S: Chris & Jen
FC: Chris & Jen
1: Hi! We are Chris and Jen. We are excited to share a little bit about ourselves throughout this book.
2: We’re grateful that you’re considering us to adopt your baby. We know this is a difficult decision for you, but, at the same time, it shows your tremendous courage and selflessness to choose a loving home and bright future for your child. We tried to pick details and photos that would help you know us the way our family and friends do – as a loving, happy, adventurous couple who are dreaming of sharing a lifetime of love with your child. We have always wanted children. Due to Chris’s adopted brothers and sister, since early in our relationship, adoption has always part of our family plan. Both of our families and friends are excited for us to start our family through adoption. Our parents worked very hard to raise us and make sure that we had all the love, knowledge and happiness to make our lives successful. Their example is what we want to bring to our child. We plan to teach the value of integrity and respect while making sure that our child knows about you and the compassion you displayed in making a choice for his/her future. As part of that lesson, we will journal the experience and build a memory scrapbook so that our child will always be able to fondly look back at the experience. Because Chris has such a large family, for years, we have discussed how we would parent our future children. Like my mother, I would stay home with the kids and ensure homework is completed correctly, drive to/from sports practice and, along with Chris, attend each of their performances and events. We have waited a long time for children and we want to ensure that they know they can depend on us and that we’ll always be their loudest cheerleaders.
3: We both hope to raise hard-working, empathic children who value education and develop lifelong curiosity and a yearning for cultural discovery. We believe that it is important for kids to become involved in charitable work from an early age and see how their actions – or inactions – affect others. Our dream is that our children also experience multiculturalism firsthand. That is why we will ensure our children volunteer with us and that we take international family vacations so our kids can further value their circumstances. Our minds and hearts are focused on the day when we can bring a child into our lives. We have a comfortable home with a large basement/playroom that leads to a spacious backyard so there’s plenty of room for our child to play, explore and grow. We cannot wait for the time when our child fills these rooms with toys and laughter. We look forward to reading a bedtime story each night and the little footsteps as he/she runs up and down the hallway with cousins and friends. Of all the journeys we've taken, none is more meaningful than adoption - a journey that starts with a caring and generous birthmother like you. You will always hold a special place in our family. -Chris and Jen
4: I am lucky to be married to my best friend. Chris has an infectious love of life - a certain quality where everyone who meets him loves him. His larger than life personality, sense of humor and beautiful smile are part of that magic – coupled with the fact that he never takes himself too seriously. He is always making people laugh! Being a CPA, he is also a financial smarty-pants, so he makes sure that we can enjoy the “good things in life” while remaining secure in our future. Chris is the kindest person that I know. He is always ready to lend a helping hand and spends his weekends assisting friends and family with home repairs. He is also very supportive of my dreams to travel and volunteer. For example, I found a street dog in India that was protecting her pups from a group of men. Chris not only ensured my safety, but also the safety of the dogs by relocating them. Chris has a strong personality and always stands up for what he believes in. His big heart and caring nature are what I love most about him. Chris enjoys taking things apart to give them “turbo” power, skiing when we visit our friend’s mountain home and experiencing all of the adventures that life offers. He has cliff dived in Jamaica, climbed coconut trees in Fiji and zip lined in Haiti. Along with his natural curiosity and zest for life, he has so many admirable qualities that it would be impossible to express in a few short paragraphs. I am so happy that he is by my side for this wonderful experience, and I can’t imagine a man who will make a better – or more loving - father. | Chris (by Jen )
5: Jen (by Chris) | Jen has always been a quirky, fun, loving woman with a beautiful smile. She possesses an amazing determination and drive when she is passionate about something. Her greatest loves are our two wonderful pups, Baci and Ruby, and B movies. Over the years, Jen has been fortunate to travel to see different parts of the world and experience new cultures. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, working out and taking dance classes. She has a BA in Public Relations. Her career has included working for a top-tier PR firm, being the Communications Manager for an international children's educational company and her current position as Marketing Manager for a special needs, pediatric fitness organization. Her ultimate goal is to be a stay-at-home mom while taking the occasional part-time contract assignment to keep her mind sharp. Whether walking our two pups or driving down the street, Jen is the first to stop for a lost animal or one that she feels is not being treated properly. Over the years, she has devoted quite a bit of time to the local Humane Society, spending Saturdays comforting rescued animals or helping to raise money for the shelter. She believes that everybody (humans and animals alike) deserves love and respect, and, the more you give of yourself, the more love you get in return. As a mother, I have no doubt that Jen will give all of herself to raise a child.
