S: Marlon and Jennifer
FC: Marlon and Jennifer
1: Welcome! Our names are Marlon and Jennifer. We would like to thank you for taking the time to get to know us and for considering us as an adoptive family. We hope this book gives you a sense of who we are and we hope it shows how very much we want to be loving parents. We met when we were teenagers, and it was love at first sight. After three years of being inseparable, | we got married on the anniversary of our first date at the same spot that we shared our first kiss. We've now been married for 19 wonderful years, and we are still each other's best friend. We both grew up in the suburbs of Virginia and now live in Queens, New York. Marlon's enlistment in the US Coast Guard brought us to New York City. We fell in love with the city and decided to make it our home. We still spend lots of time visiting our families in Virginia and North Carolina; we truly feel we have the best of both the city and the country. Family is so important to both of us. We enjoy spending many holidays, vacations, and special occasions with our parents, siblings and extended family. We are a close and supportive family, and have many wonderful memories of times spent together. We bought a little piece of land in the Carolinas that's near our parents. We hope to build a vacation home on the river there some day. We also have a great group of friends that are like a second family to us here in New York. | hello
2: We like to travel and love being outside doing things like camping and biking. Visiting Marlon's brother, Joe and sister-in-law, Stella in San Francisco is one of our favorite places to go. Our best vacation was a trip of a lifetime traveling Europe by rail with our backpacks. At home, we like to cuddle up and watch a movie, spend some time with friends or go outdoors and explore new neighborhoods. We love to take long walks around NYC. We are also pretty good at do-it-yourself projects. Both of us love to read; Marlon likes comics and non-fiction and Jenn prefers historical fiction or supernatural novels. | We have always wanted to have children. When we began trying, we struggled with infertility. We decided what really mattered most to us was having a family. After learning all we could about adoption, we feel this is the way our family is meant to be created. During the wait, we remain positive and patient that our child will their way to us. We look forward to the journey and joys of parenthood, to love and encourage our child, and embrace the unique way our family began.
3: We would be happy to share letters, pictures and visits to maintain a relationship with you through the years if that is something that you would want. We believe in being open with our child about their adoption story. We have enjoyed our time together as a couple, but we are so eager to share our lives with a child. Thank you for letting us share our story with you. We hope we have given you a glimpse of how very much we want to be loving and dedicated parents - we know it is the most important job we will ever have. Marlon and Jennifer
4: I knew Marlon was the one from the very first moment I met him. Maybe it was his smile or sense of humor, but I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Twenty-one years later, he is still my best friend. Marlon is the first person I want to talk to when something exciting happens or if I am upset. He's always there to listen, make me laugh or say the right thing. My favorite thing about Marlon is his creative spirit. He approaches life with an artistic eye. His talent for illustration is impressive. He loves to draw comics and just about anything. I love that he can express himself through art. | Marlon recently completed illustrations for a children's book and is now working on a graphic novel. Marlon's sense of adventure makes our life so much more interesting. He is always up for trying something new, whether it's snowmobiling, going to the opera, or trying the local cuisine when we travel. His philosophy is "try it, you might like it." | about Marlon by Jennifer
5: I love to hear Marlon talk about our future child and I know he is looking forward to having a family. If we are lounging in bed on a Saturday morning, he'll say “I can see three of us here." He believes it's important to support our child's interests and help them flourish and grow. I know he is going to be an amazing dad. | If something is broken, Marlon can always fix it. If I need something built, he can make it. It's great having a husband who is so handy. Marlon is sentimental at heart. He picks up little mementos when we travel, like a rock from the beach or saves our fortunes from fortune cookies. He keeps a few treasured items from his family like the mug his grandma used to give him cereal in.
