S: Paul & Jen: Our Adoption Profile
BC: ...all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. psalm 139.16
FC: Paul | Jen
1: Lily, Paul, Jen & Liam a family eager to add one more
2: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. | Jeremiah 29:11
3: Dear Birthparent, | Thank you for taking the time to get to know us. We are grateful for your desire to consider adoption, and while we cannot imagine how challenging this process could be for you, please know that we pray that God would give you wisdom and strength as you make choices for your child. We believe that children are a blessing from the Lord and very much desire to grow our family. We were blessed to adopt our son Liam almost three years ago. Our biological daughter Lily was born just over a year later. Our two children are a source of joy, amazement and blessing in our lives. We desire to have more children. We are pursuing adoption partly because it is not clear if another pregnancy would be safe. But also, and more importantly, we have been grateful to see how adopting has taught us more about God's love for us. We have been so blessed through adoption and believe that the Lord has called us to this ministry as a way to care for children in need of families. We have created this book to help you learn about our family, our home, our values, and how we hope to parent our children. We hope that through the pages of this book that you will learn a little more about us and the kind of life we would love to provide for a little one. | Paul and Jen
4: We met at church in January 2003. Paul had just returned from military duty in Afghanistan. Our mutual friend (one of Paul's roommates) introduced us and played matchmaker until we were dating. We lived two blocks from each other and had many mutual friends who were a blessing to us as we began spending time together. | Our Story | O U R W E D D I N G | We were married at our church in March of 2004. We were so blessed to have many family and friends present to celebrate with us! | E N G A G E M E N T | Paul proposed after a wonderful visit to the West Coast when Jen got to meet his entire family. We celebrated with an engagement shower in Missouri (where this picture was taken).
5: T H E F I R S T 5 Y E A R S | We enjoyed our first five years of marriage as we made our home and set down roots in our church. We traveled whenever we could for anniversaries, vacations, or if Paul's job required travel. We took trips to Philadelphia, Amish country in Pennsylvania, the Grand Canyon, The Pacific Northwest, Tampa, Napa Valley, and the Caribbean. | We desired and felt called to have children, but found unexpected difficulties. After praying and seeking God's leading, we were delighted to adopt our son a week after our fifth anniversary. Adopting has given us a deeper appreciation for God's character, who "has predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ," as the Bible says. | One year after we adopted our son, God blessed us with our biological daughter. We know the Lord providentially authored our family story and have been overjoyed to grow our family both through adoption and pregnancy. We now have an active ministry in our church counseling couples struggling with infertility or considering adoption.
6: Family Background | Paul grew up in the Pacific Northwest and moved to the East Coast for college. He was raised by his Dad and wonderful step-mom as a family of seven! He is close with his step-family and we are grateful for the example we have through them of loving and being loved by family we are not biologically related to! We are also blessed to now have a relationship with his biological mother. In addition to being thankful for a restored relationship, we hope that this experience will give us a greater sensitivity and tenderness to our children when they have questions about their biological family. | Jen is a Missouri girl. She grew up surrounded by loved ones and her parents did an incredible job raising her with a strong sense of family and community. Despite the distance, she remains very close to her family, and is practically inseparable from her sister and nephews. We travel to Missouri regularly to visit, and we have started taking vacations together with her sister, brother-in-law, and nephews to places like Colonial Williamsburg, Great Smokey Mountains National Park, and (hopefully someday) Disney World. We make a fun, loving, and noisy bunch! | Paul, age 2 | Jen, age 5
7: with Grandpa Dave | Missouri family | with Aunt Juli & cousin Jayden | with MeMaw & Pop in Washington, DC | spring time with Aunt Gigi & Uncle Frank | with MiMi | with Grandma & Grandpa! | a visit from Tio Daron and Tia Alaina from NYC | With Oma (German for "grandma") Lisa | Jen's side of the family | a fun visit to Kansas with the cousins, always lots of laughter
8: I was immediately attracted to Paul's calm spirit, intellect, ambition, and patience. He is very even-tempered and processes life through the facts, yet he does this with compassion and gentleness. He is a man of wisdom, and I am blessed to benefit from his advice and leadership! He is a more amazing father to our children than I ever dreamed! He is eager to play with them, patient and consistent in the way he instructs them, and utterly delights in their happiness Paul has his PhD and is currently a professor specializing in international relations. He enjoys teaching Sunday School at our church and volunteering in the nursery. He loves being outside and he's an avid reader who especially likes the classics, history and biographies. | About Paul, by Jen
9: 6' tall, slim build, brown hair, brown eyes Favorites: snack: pita chips and hummus dessert: brownies movies: Lord of the Rings book: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt hobbies: hiking, reading, watching films, taking the kids to the zoo. Most embarrassing moment: Paul was so nervous on our first date that he spilled coffee all over himself and ruined his shirt. Little known trivia: Paul was the Northwest Regional Semifinalist for the annual Nintendo gaming championship in 6th grade. | Quick Facts
10: About Jen by Paul | Jen is joyful, wise, and beautiful. I was attracted to her smile and her eyes; I fell in love with her for her steady character and her wisdom in the face of trial. Jen taught middle school for several years. She now writes curriculum and helps train Sunday School teachers. She counsels a number of women in our church and organizes our church's yearly ladies Christmas tea. Her favorite creative outlet is cooking, much to my great enjoyment. Jen was born to be a mom. She is a natural teacher and it is wonderful to see how our children respond so well to her instruction and nurturing. She is an amazing mother.
