S: Mike and Amanda
BC: "Behold, children are a gift from the Lord...." Psalm 127:3
FC: Mike & Amanda
1: Dear Birthmother/Birthparents, Hi, our names are Mike and Amanda. We want to thank for taking the time to learn a little bit about us. Words can't express how excited we are and how privileged we feel that you would consider us to be the parents of the child you are bringing into this world. We can't even begin to imagine the depth of your love or the range of feelings that you will go through as you plan an adoption. We admire your strength and compassion for the decision you will make. We've realized that the best we can do is help you to feel who we are through our words and photos and let the rest fall into place. We will be praying for you and your pregnancy. So again, THANK YOU for taking on the this selfless act of bringing a child into the world so that we might experience the joy and honor of parenthood.
2: ABOUT MIKE (written by Amanda) Mike is 6' tall He is 39 years old and wears a goatee. His eye are Hazel He has black hair, or should we say had... Enough of that, here's more about him: Mike is the steady rock of our relationship. He is sincere, fun-loving and loyal. He may not be a man of many words, but his actions speak volumes. He takes things in stride and doesn't get too wound up, which is a nice balance to my more "excitable" nature. Mike loves a good baseball game, especially if it is the REDS. He is an avid collector and has a passion for toy tractors. Thank goodness he doesn't have a problem sharing. HA, HA! In all seriousness, I can't wait for Mike to teach a child about sports or to be able to share his passion for antiques. Mike keeps me on his toes with his quick wit, even if it is at my own expense. | Mike hanging with Colonel Sanders | Mike at a REDS exhibit | Mike with his best friend Jason
3: As a Husband, Mike helps to keep me grounded to what is important, our faith in GOD. He has led us to be more involved in our church beyond just being able to say "it's Sunday, we went to church." He volunteers with a men's group that does small construction projects for those in need and serves as a Deacon. Mike has a Bachelor's degree and works in sales. He only travels 3-4 times a year. He has a consistent schedule that allows him to be home at night for his family. His laid back style allows him to balance his responsibilities and being able to be emotionally available for his family. Mike is great with kids! As nieces and nephews have come into our family, I've been able to share in the joy of watching him in action. Whether he's tormenting our niece by pretending to not know the correct names of the Disney Princesses or rough housing with our nephews, it melts your heart to see that " they all love Uncle Mikey." | Mike working with Hope Builders Group | Mike playing with his Nephew
4: ABOUT AMANDA (written by Mike) Amanda is 5' 7" She is 40 years old and wears glasses. She has reddish brown hair and she has brownish green eyes like me. I love my wife very much and couldn't think of a better person to have spent the last 15 + years with. She is a very strong, dedicated and loving person. She cares deeply for her friends and family. She is a wonderful person that wouldn't hesitate to help a friend and she always thinks of others first. Amanda has a degree in Human Resource Management and has worked with the same company for the last 9 years as their H.R. Manager. Amanda loves to read. She reads a variety of books from mysteries to religious. She also likes to collect Precious Moments figurines and cross stitch. She loves to spend time with family, friends and our pets. | Amanda with her gal pals from college | Amanda with her friends from work | Amanda taking a creativity break at work
5: Amanda gets into a few crafty things like sewing and she plays the piano. While I don't know how much she really enjoys it, she is also a wonderful cook. We have had a wonderful marriage and now we are ready to share our love for each other with a child/children. Amanda and I have wanted to have a child for several years and we feel that GOD has led us to adoption. I have seen Amanda interact with not only our nieces and nephews, but our friend's and neighbor's children. I have no doubt that she will show our child all the love and affection that our child deserves. We are both very excited at this opportunity and look forward to the challenges and blessings this child will bring us! | Amanda with friends at a destination wedding | Amanda with her best friends at a wedding
6: FAMILIES ARE FOREVER
8: Our Marriage... Mike and I went to the same college, and we had a class together. We even crossed paths at a social function or two, but never gave it another thought. Mike liked to aggravate and tease and when the time came for me to find a date for my sorority dance, my roommate said, "why don't you ask Mike?" Some of the best advice a friend could have ever given! Mike and I went to that dance and soon realized we had so much in common. We even realized that we had a friend in common who transferred schools and that this same friend probably introduced us at a high school function years before. Who would have thought? Two years later Mike proposed! We had actually hit a rough patch, broken up for a bit and just gotten back together. We had plans to go to dinner, Mike let me drag him around the mall shopping and little did I know he had the ring in his pocket the whole time. On the ride home I noticed Mike was really quiet and I could see his mouth moving, but the words weren't coming out. When I asked him what was wrong, he asked "where can we pull over?" We stopped on the side of the road and the next thing I knew he was down on one knee. Tears streamed down my face as Mike told me how he searched and asked others the perfect way to propose, with that I said yes! We were married in April of 2000. We had all of our friends and family crammed in the little white church where my parents married. We took a honeymoon in Aruba and set out to start our family. We both had jobs, great family and friends, a bright future and each other. We were ready to make our own story!
