S: Getting To Know...Eric and Richelle
FC: Getting to Know... Eric and Richelle
1: Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~Proverbs 3:5-6
2: Hello! We are so pleased that you decided to take the time to get to know a little about us. We are Eric and Richelle. We are excited and nervous to be starting down the road to grow our family through adoption. We have really struggled with what to say to you in this letter. We know we are ready to start a family through adoption. We have been on this path for a long time and we know exactly what we want: to start a family. While we know where we want to go, we understand that you may not know what you plan to do. Please know that we are praying for you and your child, whether you decide to make an adoption plan or not. Regardless of what you decide for your child, we want you to know how courageous we think you are for choosing life for your baby. Now, we would like to share a little about ourselves with you. We have recently celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. We will not pretend that it has always been easy. We will not try to tell you that we are the perfect couple. We have dealt with hard times in our marriage, such as dealing with infertility issues, but we have had the opportunity to grow together, grieve together, love together, and dream together. Even though it may not have always been easy, it has always been worth it! And, even though we are not perfect, we are perfectly ready to be parents and to completely love the child God has planned for our family! In the beginning of our marriage, we believed that we would have it all. We wanted the house with the white picket fence with a dog and 2 kids in the yard. Over the first few years, we were disappointed that we were not getting pregnant. Looking back, we can see that God had a better plan for us. We believe that adoption is what God had in store for our family from the start, but He needed to work on us and prepare our hearts for the child or children He desired to be welcomed into our family. One way that God has prepared our hearts was by allowing us to be foster parents to several wonderful children. We learned so much about love, patience, and letting go through our experiences as foster parents. We also learned that our family and friends would support our children however they came to be a part of our family and for however long they stayed. Our family members have been on this journey with us the entire time. They have welcomed our foster children into the family when they came to live with us, they supported us in our efforts to help the parents succeed in having their children come home, and they have cried with us when the children left to be reunited with their families. Each and every one of them is waiting with almost as much anticipation as we are for our family to grow through adoption. We truly hope to have an opportunity to learn more about you and your hopes and dreams for the future. We believe that whatever turns out to be the right choice for you , your child will bring much joy! God Bless You, Eric and Richelle | Hello! We are so pleased that you decided to take the time to get to know a little about us. We are Eric and Richelle. We are excited and nervous to be starting down the road to grow our family through adoption. Although we have really struggled with what to say to you, we can assure you that we have not entered into this decision half-heartedly. We have been on this path for a very long time and we know exactly what we want: to start a family through adoption! While we know where we want to go, we understand that you may not know what you plan to do. Please know that we are praying for you and your child, whether you decide to make an adoption plan or not; regardless of what you decide for your child, we want you to know how courageous we think you are for choosing life for your baby. Now, we would like to share a little about ourselves with you. We have recently celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary. We will not pretend that it has always been easy. We will not try to tell you that we are the perfect couple. We have dealt with hard times in our marriage, such as dealing with infertility issues, but we have had the opportunity to grow together, grieve together, love together, and dream together. Even though it may not have always been easy, it has always been worth it! And, even though we are not perfect, we are perfectly ready to be parents and to completely love the child God has planned for our family! In the beginning of our marriage, we believed that we would have it all. We wanted the house with the white picket fence with a dog and 2 kids in the yard.
