BC: The End
FC: "Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real." VELVETEEN RABBIT by Margery Williams | The Journey of a Growing Family
1: Chris & Elizabeth | Over seven years and counting ... Sharing a love that grows more and more each day!
2: Hello, We are Chris, Elizabeth and Lily ... a family of three, excited to get to know you and the child you are carrying. We can only imagine the emotions you are facing as you make one of the most important decisions you'll ever make - for yourself and this child. It's impossible to express who we are in these simple words in a few short paragraphs, but we hope within these pages you'll get a glimpse of the family you can envision welcoming the child you're carrying with constant support and unconditional love. Chris and I were 31 and 29 years old when we met in the summer of 2002. In early conversations we discovered how many times the paths of our lives had crossed previously, without ever meeting. Our grandparents and parents grew up within a short distance of one another - both with farming and factory work experience. We attended the same university, graduating two years apart. We even worked for the same company but in different cities. Chris had been an officer in the Navy and lived all around the world. After college, I lived in southern Ohio before taking a job transfer to Chicago. But not until we both "came home" to the Cincinnati area did we finally meet. We quickly figured out that we were meant to be together. We were engaged in six weeks, married in nine months, and settled in our first house in the year following our first date. The first year of our marriage was exactly what we wanted and need as newlyweds. We traveled from east coast to west (and places in between) exploring things that were made new to us again by sharing them with one another. We are both "planners;" we like to set time lines, check items off TO-DO lists and accomplish goals through hard work and dedication. Looking back, that's just how we expected life to play out. Work hard in school. Get good jobs. Meet that "special someone" and get married. Start a family. Then live happily ever after. At 32 and 30, by the time we were married, we were ready to jump into the HAPPILY EVER AFTER chapter. We were blessed to learn we were expecting our first child just short of our one-year anniversary, but unfortunate to miscarry that baby at twelve weeks. We mourned our loss, licked our wounds, and got to work on finding answers and making decisions on what would be next on our journey towards parenthood. We were referred to an outstanding fertility specialist who was very direct in telling us it might be a difficult road, but parenting was possible. With his help (a lot of science and countless prayers,) we welcomed our daughter Lily to the world in early 2006. We are grateful beyond words or imagination for the blessing of her presence in our lives. As a family of three, well SEVEN if you count our two dogs (Toby and Scarlet,) a cat (Charlie,) and Lily's goldfish (Goldie,) life is good. Actually, that's a HUGE understatement. Life's an adventure. It's not that we sail the seven seas or leap tall buildings in a single bound. But we do try to make the most of our day-to-day. We love to camp and do so with family as often as possible. We started out as tent campers - Lily made her first trip camping on Memorial Day weekend at 5 months old. She spent the majority of that weekend in a dish tub full of cool water or snuggled with Chris or me in the shade of a hammock to avoid the early summer heat. Since then we've upgraded to a pull behind trailer and marvel in the air conditioning and watch Disney DVDs, thinking back on the places we've been and ahead to the places we'd like to go. We're hoping to make a trip through Alaska in an RV in the coming years with Lily and our parents. What a blessing it would be to have a little brother or sister in arms too.
3: We travel whenever work schedules and budgets allow. We make two annual trips to the beach. One in February, when the weather is cool and perfect for enjoying long walks to hunt for sand dollars and star fish and the other beach trip in the heat of August when splashing in the ocean or pool brings smiles and suntans to everyone's face. We invite family and friends to make these trips with us as memories made with others are the best. Every few years we do a BIG FAMILY VACATION with Chris' cousins and their kids. This summer there were nearly 20 of us at the beach. Chris and I try to get away for a long weekend once a year too. Regardless of the destination - Boston, Denver, Nashville - it gives us a chance to reconnect outside of our day-to-day routines and Lily loves the extra quality time with her grandparents, aunts and uncles, and close friends. The benefits of living so close to family and friends make our decision to stay in Ohio a very good one. Of course, life is not all glamorous and carefree. Chris works for the federal government and spends time in three local offices. He's home most nights but puts lots of miles on the car and hours of sports radio in his ears. He believes in serving his country and does so through his work. (Bless him - I don't think I could deal with the commute or bureaucracy.) I work part time in a local business with caring and compassionate people who always make the days interesting. The flexibility of my schedule makes it possible for me to get Lily to preschool three days a week and have the