9: Mike and I will soon celebrate our 15th anniversary. We've already made some great memories together. We've taken a few trips to places like Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Vegas for our friends wedding. We've even taken a road trip with friends to watch a Monday night Steelers football game. We're not perfect and don't claim to be. However, we have learned that together with the Lord's guidance we will be o.k. The best thing about our relationship is that we accept each other for who we are, faults and all. We've found that some of our happiest times are those simple moments when we have a good talk over dinner, manage not to kill each other while we paint the kitchen...ha, ha so, it's these simple but meaningful things that we can't wait to share together with our child as parents. We want to teach them the value of hard work and how love can make that hard work seem like play! WHY ADOPTION ? Like many couples, we spent those first years of marriage enjoying each other and building our relationship. There was never any question that Mike and I wanted children. We've tried to get pregnant since 2006. Then, in 2008, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. So, we had to back up and punt to figure out what our options were. During this time, we've explored some fertility treatments, had more set backs when my illness got in the way, and while we could do more in the way of fertility, we decided that that wasn't what GOD had in store for us. We CAN NOT wait for our lives to be forever changed by becoming parents!
10: Home Where Your Story Begins | Our Dog, Junior | Our Cat, Boo Boo Kitty
11: We've lived in our home for just over 10 years. We have a 3 bedroom/2 bath home that sits on a corner lot. We recently added a bonus room. We knew that we had to make room for one more, maybe more, but we didn't want to move. We enjoy our neighbors and now we have a new elementary school for grades Pre-K through 6 just down the street. We have room to grow where we are at. We live in what is considered the county, but we are just minutes away from the local Mall, restaurants and local attractions that our town has to offer. Having both grown up on the farm, we love animals. While I don't think the neighbors would appreciate cows and pigs in the back yard, we do share our home with two other furry creatures. Junior is our German Shepherd. He was a gift to my husband for our anniversary one year. Boo Boo Kitty is our rotten cat. She was a stray who appeared on our doorstep one day and decided we were worthy to be her pet parents. While we don't have a nursery decorated, we did choose to leave one of our bedrooms empty after the addition of our bonus room. We knew that once GOD blessed us with a child, we wanted to have a room ready and waiting to be decorated for that special Boy or Girl. While we spend our weekends close to home, we do frequent Chick-Fil-A and we can't wait to take our little one for a Saturday treat. We also want to share the fun of visiting the local Orchard to pick pumpkins and take a visit to the local dairy for home made ice cream. YUM!!
12: Mike's Family... Mike's parents are very active and keep themselves busy. His dad was raised on a farm and he has farmed his entire life. His mother is a retired school teacher. She now helps his dad raise beef cattle. They are both very active in church, the Gideon's and jail ministry. When they aren't farming they enjoy trips, going to auctions, flea markets and babysitting grandkids. Mike has two brothers. One older brother who is married with two children. He and his wife have a boy and a girl. His other brother, who is younger, is married and they have two boys. Mike's family lives close, even some of his extended family is only a short drive away. We are fortunate to spend time together for anniversaries, birthdays and Christmas. Everyone is excited for Mike and I to become parents. Our niece and nephews would love to have another cousin to play with and his family can't wait to make more memories and share their love with another child. | CHERISH | CHERISH YOUR FAMILY FOR THEY ARE YOUR TREASURE. A STOREHOUSE OF RICHES. WEALTH BEYOND MEASURE. | ____________________________________________________________
13: Our Niece and Nephews | Celebrating Mike's Grandparent's 60th Anniversary | Mike's Grandmother's, 90th Birthday Party
14: JOY | Amanda's Family... My family is small but close knit. My parents separated when I was in my twenties. Unfortunately, my relationship with my father has dwindled but I am very close to my mother and the rest of my immediate family. My mother is a nurse and she has been doing what she loves for over 40 years! When she's not nursing, she manages our family farm. However, I know that she is patiently waiting to pour her heart into taking care of her first grandchild. My mother has two sisters and since I was an only child, I am more like the fourth sister of the group. Like Mike's family, my family lives within about 30 minutes of Mike and I. We are able to celebrate birthday's, Christmas and everyday life with each other. I also cherish my grandparents on my Dad's side. They have always been so loving and caring of me my whole life. My family is very loving and can't wait for Mike and I to be parents. We just want the chance to share the love our family has to offer. We want them to learn about the life on a farm and about what family means to us and how to care for others.