3: Over the first few years, we were disappointed that we were not getting pregnant. Looking back, we can see that God had a better plan for us. We believe that adoption is what God had in store for our family from the start, but He needed to work on us and prepare our hearts for the child or children He will one day allow us to welcome into our family. One way that God has prepared our hearts was by allowing us to be foster parents to several wonderful children. We learned so much about love, patience, and letting go through our experiences as foster parents. We also learned that our family and friends would support our children however they came to be a part of our family and for however long they stayed. Our family members have been on this journey with us the entire time. They have welcomed our foster children into the family when they came to live with us, they supported us in our efforts to help the parents succeed in having their children come home, and they have cried with us when the children left to be reunited with their families. Each and every one of them is waiting with almost as much anticipation as we are for our family to grow through adoption. We truly hope to have an opportunity to learn more about you and your hopes and dreams for the future. We believe that whatever you determine to be the right choice for you, your child will bring much joy! God Bless You, Eric and Richelle
4: I grew up the youngest of three boys. (Luckily for my mom, we liked to play outside a lot with our neighborhood friends!) Sometimes on the weekends, we would go fishing. My brother, Randy, would always catch the most fish and would also manage to end up falling in the lake somehow. I was blessed with having a great childhood, with the exception of my brothers picking on me because I was the "baby"! My parents were loving, kind, and fair. We would often have family picnics with our large, extended family. I am still very close with my family, especially with my mom and brothers. My family is very excited for Richelle and me to adopt a child and we are all looking forward to sharing our family traditions with the child who will be joining our family! | Eric
5: I grew up with two siblings. I have a twin sister and a little brother. We grew up with lots of rules and responsibilities, but we also had a lot of fun! When I was younger, we were the only people in our family with a pool, so we had a lot of picnics at our house! One of my favorite things we did when I was a child was visiting the beach. We would all cram into our tiny car and drive most of the night to Ocean City. Although we slept most of the way, I can remember all of us singing (loudly and badly!) to the radio or a favorite tape. Although my parents divorced when I was 10, I never doubted th love for me. Today, I am thankful for the good times we had together. I look forward to making our own memories and traditions with our child, but I will always carry the good memories of my childhood with me! | Richelle
6: And then we met...and began a whole new life together!
7: I met Eric at a New Year's Eve party at his mom's house. Even though I had never met either Eric or his mom, they welcomed me right away! (I don't think they knew what they were getting in to!) When I met Eric, I thought that he was funny and I was impressed that he didn't play games. He let me know that he liked me, without being pushy. When my family met him for the first time, they said he was "nice," but that he didn't seem like my type. Well, I guess they were wrong! | When I first met Richelle, I thought that she was very beautiful and fun. She was a really down to earth kind of girl and we had a good time joking around with each other. Talking with her just seemed easy and natural. We were able to just be ourselves and enjoy each other's company. That isn't a bad way to start a relationship!
8: "Fun" Facts | Eric: He is 34, but likes to tell people he is 25! He paints industrial vaccum trucks that are shipped all over the world. He is the "baby" of the family, with 2 older brothers. His mom really wanted a girl and was planning to name him Kimberly! Richelle's friends think he is a great catch and they tell her all the time how cute he is. Richelle made him climb that tree to show her cousin's daughter how "easy" it was! | Richelle: She is 33, but doesn't really care much about her age. She works with children (as a TSS) and also does counseling at her internship. Since she loves kids and talking, this works out great! She is the oldest child in her family by 4 minutes! (That's right, she got to be an only child for less than 5 minutes before her twin sister was born.) She also has a younger brother. She likes being a student! After recieving a Bachlor's Degree in Elementary Education, she decided to go back to school to get her Master's in Social Work. That is the school's Mountain Cat in the picture with Richelle. He wanted to celebrate her Graducation day, too!
