Birth Mother, It's impossible to put into words how we feel. We don't know you or the path that brings you here. We don't know whether this has been an easy decision or excruciatingly difficult. But we know that you are making a decision that will bless your child and a family forever. As adoptive parents, we know first-hand the indescribable depth of gratitude that we feel for our son's birth mother. Whether you choose an open or closed adoption for your child, he or she will always know what a selfless person that you are. We will forever be grateful for the choice that you are making. With our sincere and humble gratitude, Tory and Andrea
2: HOW WE MET by Tory | Andrea and I met at college in Hawaii. We were in the same church group, and I noticed her because she was always laughing and smiling. I wanted to be around her because of how happy she always was. (She still is!) We started dating a short time later, and 10 months after meeting, we were married... and we're still in love! We celebrate our 16th anniversary this year. | Having a family has always been important to us. It was something that we talked about when we first started dating. Tory came from a large family. I didn't--I have one sister--but I wanted to raise a large family. Early on in our marriage we hoped to be parents to six children. But our plans (as so often happens) didn't work out as expected. | HAVING A FAMILY by Andrea
3: CHANGE by Tory | It took us two years to get Riley (our oldest) and it took time to get Marissa. Andrea was finally diagnosed with a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome, and we learned that conceiving would always be very difficult. Then I was diagnosed with cancer. After surgery and radiation, I am, thankfully, cancer free. But due to the the cancer treatment, we realized that it would be unlikely, if not impossible, for us to have additional biological children. | We knew our family wasn't complete yet, so we began the adoption process with eager hearts. Matthew joined our family shortly after that. Our experience has confirmed that Matthew (although he came to us in a different way) was always meant to be part of our family. He has enriched our family beyond description. We continue to feel that our family should grow. With hearts and a home full of love, our greatest hope is to adopt again. | DECIDING TO ADOPT by Andrea
6: Andrea has a vibrant personality and loves the people around her. She loves serving her family, friends, and others in the community. She enjoys running and has participated in several half marathons, a full marathon and a ragnar relay. Another of her hobbies is travel. Her passion for travel has spread through the family as we have visited places like Florida, Mexico, Washington D.C., Colorado, and California. | Andrea | (by Tory)
7: Mom | While Andrea has many hobbies, she considers mothering the most important work she does. She is a dedicated stay-at-home mom. She attends every school function and extracurricular activity. Andrea is proud of our kids and wants them to feel confident in their accomplishments. She encourages them to do the things that they are passionate about and to do their best in all that they do. She knows each child well and values their individual personalities. Our children relish her love and attention. They spend a lot of their time at home telling her about their day, their friends, and their activities. She loves children, and she looks forward to adding another child to our happy family!
8: Tory has lots of titles. He's a physical therapist. He's an active volunteer at church and in the community. He's an athlete. Tory has many roles and touches many lives. But he treasures his roles as father and husband over the others. As a husband, he is attentive. He makes sure that we go on dates and take vacations as a couple. As a father, he is so fun! I've never put a coffee table in our living room because that is the wrestling zone. Ever since our kids were tiny, they have had fun wrestling and play fighting with dad. Matthew often hands Tory a plastic light saber and says, "Dad, you be Darth Vader; I'll be Yoda!" | TORY (by Andrea)
9: Tory does even ridiculous things for our kids. At our daughter's 8th birthday party, Marissa and her friends dressed him up and put make-up on him. His goal is to make sure everybody has fun (and did they ever)! Tory is dedicated and involved. He makes sure to spend one-on-one time with each of the kids--sometimes long weekends. Just recently he took Riley on a hunting trip. He attends every sporting event, every dance recital. He anxiously anticipates the arrival of another child he can play with and love.