15: IT'S NOT WHAT WE HAVE IN OUR LIFE, BUT WHO WE HAVE IN OUR LIFE THAT COUNTS. - J. M. Laurence | Amanda with her Granddaddy | Out to dinner with Amanda's Mom, Aunts & Uncle | Amanda with her mom on Mother's Day | Amanda taking a "selfie" with her Grandma
16: Faith | Mike and Amanda's Church | Mike and Amanda enjoying food and fellowship with their small group
17: We attend a local Baptist church and have been going there for about 7 years. We both grew up in small community churches that were very traditional. We had heard a lot of good things about our church and decided to give it a shot. Despite the large size of the congregation, at close to 2000, we didn't feel like just a number in the pews. We spent some time just attending on Sundays, then we slowly branched out by completing membership class and then getting connected with a small group. We share and grow with the friends that we've made. We get together at each other's homes once a month for fellowship and of course, food! More importantly, we can lean on each other and learn from each other to strengthen our faith. One of the families in our group has 6 adopted children and they are such an inspiration to Mike and I. Our church has so much to offer and so much that we have been able to be a part of . We've helped host block parties with games and treats for the area children in the summer, a trunk-or-treats event that often reaches over 1500 lives, and our church has an incredibly strong emphasis on missions. We are able to send around 25 groups across the world in the course of a year. Mike and I are part of a welcome team that helps at special events and we greet students every Sunday who attend the College class. Mike has taken part in a yearly Mission trip to New York to help with construction projects and we just recently took a 6 week class to learn more about the Bible. We LOVE the message of our church, the out reach and can't wait to share with our child the love that GOD has for us all.
18: Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength; loving someone deeply gives you courage. - Lao Tzu | Mike taking a "selfie" with his Niece and Nephew | Amanda holding her friend's new baby at the hospital
19: Our Parenting Style... We plan to do our best as parents, but what does that look like? We know that we will have to learn as we go, but we believe that we have a foundation to start with, taking from the things that our parents taught us. Love, respect, humility, discipline, hard work and a good sense of humor are some of those fundamental building blocks that we will use with our child. In the beginning, we will have to establish trust, just like in any new relationship. Then, we will have to balance wanting to give our child everything and allowing our child to learn some of those life lessons along the way. However, if we can build that trust, our child will know that we will always be there to catch them when they fall and lift them up or to cheer them on when they need it. We want our child to experience life but to do it with purpose. We will expose our child to sports and music, but we will also encourage them to follow through on their commitments. We will practice discipline with our child. Our hopes would be to utilize a teaching method to discipline and to balance acting out of anger. We can't wait to go Trick of Treating and maybe watch "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" or to start making memories of the first letter written to Santa. No matter what the occasion, we will start to make memories and create traditions for our child to cherish. Birthdays, special projects with Dad or doing things that only Mommy does best are just a few of the things that we will share with our child. We will provide our child with an education and support them in following their dreams. We will find a balance that allows for quality time and fun. We will also share with our child, the strength and love that their Birth Mother has for them to take such care to have a plan for them. We want our child to know who they are and how they came to be in our care. We will partner with our agency to provide updates that the Birth Mother can access when the time is right for her. At the end of the day, we know that our lives will be turned absolutely upside down as we take on parenthood, who are we kidding, but we know that if we keep our faith in GOD and share that with our child , they will have no doubt that they are LOVED far beyond what any thing or any amount of money can provide.
20: Live well, laugh often, love much
21: Why Adoption? Although we mentioned the subject earlier in the book, we thought we'd explain more of why we are choosing adoption to grow our family. When we got married, we never imagined that having children naturally would be a challenge. However, we soon realized it wouldn't be that easy. We took some easy steps to figure out what might be going on. Was everything ok?, that sort of thing. At first there were no concerns, so we kept on kept trying. Then, life happened. I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in 2008 and we had to put things on hold to get my health under control before I could even think about carrying a child. So, fast forward to 2011 and we began to seek medical help with pregnancy again. However, we knew the clock was still ticking and we had to choose between natural child bearing or my medical stability. As we left the doctor's office Mike said to me " I don't know about you, but I would rather give a child a home that needs one than waste our efforts and risk something happening to you..." I looked at Mike and knew that he was right. We decided then, that adoption was the path for us. We've still had a few bumps along the way and can't begin to know what it feels like for a mother to make the choices you are making, but we are excited to be parents!! We will love this child fiercely and with GOD leading our faith and with the support of our family and friends we will show this child how to love and keep them safe and happy.