FC: Luke and Kate
1: Greetings! We're thankful you are reading this letter and thankful you are considering our family for your child. While we certainly don't know your particular circumstances, we feel you are brave for your decision. Family means a lot to us, and your desire to ensure your child has a good family is admirable. Whatever happens, we are praying for you and praying that you feel at peace with your decision and the future of your child. Luke grew up in both Australia and Oklahoma. Kate has lived in Oklahoma most of her life but has spent a lot of time traveling as well. We have been married since May 2011 and we have continued to grow closer and have enjoyed relying on each other and loving each other more every day. Kate works from home and is thus able to be involved in the boys' (ages 8 and 6) activities. She will continue to be at home with any additional children as well. She enjoys knowing that she is there for her children at any time during the day or night. Luke has a short commute and comes home for lunch everyday. Even before we were married we discussed adoption but it was 2 years ago when we began to feel that the time for adoption was right. While we have not experienced any problems having biological children, we are touched by the realization that there are children who need a good home. Unsure of how a new, non-biological child would work with the two biological children we already have, we decided to try being foster parents first. We are so pleased that our boys thoroughly enjoyed their time with the foster children, and that they are eagerly anticipating a permanent child in our home. We were respite care for two toddler brothers for 18 months and full time foster care for children ranging from 6 days to 16 years old. The 16 year old girl, a birth mother who had recently relinquished her rights, lived with us for 7 and a half months. We walked the road of a newly relinquished birth mother with her, an experience that showed us the importance of a birth mother's contact with her adopted child when it is in the best interest of the child to do so. We would like to have an open relationship with you as we feel this is normally the most healthy option for the child. While we have no way of knowing exactly what that would look like at this stage in the process, we would like the child to know who you are and to exchange photos and cards with you. We are also open to the possibility of further contact when such contact is in the child's best interest. We feel that ensuring the child has a good sense of self will help him or her as they grow and possibly question who they are, and that contact with you can help with this. We believe God wants people to honor Him with their lives. We feel when people do something in the best long-term interest of a child -- whether that is placing the child for adoption, giving him or her a good home, or assisting in the process of matching mothers and families -- it reflects the heart of God. May God be with you in your decision and in the future of you and your child. Grace and Peace, Luke and Kate
2: The Beginning Luke and I met our junior year of college. He was the lab tutor for a web design class I was taking, and let's just say I made sure I had lots of questions :) On our first date we spent hours talking and I knew he was someone I wanted to have around for the rest of my life. When I met Kate I knew I was meeting someone very special. While I don't believe in love at first sight, I believe in "wow, I like so much about you and can see myself being with you the rest of my life" at first date. She was like a combination of the best traits from girls I knew all rolled into one. I was still traveling a lot when Luke and I began dating so much of our relationship was from a distance, but that didn't deter us. A year and a half after our first date we were saying "I do." I don't know much about soul-mates but I do know that Luke protects me, loves me, and cleans the toilets for me. He is someone that leads our family with godly wisdom and strength but also with kindness and gentleness. We love to laugh together and have fun. He is truly my best friend. While we're not perfect, I still feel that way and couldn't imagine myself spending my life with anyone else. I'm proud to have her by my side and glad she took my ring and gave one to me. Most of all, whether we're with our kids, extended family, small groups of friends, or just each other, I enjoy my time and interactions with Kate. She's a better friend than I could have hoped for. Top: our wedding night; Bottom left: Engagement picture; Bottom right: First anniversary
3: Early marriage took us to Memphis, TN where Luke worked on his graduate degree. Two years after we were married we were blessed by the birth of our oldest, George. Another two-and-a-half years later, we were blessed again with Isaac's birth. Top left: Luke and Kate in our first apartment; Bottom left: Luke, Kate and George 2004; Bottom right: Luke, Kate, George and Isaac 2006
5: We enjoy traveling, taking pictures and exploring new places. Top left: Sedona, AZ; Top right: South Padre Island, TX; Middle left: San Francisco, CA; Middle right: Muir Woods, CA; Bottom left: Cliffs of Moher Ireland; Bottom right: Blarney Castle Ireland
6: Luke is an amazing dad. He spends time with the boys - wrestling, laughing, playing games, and playing with them outside. He also works with the boys - helping them understand everything from how the inside of a computer to how to bait a hook or pick a peach. He is also a wonderful spiritual leader - he works with the boys teaching them what it means to be men of God. And from watching him with our nieces, I know that if our new addition is a girl, she will loved and supported. I know he is the kind of dad who will be all about tea-parties and dress up so that his daughter will know how important she is. | Luke