10: Riley is, in a word, energetic. His favorite pastime is playing on the trampoline (doing front and back flips) and playing outside with his friends. He's an active athlete. He's been involved in lots of sports including: -soccer (He has played since he was very young, and he's excited to try out for next year's high school team!) -track (His main event is the mile which he runs at 5:57.) -football (He tried it this year, but decided there was too much standing around.) -gymnastics (He quit last year because you just can't do it ALL.) Riley is naturally good at most things he does, and that includes school. As an eighth grader, he takes accelerated classes. He also regularly participates in the annual science fair, and he always enters with a fascinating topic. One year he made a hairspray bomb (with mom's assistance, of course). Last year he researched the efficiency of biofuel versus petrofuel and qualified for the regional science fair. He's an excellent big brother. He's a friendly tease. He loves playing what he calls "wrestle smashdown" with Matthew in the living room. | RILEY
13: For right now, Marissa's life centers around dance. It has been fun to watch her come into her own as a dancer. She loves lyrical dance. She also studies tap and jazz. She recently participated in a national dance competition. The competition itself was an excellent reward for her all her effort and practice. She is a great helper. Marissa helps set the table before dinner, washes the dishes, and occasionally completes a really huge summer chore (like cleaning the garage). She loves babysitting. When friends come for dinner, she insists, "I'll watch the kids!" And they play in the living room or the backyard while we parents visit. Marissa is a natural nurturer. For several months while Matthew felt too shy to go to Sunday School alone, he went to class with Marissa. She placed him on her lap and helped him listen until he felt comfortable enough to attend his own class. She still lets Matthew sleep in her room when he feels scared of the dark. She can't wait for another baby to join the family. If asked, she'll say she wants twin girls (together, they'll finally outnumber the boys in the family)!
15: Matthew is an incredibly determined child. He was born with cerebral palsy, and shortly after we adopted him (he was still in the hospital for several weeks after his birth) the doctors informed us that he would never walk, talk, or feed himself. But they were wrong. Matthew has overcome every odd. He went through nearly every illness and complication that premature babies experience, and yet has surpassed all expectations. With a brace, he walks and runs and jumps! He's physically slower than other kids his age, but he doesn't let that discourage him in the least. Matthew is bright. Contrary to his initial prognosis, Matthew speaks perfectly and his pre-reading skills are at or above his peers on almost every level. His fine motor control is delayed, but the gap is closing. Feeding himself has never been a problem. Part of the reason that Matthew has done so well, we believe, is because of his patience. He will keep trying and trying and trying. Sometimes we are ready for him to quit before he is! His favorite things to do are: RUN, play Batman, get launched on the trampoline by Dad, and ride his bike. He really enjoys school and looks forward to attending an integrated kindergarten class next year. He wants to be a big brother like Riley, and hopes for a boy AND a girl.
16: Matthew's Adoption | When we first completed our adoption paperwork, we had counted on the standard 1-2 year adoption time. We were shocked to get a call from a social worker within two weeks! She said, "We have this baby. He was born 12 weeks early, he's had some surgeries, but we think he's doing alright. Would you consider him? Pray about it and let us know." We felt the answer was an immediate yes! We learned that his brain and lungs weren't fully developed, his heart had a hole, and his little body suffered all sorts of other complications. But when we prayed about Matthew, it was obvious to us that he was meant for us. | We told the social worker that we wanted the birth mother to see our profile. The next day the social worker called and said, "The birth mother has chosen you. Can you be here tomorrow?" We packed our bags and made the drive to Albuquerque as early as we could. | That morning, when the social worker took us to meet him, we just fell in love with him. When we got custody, he was 4.5 pounds. You could hold him in one hand. The nurses set him in my (Andrea's) arms because he was covered in wires that were monitoring his vital signs. He had tubes breathing for him and tubes feeding him.And he had these big, bright brown eyes that seemed to ask, "Where have you been?!" It was just love at first sight for all of us.
17: We got to meet Matt's birth mother at the hospital. She came with her grandmother and they met our kids. I think she was a little scared. And we were a little nervous because there is just no way to express the gratitude that we have for this woman. We were (and still are) so grateful to her for knowing that her child needed more than she was able to give. | We have an open adoption. Matthew's birth mother has come to our home to visit us. She has rights to call although she doesn't often. For the first year of Matt's life, we sent pictures and letters every month. Now, according to the adoption agreement, we send them on Matthew's birthday and at Christmas. Matthew's great-grandmother occasionally comes to visit. It's special to us that we have a relationship with Matthew's biological family because it reminds him that he has two families who love him deeply. We would love to pursue another open adoption again because our experience has been so wonderful.
19: AND COMMUNITY | We live in a small town with diverse outdoor activities, great parks, and fantastic schools!
20: Family Fun & Travel