6: about Jennifer by Marlon | Jenn inspires and encourages me every day; she really is my better half. I can always count on her to reassure and support me when things are challenging. She always pushes me to be my best. Since the day we met, she's been the light of my life. I'm lucky to have her; she is my wife and best friend. Jenn is a beautiful person and she lights up the room when she walks in. We've been together for 21 years. I can't imagine my life without her. I've shared more of my life with her than I have without. We've traveled the world and made irreplaceable memories together. | She's my soulmate and I thank God every day for bringing her into my life. Jenn is a fantastic cook. Once, when a favorite restaurant of ours closed, Jenn improvised the ingredients and re-created the dishes at home. We visit our family often and sharing recipes from her grandmother and cooking together with her father, sister and cousins are always the highlight of the trip.
7: Jenn thinks of others all the time and she always knows the perfect gift or what is needed for friends and family. I know she is going to be an incredible mother. One of the things I love the most about Jenn is how important family is to her. I want to give Jenn everything in the world, but I know she would trade everything to be a mom. | My wife is one of the most organized people I know. Whether she is getting friends together for a fun time or planning the next family reunion, things just run more smoothly when Jenn is around. She even has started a blog about our adoption journey. She's a warm and generous person who loves to make others happy. She's definitely a glass half full type of person.
8: I am an executive assistant to the editor-in-chief at a children's book publishing company. I found early on that my strengths are planning, organizing and being able to see the big picture, which makes this job perfect for me. My hours are pretty much 9 to 5. This easily allows us to spend quality time together. I am surrounded by incredibility talented people doing what they love, creating books for children. My boss is one of the most supportive and positive people I have ever met. She is always telling me that family comes first. I plan to continue working once we have a child. When I go home at night, I feel good about what I do and because of that I carry a sense of fulfillment into my personal life. | our jobs | Jennifer | Marlon | I earned my college degree from the School of Visual Arts. Studying art achieved a lifelong goal. Creating art is fulfilling, but it's a difficult career choice. So, I've worked for the US Census Bureau since 2010. It is very rewarding to help keep track of vital statistics about our nation's economy. I also get to work with lots of diverse people and cultures. | Recently, I was promoted to the IT department within the Census. I now use the technical skills I developed in the US Coast Guard and soon I plan to complete a degree in computer science to further my career in the technology field. I feel the work we do really does make a difference.
9: Five Fun Facts about... | Marlon – 1. Once was a NYC tour guide on a double decker bus 2. Left-handed 3. Favorite season is fall 4. Favorite TV show is Doctor Who 5. Has a serious sweet tooth | Jennifer – 1. Favorite color is orange 2. Loves Peeps, but only the yellow chicks 3. Finds corny jokes hilarious 4. First car was a VW Bug named Nellie 5. Guilty pleasure is watching TMZ
10: The neighborhood has everything we wanted -- a spacious two-bedroom apartment with lots of charm, a location close to Manhattan's excitement but but away from the crowds and noise; great schools and a park with a new playground. Nearby, there's a community garden, soccer fields, basketball courts, and lots of families with young children. We think it is the perfect place to raise a family! | We lived in Manhattan for many years but the more we thought about having a family, we knew we wanted to move some place better suited for kids. We researched different neighborhoods and boroughs and decided on our neighborhood in Queens, NY. | kitties | The neighborhood playground | Our kitchen- Marlon installed the cabinets and made the chalkboard! | Our bedroom
11: Marlon's family has had a piece of land on the river in North Carolina for as long as he can remember. We had the opportunity to buy it and have taken on making the place our own. It's the perfect spot for fishing, canoeing or just getting back to nature. And it's close enough to each of our families that we can come down, relax and visit. | Demolition Day! Making room for our vacation home. | The bait shack and country store | Scenic river views across the street from where our house will be