11: A few notes on Jen 5'6", blonde hair, blue eyes, Favorites: snack: chips and salsa or apples dessert: anything chocolate! movies: Top Gun, Elf and Enchanted book: To Kill a Mockingbird hobbies: cooking, shopping, reading Embarrassing Moment: After I walked her home after a date one night, she was too busy looking back at me and walked right into the door frame! Silly Trivia: Jen's first job was cleaning bathrooms at a preschool. Ewww!
12: favorite snack: cheese & pretzels favorite toy: musical instruments Favorite animal: anteater favorite phrase: I'm hungry, Mommy! What he's like around younger kids: Liam is unusually sweet-hearted toward younger kids and is very protective of them. | extroverted, joyful, verbal, funny, and compassionate | Liam is
13: favorite snack: yogurt favorite toy: baby dolls & stroller favorite animal: porcupine!! favorite phrase: Oh my goodness! What she's like around younger kids: she's very curious, nurturing, and tender. She likes to pick out toys and find diapers and pacis for them. | observant, adventurous and bold, nurturing, a snuggler, sweet spirited | Lily is
14: living life as a family
15: We love to spend time together! Jen is a full time wife and mom, and loves looking for new activities for the family to try together. Paul's job as a professor and writer allows for a very family-friendly schedule, which means the kids enjoy several hours of playtime with daddy before bedtime. Our weekends include some sort of family activity, fellowship with friends, and church on Sundays. We're thankful to live in an area with so many rich family resources! You might find us at a family event at our local community center, at a nearby park feeding ducks, visiting sites during a day-trip to nearby cities, or at a local farm picking in-season produce. | Though they get along most of the time, they do have the occasional, normal sibling squabbles!
16: Our Home & Community | Though we love the convenience of living in a metropolitan area, we enjoy the quiet neighborhood with established homes and thoughtful neighbors where we make our home. | The kids love playing at the local park where you can find lots of mature trees, safe playground equipment and plenty of friends. We are also thankful to have a room in our home dedicated to play and learning. Lots of books and fun toys make it a favorite room in the house.
17: We own a four bedroom, three bath house with a large fenced-in back yard and a finished basement. There are three wonderful parks within walking distance of our home, and we have many friends and neighbors near us with young children. Our community has an active parent organization, and our week is filled with many opportunities for playgroups, community activities, and learning opportunities. The kids have lots of friends nearby, and Jen has great support with lots of other moms around.
18: Our Traditions | We love finding things that we can look forward to doing together as a family each year. Here are some of our favorites! | We love celebrating! For milestone birthdays, we have a big party. For other birthdays, we do a smaller family party with a homemade angel food cake with "prizes" hidden in the center. It's a tradition Jen's great-grandma started decades ago. | Many of our annual traditions revolve around God's good gift of food! In the spring, we plant a garden, and through the summer and fall we enjoy visiting local farms to pick fruits and vegetables. | Lily's 1st birthday bash
19: Christmas is an extra-special season for us as we celebrate the birth of Jesus. On Christmas morning, we eat orange danishes. This is a tradition that we got from Liam's birth family. It's special for us to know that we are doing something that she has enjoyed in her family. We also sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and eat cake! | Enjoying a family hike. Liam helping with spring planting in the yard. | Each year we decorate a gingerbread man, a tradition from when Paul was little. | Apple picking in the fall.
20: Thoughts on Raising Children | Our own brothers and sisters have been an important part of our growing up and part of how God has taught us important lessons in life. We have always desired for our children to have siblings and we are excited to welcome a little brother or sister into the family. | We believe that wise parents should provide consistent and loving discipline, which helps children flourish, grow with confidence and mature. We recognize that there is a balance: discipline should be firm, but the Bible also warns parents against embittering their children, which is why we believe we should never discipline in anger. | We both value education and hope to see our children succeed in school with the gifts God may give them. We want to encourage our children to work hard at school, while recognizing that success will look differently depending on interests and abilities. We also hope to teach our children that work is a blessing and that it is a normal, necessary part of life. A good work ethic is a way of honoring God and succeeding in life. We both grew up doing small chores to help around the house and took jobs in high school and college to prepare us for the world of work. | Siblings | Church | Hobbies | Education | Discipline | Just as our own parents encouraged us to pursue interests and hobbies, we hope to help our children find extra-curricular activities that they enjoy. We are eager to support them in their interests, be it in dance classes, music or art lessons, sports or drama. | We hope to raise our children to know and love God. We belong to a loving church community with a vibrant children's ministry. We recognize that we cannot compel them to believe anything -- only God can truly reach their hearts -- but we hope to shepherd our children toward the Lord that they might have faith in Him.
21: We believe it important to share with our children that God has different ways of building families. In our family, he used marriage to start building the foundation. And then, He used both adoption and a biological birth to add to our family. It has been important to us to emphasize that God is the author of each of our stories. We believe that he is working for our good and His glory in the way he has established our family, and we want our children to be reminded of God's goodness to us in bringing us all together. We also want our child know his or her story from the time they are very young. We started sharing with Liam about his adoption from the day we brought him home. We think it is important to have a healthy relationship with our child's birth family. This looks differently in different circumstances. We have a semi-open relationship with Liam's birthmother, which is a blessing for all of us, especially Liam. We have minimal contact with his birthfather. We respect his preference to limit contact to letters and pictures on occasion, and because this is our mutual decision, we believe that this is also a healthy arrangement. | Talking about Adoption
22: We appreciate you taking the time to get to know us through this book. For each of our children, we create a "life book" to help them learn more about how God brought them to our family. We want your child to know about the love and sacrifice of their birth family, we want them to see the joy we feel about adoption, and we want them to grow in confidence that the Hand who wrote his or her story is working for good. | Thank You