6: Winter 1996 We adopt Baci. | Our Story | We have been married for 8 years and have been best friends for 15 years. We met at a friend’s restaurant opening - Chris’s friend from high school and Jen's college friend from American University. Although we shared the same circle of friends for many years, until that night, we had never met. We have been inseparable ever since. After Chris graduated from Towson University, he moved back to the D.C. area to be closer to Jen and his family who live in Prince George's County. Now that we were living in the same area, we were able to spend more time together and less time commuting between Dupont Circle and Baltimore. This gave us the opportunity to have fun - hike Swallow Falls, watch the leaves change color in the West Virginian mountains and play with our dog, | Fall 1996 We meet. | 1999 Chris graduates.
7: Baci - while planning our future together. During this time, we decided that we wanted to buy a house nearby our families and we began to research neighborhoods For the next few years, in between Chris's tax seasons and Jen's planning media and community events for McDonald's, we bought our current house, spent time with our families as they helped us landscape and we traveled. It was on one of our trips that Chris proposed in Nags Head, NC. That next day, our friends drove 8 hours to say, "It's about time!" and celebrate with us at the beach - the same friends who were with us when we met at the restaurant opening 7 years before and the same friends who joined us 6 months later on our wedding day. | Spring 2003 We're engaged! | Fall 2003 Our wedding. | Today Still in love. | 2002 Our house.
8: Our Wedding | We were married just days after Hurricane Isabel hit the DC area in 2003. Although we never dreamed of having a candlelight church ceremony at 1pm in the afternoon, the power outage in the region helped make our wedding even more romantic. The outdoor wedding reception was a slightly different story. Our reception was held in a tent on the grounds of a historic home’s horse pasture. The morning of the wedding, Chris and his friend had to clear fallen trees from the site. After the wedding, because of the hurricane, there was no electric for our Reggae band to play so we parked Chris’s Jeep and our friend’s SUV in the mud by the tent and tried to simultaneously play a CD from both cars.
9: Although many couples would have been mortified, we consider our wedding to be perfect. It is a true representation of us. We joke that if we can weather our wedding apocalypse (storms, power outages, and bees) and laugh, we can make it through anything together.
10: Welcome to Chris's Family | Chris comes from a large family. He is the last of 8 kids and has more than 20 nieces and nephews. On his mom's side, he is one of 54 grandchildren and, on his father's side, he is one 18 grandchildren. I cherish our large family get-togethers. | Today and Years Ago
11: Chris as a kid | Every year, I run a charity 5k with my niece & her friend. | I spend a lot of time with my niece and nephews. | My Godson, Ryan, and I at his First Communion. | My parents at their 50th wedding anniversary.
12: Jen's Family | Jen with her mom and grandma | Jen playing with her niece, Gracie | I had a very happy childhood with my parents and grandma attending all of my ice hockey games, dance recitals, science fairs and school plays.
13: Mom and dad making a gingerbread house | Weekly family dinner at Vellegia's in Little Italy | My parents and grandma never missed a sporting event, academic induction or a performance. For this, I will be forever grateful. | Jen as a kid
14: I think dogs"are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role models for being alive. -Gilda Radner | Ruby 10 years old Lasa Apso Mix | Our family would not be complete without our two little pups - Baci and Ruby.