7: I have been blessed with a truly great family. My younger sisters and I were and remain fairly close, and I always appreciated the support and care I received (and continue to receive) from my parents. I always knew and heard I was loved, and knew that whatever happened my family would be there. We grew up in Australia as missionaries until I was twelve, and that experience forced us to be close as a family. We all see each other fairly regularly and I enjoy seeing how my sisters and brother-in-laws interact with my boys. | Luke, Annaleise, Heather, Sheila, and Dale | Heather and David (Luke's middle sister and her husband) | Michael, Annaleise, & Isabella (Luke's youngest sister and her family) | Dale (Luke's dad) with the boys at an OU game | Sheila (Luke's mom) and Isaac playing a game
8: Kate is a great mother with our boys. I'm often impressed with the time and effort she goes through to listen to them, care about their interests, and invest in their lives. Whether she is playing a board game, helping with a project, digging a dirt hole in the backyard, or just laughing and enjoying life, Kate is an excellent mother. I've watched her with her nieces also and would love to see her get to parent a young lady as well. | Kate
9: I'm blessed to have grown up in a house that welcomed people with open arms. And still today my family is a mix of biological and non-biological people. In my extended family, we consider two of my sister's ex-husbands and their new families as fully part of our family. They even come on family vacations with us! And of the nine (soon-to-be 10) nieces and nephews only four are biologically related to me. My parents live relatively close and we're able to see each other about once a month to every other month. While the rest of us don't live as close to each other, we remain in close contact through email, Facebook, and Skype and look forward to the times we're able to all be together. | Don and Donna (Kate's parents) | Kate's niece Emma (in back), her dad and sisters | Kate's Grannie, an amazing woman of God | Eric, Kate, Carrie, Don & Donna | Mason, Carrie, Tony, Parker & Emma (Kate's sister and her family) | Kate's nephews Parker & Mason, their dad, step-mom, and siblings | Summer, Eric and Anders (Kate's brother and his family)
10: My name is Isaac. I am six years old. I like to swim in the neighborhood pool in the summer. I am taking piano lessons. I like to do karate. This is what I do. I like math and I like reading. In kindergarten we are learning about penguins and reindeer. | I am excited to have a new brother or sister because I like having someone to be with (not that I don't like George). I want to read to my new sibling and to play outside with him or her. And I may even teach him things like how to walk and how to talk. | Isaac
11: My name is George. I am eight and a half. I am in third grade. I like playing piano and I like going to cub scouts. I want to teach our baby new things like math and reading (when it gets older). I like to play with toys. I hope to play with toys with my new sibling soon. I like playing outdoors and like to play in the hose. This summer we made the world's largest mud pie. | George
13: We live in a comfortably-sized house located in neighborhood full of kids. We have a large backyard with room for the kids to run and play and through our backyard is local park that has playgrounds, a duck pond, and walking trails where we like to spend time when the weather is nice. We chose the location of our house so that we could be close Luke's work and because of the good school district the house is within. We have a room set up and ready for our newest addition!
15: The Importance of Time We know that day by day the kids are getting older. And so we do what we can now to make memories that will help form their sense of self and memories that will remind them of the fun that family can be. Whether it's a trip to the beach with Luke's extended family, hitting the slopes with Kate's extended family, a weekend at the lake or out camping, an adventure somewhere new, bowling together, or even a food fight in the backyard- we try and carve out extra special time to spend as a family.
16: The Importance of Traditions Traditions are another way we help deliver a strong sense of identity to our children. Some of our traditions are daily traditions - such as praying together before school and before bed. Other traditions are weekly - like family game night with dessert or making homemade yogurt. And still others occur yearly - such as numeral pancakes on birthdays, from scratch pumpkin pies on Thanksgiving, celebratory meals and Dale and Sheila's, Australia Day, dying eggs at Easter, and back to school ice cream. We hope that these traditions help our children feel a part of something and have memories they can pass on to their children some day as well.
19: Dear Father, Thank you for the woman who has just read our book. Thank you for her willingness to consider the option of adoption. Father, thank you for the life that is growing inside her and the way she already cares about this child- the fact that she is here, considering options, trying to determine what is best for her child shows that. Lord, we pray you give her wisdom in this decision. And we pray you surround her with wise counsel so that she may know what is best. And Father, we pray that whatever choice you show her to be best, we pray you give her strength to follow through with that choice. Lord we pray you that you surround this mother and surround her child. Give her your peace Lord, the peace that passes all understanding, the peace that only you can provide. Thank you for the way you love each of us and the way you offer the ultimate adoption - an adoption into your family to become sons and daughters of The King. Thank you for taking the time to get to know us better.