S: Jen & Joe
FC: Jen & Joe
1: Welcome, We hope this book gives you a glimpse into our lives and helps you know a little more about who we are and what we treasure and value most in life. We appreciate the time you are taking to learn about us. Jen & Joe
2: Jen was born in San Diego, California as the second of four girls. It didn't take long for her parents to realize that Jen was born with an active and adventurous personality. They started her in gymnastics when she was 2 years old and for the next 13 years Jen flipped through the air and walked on her hands as a competitive gymnast. Along with being a gymnast her favorite childhood memories include family camping trips, bonfires at the beach, playing house with her sisters and riding her bike. She feels very fortunate that she grew up near her extended family and spent quality time with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins during her childhood years. | Meet | Ready for trick or treating! | One of many camping trips as a child | Jen... | Jen the gymnast
3: Jen's family moved to Indiana during her Sophomore year of high school and this proved to be a challenging experience for her. Being the new person at school and at the gym left her feeing lonely. During the next few years she went through a time of searching for purpose and identity. These years were filled with ups and downs but the love of her family helped bring her through the difficult times. She would of done anything at the time to change the circumstances but looking back she knows that those years of struggling have helped shape her into the person she is today and given her a heart of compassion for those suffering in this world. After high school Jen went to Purdue University and graduated with a degree in Hospitality, Tourism Management. Not only did she earn a degree while at Purdue but she learned about the love of God and became a Christian. Since college God has continued to lead her on a journey that she never would of imagined on her own. | College graduation | Jen with her grandpa | Serving at a nursing home
4: Meet Joe... | Born in Grand Rapids, MI Lived in Greenville , SC College in the hills of West Virginia Computer Nerd Enjoys the outdoors Helps teens through difficult times Loves the simple things in life Plays practical jokes Reads books Fun ...maturity is not about being serious all the time... ...maturity is knowing when to be serious and when to have fun... | Joe and siblings back in the day... | ....all grown up | Harder than.
5: Born the last of three extroverted children, Joe grew up in an active home. Life at home was not always the easiest so a lot of his time was spent outdoors or at friends' houses. His family moved often which was always difficult for him. The teen years started out as a challenge for Joe. He was depressed and angry at the world. God changed Joe's life at the age of 16 and he's never been the same. Church began to play a huge part in his life. A youth pastor mentored him throughout high school and continues to be a part of his life. Now Joe invests in the lives of teenagers, just as his youth pastor invested in his life. The youth group he leads has over 70 teens in all different stages in life. He loves to watch as God transforms them, just as God transformed him. | Early morning story time with niece | Getting messy with some paint ball action | it looks
6: Joe & Jen Meet | Jen's first thoughts about Joe: "How did he get like this?" Overwhelmed by Joe's thoughtfulness, kindness and humor she was repeatedly asking this question. Never had she met another man who made her feel so special and smile so much. Joe's first thoughts about Jen: "She's pretty, fun, loves God and thinks I'm funny" were Joe's first thoughts of Jen. He enjoyed how they shared the same passions in life, the ability to share life's ups and down, and the fun they had together
7: After six months of dating Joe surprised Jen by giving her four flowers A yellow rose for our friendship A white rose for our purity A red rose for ourr love & A daisy for all the fun we had together and asked her to marry him...
8: They were married on November 11,2006
9: Joe's family(above) Jen's Family (below)
10: Stay-at-home mom & Short Commute | The opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom thrills Jen. She is thankful that she will be able to spend her days exploring life with a little one. Jen has heard many people say, "kids grow up fast ,so enjoy every minute you get with them". So taking time to make memories through out each day by reading together, visiting the park and trying new things are just a few of the things she is excited about.. Knowing that Joe will be only 20 steps away and popping in and out throughout the day is a unique gift as it will allow him to be a part of many of the day to day experiences of your child. With their house being right next to the church they will enjoy having an indoor gym to play in during rainy days and in the winter. They look forward to the adventure of being parents. | Jen at our house with 2 of her sisters and their kids | Joe trying to keep up with our nephew | Letting the kids play at the church during a family visit
11: Openness | We want your child to know and be proud of where they come from. We feel that openness will allow your child to know the love you have for them and help answer some of their questions surrounding their adoption. Being able to let your child know who they look like and some of their family history is something we believe is important and healthy. We look forward to exploring what an open adoption would look like.