other two days for housework, errands and most importantly FUN TIME. We are members of the zoo, the local amusement park and have lots of playmates to fill our free time. Most nights we try to make it to the dinner table as a family sharing the details of our days. Sometimes dinner is a roast with veggies and mashed potatoes, and sometimes it's frozen pizza! We live in the house Chris grew up in - just about a mile from where his parents live now. They decided, after 30 years, that they were ready for a different home which gave us a wonderful opportunity to build our own memories within the walls where so many precious ones already lived. That said, we've changed just about EVERYTHING other than the physical address to make their house, our home. There are four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a finished basement and a big yard. Lily's moved into her VERY PINK "big girl room" and is excited about what is now a spare room, returning to the nursery she remembers only from photos. Last spring Lily came home from preschool with what we're sure she thought was a simple request. She stated, without hesitation, "I want a baby sister and I want to name her Rebecca." I laughed and learned from her preschool teacher that they were working on a unit about families. (You see, Lily is a planner, much like her parents, but come on ... that's asking a bit much!) Oh how we wish it was as simple as wanting to make such a miracle happen. We've always planned to grow our family and we have talked about adoption numerous times through the years. We've been through the losses (one before Lily and two since) and the infertility treatments (obviously one successful cycle and more failures that I care to recount.) Going back down that path isn't right for us anymore. We know that God's plan isn't always the one you've laid out, but it's often times MUCH BETTER. And so, that brings us to today ... our hearts are not set on a "baby sister named Rebecca." We are ready to grow our family and welcome another child into our home and hearts - through adoption. We would be honored to be considered as the family you choose to raise your child. We pray that the days ahead of you are easier than you might expect knowing that the decision you are making for this child and yourself is the right one. Elizabeth, Chris and Lily
4: An Officer and A Gentleman | Christopher Origin: Greek Meaning: Bearer of Christ | Top Left: Techies Unite! Chris & our nephew figuring out their matching iPods on Christmas morning. Center: Chris was born on Guam while his parents were stationed there in the 1970’s. As a Naval Officer, Chris returned to Guam and served with the Naval Special Warfare Unit (front row/second from left.) Bottom Right: A great beautiful morning walk on the beach - full of star fish and sand dollars.
5: Top Left: Can you see the sleepiness in our eyes after a delicious Thanksgiving dinner? The first year we were married we TRIED to eat THREE dinners to please all the grandparents. We’ve never tried that again! Bottom: One of Elizabeth’s FAVORITE photos of Chris. Such a handsome husband, daddy & best friend! | Chris (through Elizabeth's eyes) Chris is the "thinker" in our house - always rational, objective and concrete. He doesn't make rash decisions or rush to judge. He observes, ponders and acts. These characteristics are what drew me to him initially and keep our bond so solid. It was Chris who first brought up the discussion of adoption, following the loss of our first pregnancy. I realized then that infertility was not a battle that would defeat our dreams to grow our family. Chris is my best friend, my source of strength and the man I want to grow old and wrinkly with.
6: ... memories made with others are the best! | Elizabeth Origin: English, Biblical Meaning: My God is a vow | Top Left: Elizabeth traveling through Southern France with her best friend the winter before meeting Chris. Top Right: Sarah, our exchange student from Germany, gave us a glimpse into the future of parenting a teenager. A growth experience for us all! Bottom Left: Elizabeth found a “Lil” Garden Fairy in Grammy’s back Yard. Bottom Right: Though Elizabeth’s not a huge sports fan, she does enjoy a sunny outing for a college football game with her dear friend, who happens to be her favorite aunt.
8: Lillian (Lily) Origin: Hebrew Meaning: My God is a vow | Top Left: Fashionista and Shoe Collector. That’s our Lily B! Center: This is the kind of snowman that results from snow that doesn’t pack well. Top Right: Climbing, Running, Jumping. Oh yeah. That’s what I’m talking about! Bottom Left: OH – IO. Go Buckeyes! Bottom Right: Spread your wings and FLY HIGH!
9: "Sweet Lily B" | Lily has a “tender heart” and loves to snuggle. She’s been an only child for nearly five years, and has come to think of our pets as her brother and sisters. She said the recently, “Mommy, if I had a baby brother or sister then Toby, Scarlet, and Charlie could just be animals.” | Lily goes to preschool three mornings each week. We spend afternoons and our days off doing fun stuff ... going to the library, visiting with cousins, having a play date at the zoo ... and much more! | One of Lily's favorite things to do is play at Grammy & Grampy's house. She spends mommy's work days there ... with lots of play time and love! Grammy just retired after over 45 years teaching kindergarten and preschool, so there's lots of time for learning too.
10: A family of three ...with room to grow!!