12: We have two adorable sister cats, Edie and Twiggy. They are named after 1960’s super models. We adopted our cats from a non-profit organization that shelters animals in volunteers' homes until they find a home of their own. There is never a dull moment with Edie and Twiggy around! | Twiggy | Edie | Twiggy | kitties
13: Marlon and Jennifer met 22 years ago at the Trilogy comic shop when Jenn was 17 and Marlon was 19. Jenn thought he was the coolest. (Still does). We chatted a little bit while in the store. Still in the parking lot, Jenn told her friend "that's the man I am going to marry!" The rest is history. We went on our first date March 16, 1991 and were married three years later on March 16, 1994 at same spot we shared our first kiss. Happily Ever After. | Our first Christmas together | Jenn's Junior Prom | Our Wedding Day
14: Our first nephew, Landon, was born on October 4, 2011 to Jenn's sister, Jill and brother-in-law, Will. Landon's little sister, Renee', was born on September 23, 2013. Jill and Will have let us practice our parenting skills (and spoiling) them! Whenever we visit, we babysit! I think we have been finding excuses to visit Virginia just so we can see Landon and Renee'. We can't help it; they are just so darn cute. | Aunt and Uncle
15: There is a free infant CPR class given at our local hospital, so we thought we'd take the opportunity to brush up on our safety skills. The class was great. We practiced all the techniques on baby dolls. After we left, we felt confident we could spring into action if ever necessary. That's a good feeling. | During the time that we have been waiting for our family, we've been doing things to prepare ourselves for parenthood, like reading parenting books, babysitting our nephew and taking child care classes like infant CPR.
16: One of our fondest memories with our godchildren is being present at their baptisms. We were so proud to be there and Marlon even chose a passage of scripture to read to commemorate the occasion. | Being a godparent has been as great an opportunity for us as it has been for Tyler, Kaitlyn and Logan. We are there to guide them and enjoy watching them grow up. Most of all we like showing them how to do stuff and praising them when they excel or even when they just try their best and don't necessarily get the results they expected. | Godparents | 14 When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” - Mark 10:14-15
17: One summer we decided to take our godkids along to the family reunion. It was about five hours by car and Marlon been driving for a while. The conversation had stopped and we were all getting restless. We started to see signs for Foamhenge, an exact replica of the original Stonehenge in England, only made of large Styrofoam blocks. | Boy, were the godkids surprised when we turned off the highway and followed the signs down a country lane to a grove on a hilltop to Foamhenge. We all stood in amazement at the ring of very convincing stones, 20 feet high. We took lots of pictures and got a good stretch before getting back in the car. This side-trip made us realize how important fun and spontaneity is in life.
18: The event of the year in our family is Jenn's dad's pig pickin’. About 75 people show up to his backyard to eat my dad's famous NC BBQ, play games, go on hay rides and listen to country music. Even our friends from New York come down for this event. It's a great time! | Dad's famous BBQ!
19: The park ranger gave us a jump and off we went. I really thought we'd never camp again. Good thing we tried it again. We learned a lot from the first trip and now we are pros! Marlon has an awesome bratwurst recipe and Jenn's in charge of the s’mores. There is nothing better than sitting around a campfire with good friends enjoying life. | We love to camp. We pack up our little tent, supplies and our bikes head to a local campground with some friends for the weekend. Our camping adventures had a rough start. On our first camping trip, we got lost getting there and it was almost midnight when we finally found the campground. We decided to turn on the car headlights so we could see to put up the tent. We managed to get the tent up, but we didn't realize we were on a hill, so we slept on a slant. The next morning we were ready to go home but the car battery was dead from using the headlights.