9: We met on the last day of 1997. A few short weeks later, we officially became a couple. Three years later, we said, "I do," smashed cake in each other's faces, and never looked back! Over the years, we have grown together, learning about love and life, dealing with joy and heartache, and supporting each other. | One thing we have enjoyed doing together over the years is traveling. We are lucky enough to live close to many hisorical and recreational places. We visit Raystonw Lake at least once a summer. (We went there on our first trip ever as a couple, with Olivia and Justin on thier first trip!) We also enjoy visiting Gettysburgh, Washington D.C., Ocean City, Maryland, and Cape May, New Jersey. Once we even went on a cruise. It was the biggest vacation we have ever been on and we had the chance to visit many places on that once in a lifetime trip! | Travleing Through Life Together | Mayan Ruins in Belize | July 4th in D.C. | Night at Cape May | Raystown Lake
10: Hobbies and Activities | There are a lot of activities that we enjoy together. We like to walk, go bike riding, and occasionally play tennis with friends. One day we decided to go on a bike ride and ended up riding 28 miles! We also have some things that we like to do on our own. (Richelle enjoys cake decorating, scrapbooking, and reading. Eric enjoys outdoor activities such as fishing and riding his motorcycle as well as playing hockey, "picking" on the guitar, woodworking and restoring cars.) Either way, we make sure to keep busy! | We enjoy spending time together as well as with our families and friends. We especially like spending time with Olivia, Justin, and thier little boy, Owen (our super-sweet nephew!) Although our week can get busy , we always try to find fun weekend activities to do together. Some activites we enjoy include apple picking, picnics, going to festivals, and having game night. We attend church on Sunday mornings and we are often last to leave because we are enjoying time catching up with friends! | Cruising | Riding
11: Hopes and Dreams | We love each other very much. Our lives are full and happy. But, our portrait would feel more complete if we had a child to love, teach, and enjoy. We look forward to the day that we can teach our son or daughter to ride a bike, write his or her name, or toss a football or shoot baskets. We are looking forward to a lifetime of firsts during our parenthood journey! | Dreams are the touchstones of our character. ~Henry David Thoreau | We can't wait to do all of these things with our child | Learn new things together | Build a life together | Dance through the good and hard times together | Explore the world together | Play together | Relax together
12: We live in a Ranch style home on a quiet street. When we chose our home, we picked a 3 bedroom house, anticipating the love and laughter that would fill those rooms completely. Although we have shared many wonderful memories in our home, the "extra" rooms are still waiting for someone who will be able to grow up in them. | Our Home | We have a large front deck that overlooks the town. It is waiting patiently for family picnics and our yard is waiting for little feet to run across it. | Olivia (a designer!) says, "I can't wait to help make this into a nursery!" | Future Nursery! | Front Porch | Living Room
13: We live in a quiet area, with friendly neighbors. Our home is very close to the local school district. Our school district is excellent and has even won awards! Although we live in a quiet area, we live within driving distance of shopping, biking trails, state parks, playgrounds, and ski resorts, just to name a few activities! We also live close enough to larger cities, so visiting museums and attending Steeler games would be easy! | Our Neighborhood | Playground! | One of the amazing bike trails we love to visit
14: We are blessed to have a wonderful and supportive system of family and friends. Many of them (including siblings, aunts and uncles, Eric's Mom and and a lot of fantastic friends) live very close to us. Others (like Richelle's mom and brother, and her best friend) live across the country. No matter where they are, we know we have a great deal of people we can count on for support and love. They have proven this over and over again with our foster children, welcoming each child with open arms, offering advice, baby sitting help, or just an ear to listen. They are all so excited for us to start our adoption journey and can't wait for use to become "forever" parents! | Our friends and family have been praying for us to become parents and for the baby that God has been preparing us for. We hope that it is evident how much love that we all have to give. We are blessed to know many adoptees and adoptive parents that we can lean on and learn from. We know parents who have adopted through foster care, from other countries, and privately in the United States. We have been blessed to witness the wonderful examples of commitment and unclonditional love they have for thier children. | Our Awesome Support System | The Crissman's | Wedding Day 2001 Eric's Family | Wedding Day 2001 Eric's Family | Eric and his brothers (Bill and Randy) | Richelle, her great-grandma, sister, mom and grandma
15: Just a few of our loved ones, waiting for a child to welcome into the family! | Part of our church family! | "Auntie" Olivia, "Uncle" Justin and Owen | Nathan and Daniela | Wedding Day 2001 Richelle's Family | Wedding Day 2001 Eric's Family | Hanging out with Jeanine and Max | Bob, Carrie, Bobby and Brielle | Michelle and Joe | "Grandma" Marsha and Richelle
16: Some of the Amazing Kids in Our Life | We are so lucky to have some really awesome nieces and nephews, from babies to teenagers! We love spending time with all of them. We have enjoyed many birthday parties, soccer and football games, concerts, and just plain fun with them and we have loved every minute of it! We can't wait to have our child join in all the fun and we know the kids can't wait either! | Miranda, Ashley, and Abby | Miranda, Ashley, and Abby with thier dad | Riley, Bailey, and Brady | Homecoming Princess Em and Abby | Owen (or Little Man!) | Bailey (The little lady!)