15: Baci 15 years old Shih Tzu | We “adopted” Baci at 10-weeks-old when she was barely the size of Chris’s hand. Always one to be pampered, Jen used to carry Baci around in her shirt pocket. Now weighing in at a whopping eight pounds (although she LOVES to eat), she enjoys take naps by the fireplace. Ruby joined our family a few years later when we rescued her. Ruby is a puppy-at-heart whose favorite activities are lying on the couch with her stuffed pumpkin and giving kisses to anyone showing her attention.
16: Family Traditions | In summer, we go to our town's annual Fourth of July Bike Parade and Labor Day Parade. | Each summer, our families gather for crab feasts. | We have brought together the best traditions from both of our families. And, we look forward to creating new family traditions with our child. | For Halloween, we enjoy creating a haunted graveyard in our front yard, and Baci and Ruby love to dress up to greet the trick-or-treaters.
17: Christmas is a special time of year at our home. We love to decorate the house with lots of outdoor lights and a large, decorated tree. Chris and his mom make the family's generations-old Eggnog recipe. And, both of our families attend Christmas Eve mass together to watch our nieces and nephews participate in the living nativity.
18: We love to travel and learn about new cultures. Jen went to college in Italy and has visited 5 of the 7 continents. Chris has traveled throughout Europe, India and the Caribbean. It is important to us that our children experience different cultures and obtain global views.
19: Helping Our Community | Volunteering is an important part of our lives. and will be instilled in our children. We believe that thoughtful, committed people really can change the world. | We like to cook breakfast for families living at Ronald McDonald House. | Jen spent her sabbatical in South Africa volunteering at a rescue center for endangered animals. | Chris spends his free time mentoring with Junior Achievement. | Each year, we supervise the silent auction for the local Humane Society's gala."
20: Jen's Favorites | Food - Fishers Carmel Popcorn Movie - Christmas Vacation TV Show - So You Think you Can Dance Hobby - Not Carpentry Band - Bob Marley and the Wailers Football Team - Redskins Summer Activity - Trips to the Beach Winter Activity - Snowball Fights | Chris's Favorites | Food - Fishers Carmel Popcorn Movie - Shawshank Redemption TV Show - MythBusters Hobby - Carpentry Band - Linkin Park Football Team - Redskins Summer Activity - Family Crab Feast Winter Activity - Skiing
21: In our spare time together, we like to go to Redskins games, outdoor Reggae and Blues concerts, and go with our friends to their vacation home in the mountains.
22: Top 10 Reasons Why Our House is Perfect to Raise a Family: 10) Our Montgomery County neighborhood hosts annual children's activities - including a Fourth of July children's bike parade. 9) We have fun, young neighbors with kids and lots of pets. 8) We live within walking distance of 4 playgrounds, 3 parks and the neighborhood pool. 7) We're a block from a Maryland Blue Ribbon elementary school. 6) So, we can walk our child to school each day. 5) There is lots of room in our house to expand our family. 4) Our home has a large backyard with a swing set that Chris handmade for our nieces and nephews. 3) We are lucky to live near 5 of Chris's 8 biological and adopted brothers and sisters, 2) Our child will have almost 20 cousins to play with after-school and on the weekends. 1) We celebrate all of the major holidays and our house hosts many of the family dinners.
23: We have a comfortable home with a large basement/ playroom that leads to a spacious backyard so there’s plenty of room for our child to play, explore and grow. | The Swing Set Chris Handmade | One of the Parks By Our House
24: The Lighter Side
25: In everything we do, we make sure there is a lot of laughing and smiling. We surround ourselves with friends and family who have the same appreciation for the simple things in life. We live by one rule... Never be embarrassed to be yourself.
26: A Final Thought From Us: For both of us, there is nothing more important in life than family. There is no doubt in our minds that we will love and adore a child more than life itself. Our greatest happiness will come from raising a happy, healthy and cherished son or daughter. Thank you for taking the time to get to know us.