12: 70 kids? Most adults tremble at the idea of being around teenagers, but Joe and Jen actually enjoy it. Joe would say that God has given them a gift: the ability to love and work with teenagers even through all their emotional ups and downs. | Singing Happy Birthday to one of our kids | Saturday morning football in the rain | Week long work project | Skiing the slopes of Michigan with teens
13: just a few of our kids | As a youth pastor, Joe’s main role is to help students become what God designed them to be. This can only be accomplished by living life with teens as they make good decisions and bad ones and loving them through both. Sometimes this is a lot of fun, as teens are often at our house, playing games, laughing and talking about life; other times it is heart breaking as we listen with tears in our eyes to the pain a student is feeling. | Joe and some of the teen guys loving on some boys in Ecuador | Enjoying some delicious fruit while in Japan | Exploring the raging rapids of West Virginia
14: ATV ride in Cabo San Lucas on our Honeymoon | Playing in the snow | A 5 day, 260 mile bike trip | Climbing Mt. Fuji in Japan
15: One of Jen's nicknames is Energizer, a fitting name for a girl who loves being active. Being outdoors, running, biking, visiting with others, cooking and traveling are just a few of the ways she enjoys spending her free time. But she must admit that having Joe to do these things with makes life all the more fun. Over the last five years they have driven across country, traveled to Japan & Ecuador and biked from Chicago to Wisconsin and back home. While they love the big adventures in life they also enjoy the simple life. Home cooked meals, long walks, playing games with family & friends and Joe’s stove top popcorn are a few of the staples of their simple life. They look forward to exploring the adventures of life together as they grow their family. | Picking out our Christmas tree | Making a new friend in Ecuador
16: Jen's grandma with one of her many great grandchildren | Jen with her nephew | Jen with her parents, sisters and their kids | Joe & Kaitlyn at the pumpkin patch
17: Jen loves that she has a close knit family who is there for one another. Jen's parents have set an example that loving and serving others is the best way to live life and their example has spread throughout the family. Family gatherings take place often and are always a time filled with food, games and much laughter. After moving to Chicago Jen & Joe started a tradition known as "Camp Stolz" where their nieces and nephews come spend a week with them during the summer. A fun tradition they look forward to celebrating in the years to come. | Jen's parents with some of their grandkids | Playing games during Camp Stolz 2010
18: Spending time in Texas with Joe's mom | Joe with his grandpa | Enjoying the beach with Joe's family
19: Joe's family is a little more spread out than Jen's. His brother is a physical trainer living in New York City while his sister and brother-in-law live in Texas with their two kids. Joe's parents also live in Texas, but make trips often up to Michigan where Joe's Grandpa lives and where Joe spent most of his adolescent years. Getting the family all together can be difficult, but every year they make it happen usually all meeting up in central Texas for a warm Christmas. | Craft time with the kids | The family together for Christmas | Sometimes you just have to play house
20: Jen & Joe love the diversity of America. No where else in the world can you make friends with people from so many different cultures. We have friends, and some family, from just about every ethnicity in the world. One of the reasons that we moved to where we live now is because of the diversity that it offers. As a family, we desire to embrace and celebrate the cultures that surround us. It is important to us that your child know about their cultural heritage. Attending local African American celebrations, reading books, listening to music and watching movies about their culture as well as helping your child make friends and have healthy mentors who look like them are just a few of the ways we hope to celebrate African American culture in our family. It is our hope that your child will have a healthy identity and feel free to explore their cultural heritage. | Special women in Jen's life | Boys will be boys | A few of our kids
21: The World Meets At Our Doorstep | Jen with a few of the neighborhood kids | A few families celebrating at our church picnic
22: FAITH | LOVE | ENCOURAGEMENT | Our lives are built on our faith in God. He took us both from dark places and made us whole. He gives us meaning and hope each day. | We want everything that we say and do to flow out of love. Live without love is worthless. We try to express our love for each other, our friends and family in practical ways. We want to be known as people who love others. | We are optimistic people and we realize that others respond better to encouragement than to criticism. We plan to parent in a way that encourages and builds up the self-esteem of a child. | VALUES we believe in....
23: EDUCATION | FAMILY | FORGIVENESS | OPPORTUNITIES We realize that every person is created unique with passions and gifts all there own. Our goal in parenting would be to help a child realize their own unique gifting and fulfill their dreams, whatever those dreams might look like. | Our family are some of our closest friends. They have been with us through the good and the bad and we know that they will be with us every step of the way into our future. | Everyone deserves a second chance and we want our home to be a place where second chances are freely given. As parents we plan to model forgiveness as we forgive each other and any child that we might have the opportunity to parent. | Education opens the door to so many opportunities in our world. We personally always want to be learning and we want to give the child we parent the best opportunities available to learn.
24: Adoptive Family Profile JOE JEN occupation: Youth Pastor Housewife Religion: Christian Christian Race: Caucasian Caucasian Education: College College Ethnicity: European European Hair/Eyes: Brown/Blue Brown/Brown Height/Wt. 6'3"/190lbs. 5'7"/140 lbs. Age: 28 years old 33 years old Health: Good Good Married 4 years, November 2006 Child care plans: J en plans to be a stay at home mom
25: Child's Medical Background We are open to these possibilities in a child's background Race or Ethnic Background African American African American mixed with any other race Chemical Use Marijuana/ cocaine/ Heroin/other drug use by birth mother during pregnancy Alcohol dependency in birth father Alcohol use by birth mother during pregnancy Drug abuse/Alcoholism in family background Mental Illness History in birth parents History in family background of birth parents Diagnosed Depression In birth parents In family background of birth parents Learning Disabilities Diagnosed learning disability in birth parents Diagnosed ADHD and/or ADD in birth parents Mental Retardation In family background of birth parents Other Concerns Diabetes in family background Rape situation Under 36 weeks gestation