17: Our Pets | Oh, I can't wait to be a "big brother!" "Mom" and "Dad" are awesome, and they love us so much, but I love having kids to play with and to protect. Plus, I need someone to help me with all these cats! | Our pets are a part of the family. We have 3 cats (Oreo, Dinni, and Tony) and a dog named Onyx. (Onyx is a Lab/Beagle mix and even though he is 7 years old, he still looks and acts like a puppy!) All of our pets love children and they have adjusted wonderfully to having foster children in our home. Onyx enjoys having new friends to play with, while the cats like having new people to cuddle up with. | Onyx and Owen are buddies! | Oreo and Dinni | Babies are all right. We don't really care, either way. We could take 'em or leave 'em. Whatever! (Who are we kidding?!? We are just saying that because we're cats! You know, acting detached. Honestly, we are so excited to have a baby come to live here! And besides, what better way to distract the dog while we drink his water? | O n y x and Tony
18: The Reviews Are In! Praise for Eric and Richelle | "Any child he gets to be a father to will never question his love and commitment." ~Richelle | "I was always amazed at how well they worked together with thier foster children!" ~Jonnie (friend from church) | ""Richelle is going to be a great mom! I am certain of this!" ~Eric | "It doesn't matter what we do, playing with Aunt Richelle is the highlight of my day. Uncle Eric is really awesome too. He is so much fun!" ~Owen | "Their desire to be parents is very strong, thier love for children unyielding!" ~Jeanine (Richelle's cousin)
19: Want to know more? Keep reading to see what else people are saying! | "I promise that the child who is blessed enough to call them Mom and Dad has a whole family of people waiting to shower him or her with love!" ~Olivia (Richelle's Sister) | "They love and care for Owen as if he is their own child and his joyous interactions with them further reveals to me thier potential as wodnerful parents!" ~Samantha (friend) | "We have been impressed with the loving, caring, compassionate attitude Eric and Richelle share towards all aspects of life, especially the adoption of a child to join their family." ~Dan, Sarah, Saffron, and Ruby (Friends) | "She was an active force in this child's life and well-being, and I believe that this will come into play in her parenting as well." ~Cassandra (former supervisor)
20: Richelle is going to be a great mom when we finally have the child that God has been preparing us for. I am certain of this because I have had the chance to see her with a lot of children. Our nieces love to sit and talk with her and be silly together. She is awesome with our little nephew, Owen. She loves spending time with him and its obvious that he loves to be with his Auntie too! Owen often has difficulty falling asleep, so Richelle will hold him and sing to him to try to sooth him to sleep. When she starts singing Owen looks up at her and smiles and then lays his head down on her shoulder and falls asleep. I have also been able to see her being a mom to the foster children that we have had the opportunity to care for and love. She loved each one of them as if they were our own children. She has done a great job with taking care of the children that were in our care, from being up at 3:00 am to feed a newborn to helping a 10 year old with her homework. The child that gets to call Richelle "mommy" is going to be very lucky because her heart is full of love just waiting to pour out onto them. | "I have been able to see her being a mom to our foster children. She loved each one of them as if they were our own children!" ~Eric
21: I have no doubt that Eric will be an amazing father. When I see him with children, it is always bittersweet. He is so kind and loving, children are just drawn to him. I love to watch him interact with the kids. It always brings a smile to my face! But it also brings tears to my eyes. You see, he wants to be a father so much and when I see how incredible he is with children, it makes me sad that he has to wait. But he will appreciate his child so much! I know this because I have been blessed to see him with our friends’ children, our nieces and nephews, and all of our foster children. Eric is the first person that the kids run to see when we arrive at a birthday party or when church is over. Why? Because he is fun and silly. He gets down on the floor and plays with the little ones. He listens to the older kids and never treats them like they are “just kids.” I love to watch him with our youngest nephew, Owen. Eric gets down on the floor with him and tries to help him learn to crawl, builds block towers for Owen to knock over, and makes silly faces at him to make him laugh. There is no question that Owen loves his Uncle beyond measure because his face breaks out in the most amazing smile whenever he sees his