20: Every year since we've been married, we have gone on trip to celebrate our anniversary. We've taken big trips like taking the Eurorail through Italy, France and Spain and some years we went a little more low-key like going to our family's cottage in the Outer Banks. | anniversary | Snowmobiling in Canada | On the beach in the Outer Banks, NC | Ben & Jerry's tour, Vermont | Notre Dame, Paris, France | Whitewater Rafting in Pennsylvania | Touring the Bahamas on a scooter | Ruins of Chichen Itza in Mexico
21: We celebrated 18 years of marriage this past March 2012 and we went to Hudson Valley, NY for a long weekend. Our favorite part of the weekend was when we drove by a house on our anniversary that had a big sign out front that said “Happy Anniversary." This was so perfect! So we decided to be spontaneous, turn around and take our picture in front of the sign. We pulled into the driveway full of chickens, set the camera up on the hood of the car and jumped into place for the photo. We were laughing the whole time. The next day we drove by and the sign had changed to “Happy Birthday." We are so glad we stopped; it will be something we will always remember. | Hudson Valley, NY
22: We like to stay in New York City for Thanksgiving and go to Macy’s Thanksgiving parade or to Inflation Eve where they inflate the Thanksgiving Day balloons. I always cook a turkey with all the trimmings and we spend the day snuggling on the couch eating turkey and watching movies. Thanksgiving dinner is Marlon's favorite meal and he says my turkey is the best. | Bundled up at the Thanksgiving Day parade | Inflation Eve! | Marlon's favorite - Thanksgiving turkey!
23: This past Thanksgiving we decided to visit our godkids instead of staying home. I have to say it was probably the best Thanksgiving we have ever had. My best friend and I cooked a fabulous meal. Marlon taught our godson how to carve a turkey. We watched Christmas movies and goofed off. | The girls decided we would go Black Friday shopping. We put on our best flannel pj bottoms and sweat shirts, combed through the sale ads to see where we wanted to shop and piled in the car at midnight, giggling the whole time. We hit all the sales and even Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in the middle of the night. We got home around 4 am with our loot and went to bed. The guys stayed home and played video games and ate pie all night. Best Thanksgiving ever! | Marlon and Logan carving the Thanksgiving turkey | The girls are ready for Black Friday shopping! Kaitlyn, Jenn and Jennifer
24: Christmas is a big deal in our family. Everyone comes home for Christmas. We love our Christmas traditions and spending time with our families during the holidays. We wouldn't have it any other way. | Marlon's brother & Sister-in-law Joe and Stella | Jenn's Parents Linda and Jim | Christmas Eve dinner with Jenn's mom's family | Marlon's Parents Carrie and Marlon | Annual Christmas photo with Jenn's cousins
25: for holding tissues in case someone's home sick with a cold. One day after Thanksgiving when Jenn went Christmas shopping with the girls, I assembled the whole thing and sewed for hours until the quilt came together. The quilt was done! I wrapped it and put it under the tree for Christmas morning. I knew it would be something special, but I was completely unprepared for Jenn’s reaction. She cried tears of joy for what seemed like forever. I didn't know what to say except, “This is for our future family!” | One year after a particularly rough set back on our hopes to start a family, I decided to make Jenn something special for Christmas. I wanted to make something that would symbolize our hopes and last a long time. I decided, despite the fact that my sum total of sewing experience was re-attaching a button, to make a family quilt. I still have a dilapidated quilt that my great grandmother made and it is very special to me. I began by collecting worn old plaid pajamas and cutting them into squares. I kept them rolled in a blanket so that Jenn wouldn't know the secret until Christmas morning. I bought batting and pretty red fabric to go on the back. I saved two pajama squares with pockets to go at the top | ~Marlon
26: values | We want to share with you five personal values that are important to us. We have built our life together on the foundation of these principles. These beliefs help us live a meaningful way life. | Trust in one another and trust in God. We trust the decisions that we make independently will reflect our values as a family. | Commitment to one another is the basis of our marriage. Loyalty to family and friends leads us through laughs and tears. If we make a promise, we keep it. | Tolerance puts the focus more on our common humanity than on our differences. We have respect for others and follow the golden rule, "Do to others as you would have them do to you." - Luke 6:31 | Responsibility is the foundation of family. We are responsible for our actions whether fiscally, socially, communally or personally. | Hard work brings prosperity and personal satisfaction. If things don't work out, we don't give up, we instead try a different approach. We set life goals and work towards them one step at a time, always doing the best job we can.
27: Thank you for considering us as adoptive parents. We pray that you have all the love and support that you need while you decide what is best for you and the little one you are nurturing.