12: Top Left: We're blessed to add our family memories to those Chris and his parents have created in this home for nearly forty-years. Bottom Left: Elizabeth’s grandmother has passed down her Deep Dish Apple Pie recipe for years. Hopefully the tradition will live on for a long, long time! Bottom Right: The kitchen is Elizabeth’s favorite room in the house. Turning this into our dream kitchen really was a dream come true. | Home Is Where The Heart Is | When Miranda Lambert's song, "The House That Built Me" started playing on the radio, it was impossible for us to NOT sing along, because we do literally live in the house that built Chris. Chris' parents put lots of TLC and memories in these walls and we're blessed to built our own here too.
13: Top Left: Cold winter nights in front of the fire make for wonderful memories in the TV room. Middle Right: Everyone’s favorite seat in the house is in the middle of the couch, even Scarlet! Bottom: Elizabeth & her aunt put lots of love into the stitches of the handmade nursery bedding. | Soft lights, warm blankets and lots of soft cuddly LOVE fill the nursery. We're so excited to here coos and sweet baby sighs in the house again.
14: family ... family ... family ... family ... family ... family ... family ... family ... | Top Left: Elizabeth's Mom's wedding day at a wonderful old country home that serves as the setting of several of our family’s special occasions. Top Middle: Lily was named for her great aunt “Lil,” who we try to visit as often as possible. Top Right: Helping Chris’ parents serve food to the pilots for a regional hot air balloon festival. Middle Left: We’re pretty convinced this is how Toby and Scarlet spend most of their free time. Middle Right: Our early days of tent-camping have been traded for a camper and A/C. Ahhh. Bottom Left: This sunrise made getting up VERY early for our family photo. Bottom Middle: Doesn’t every family decorate a cake with neon icing for Easter?" Bottom Right: The Christening of Lily’s God-Sister. We are this niece’s God Parents and her parents are Lily’s God-Parents TOO.
15: family ... family ... family ... family ... family ... family ... family ... family ... | Top Left: We're blessed to have Grandpa & Grandma Great (Elizabeth's Grandparents) around at 93 and 91. Top Middle: Lily Posing with her Cowboy Cousin and Aunt T. Top Right: Lily adores her “dad-dad” one of her many nick-names for Chris’ dad. Clearly the feeling is mutual. Middle Left: Fourth of July Fun with all the cousins on Chris' side of the family. Middle Right: Lily was excited about our niece's first communion – mostly about the pretty white dress. Bottom Left: Feeding the fish at Aunt T's new house (there's a stream for rock-skipping and 40 acres to explore.) Bottom Middle: Can't you just hear them say, "CHEESE"? Bottom Right: Taking a quick photo with cousins from Tennessee who came up for a weekend of family fun.
16: Top Right: Regardless of summer heat or a winter freeze, the waterfall in Evergreen, CO is breathtaking. Center Left: Sweaters and hats are necessities for fall afternoons at our favorite amusement park - which is only 15 minutes away from home. Bottom Right: Who needs to actually hike when we’re camping, when you have perfectly good grandparents to carry you?!
17: Top Left: The Magic Kingdom really is the most amazing place for family fun. Grammy was all grins on the Dumbo ride. Center Right: Water wings are a thing of the past. Watch out mermaids. We're coming in! Bottom Right: Mommy gets in lots of R&R when we camp - because daddy's an excellent campfire builder!
18: Top Right: After over seventy-five years of marriage, Grandma & Grandpa Great have more than a dozen grandchildren who love them dearly. Top Left: Notice there’s no angel on our tree. Chris caught this one and was carrying her around the house. Bottom Left: A trip to the pumpkin patch for fall decorations. Bottom Right: There are always more treats than tricks when visiting Grammy & Grampy’s. | Holiday Fun
19: Feasts & | Top Right: Chris' mom is the best cook, baker, and all around domestic goddess we know. She even knew how to make mini-cupcakes look just like lady-bugs. Top Left: No one ever leaves hungry from a family meal at this table. Bottom Left: The big kids are more than happy to help the little ones hunt for Easter eggs. Especially after discovering their "special eggs" had cash inside. Only $5. The Easter Bunny has to cut back too. Bottom Right: Piling into the leftover boxes with Mimi's help is almost as much fun as unwrapping them. | Festivities
20: ... Faith, Hope and Love, and the greatest of these is | Love
23: Contact us through Adoption Connection Phone: 513-489-1616 email: firstname.lastname@example.org | Thank you for taking the time to get to know us through these pages. We are so excited to meet you! You are in our thoughts, our prayers and our hearts! Chris, Elizabeth & Lily