buddy, Uncle Eric. A few months ago, when we went swimming, Eric spent hours in the pool with some of our nieces. All the other adults were sitting and talking to each other. But Eric stayed with the kids, letting them dump buckets of water over his head and then “styling” his hair, over and over again. He carried them around on his shoulders, let them hang on his neck as he pulled them around, and just hung out with them. People always tell me how impressed they are when they see him with children. They are amazed at how natural he is with kids. (For example, one of the little ones at our church runs up to him after the service each week. She takes him by the finger and pulls him all over the church or outside, talking away. She rarely goes to anyone but her parents. But, she loves spending time with Eric. At Owen’s birthday party, her dad said it was time to go. She looked at Eric and said, let’s go over here so I don’t have to leave you!) I guess I just take it for granted, because he has always been great with kids and I get to see it all the time. But he really is a special man and any child he gets to be a father to will never question his love and commitment to them! | "Children are just drawn to him!" ~Richelle
22: Hi, My name is Owen and I just celebrated my first birthday in July 2011. You are getting to know my Aunt Richelle and Uncle Eric as you read through this book. Boy, are you ever lucky because they are great people! I know they would make super great parents because they are the best Aunt and Uncle a kid could ask for. Plus, I wouldn’t mind having someone younger around, so I could show them the ropes. But enough about me let me tell you more about them. They have been married for 10 years, which is way longer than I have been around! They are a really happy couple but they want a baby very much. Plus, did I mention, I would love a little cousin? My Aunt Richelle was there the day I was born. She stayed right by my Mommy’s side and took great care of her. Daddy helped some but he was so nervous and excited he didn’t know what to do. Auntie was so calm and took great care of her twin sister. After I arrived, she got the chance to hold me, and it was love at first sight. I really enjoy being in my Auntie’s arms because she is so warm and snuggly. Oh, and she is simply the best at singing me to sleep! I spend as much time with Auntie as I possibly can. We love to go shopping, out to lunch, and to just hang out singing Glee Karaoke. It really doesn’t matter what we do, playing with Aunt Richelle is always the highlight of my day. Uncle Eric is really awesome too. I love to roll around on the floor and play with him. He is so much fun. And he is always encouraging me to do new things. You see, I have some special needs and it takes me a little bit longer to do things than other babies. But Uncle Eric and Aunt Richelle never stop working with me to teach me all kinds of stuff. One day my Mommy and Daddy went out on a date and Uncle was working on crawling with me. Can you imagine how surprised they were when they came home and I could show them my new skill! There were lots of happy tears that day. Another thing I really love about Uncle is that he builds things. He built a bookcase for me that my Mommy really loves a lot. But my favorite thing is my rocking horse. I just love to sit in it and rock. He must love me lots to build me that. One day I can’t wait for Uncle Eric to help me build a clubhouse, we will have so much fun in there. And the best part will be sharing it with my cousin! I know you have lots of people to think about, but I really am glad you took the time to get to know my Aunt and Uncle. Your baby would be so lucky to have them as adoptive parents. No two people would love a baby more than them. Thanks for letting me tell you all about them. Love, Owen (As "told" to Owen's Mommy) | " I know they would make super great parents because they are the best Aunt and Uncle a kid could ask for!" ~Owen
23: I am Richelle’s twin sister, being a twin is amazing. I was born with my best friend and I couldn’t ask to be more blessed. If you aren’t a twin you have no idea how special the bond is; we have shared almost everything our entire lives. We spent our younger years playing dolls and picking on our little brother together. Our teenage years were spent cheerleading and playing just about every sport offered at our tiny school, not to mention yearbook, school paper, Senior Play, you name it we did it together! We even met and started to date our future husbands within months of each other, eventually serving as maids of honor in each other’s weddings. That is why, on November 25th, 2009, the day before Thanksgiving, I made one of the hardest phone calls I ever had to make. I stood in the bathroom, with my mouth agape staring at the test, unbelieving (and holding a bowl of ice cream, I almost couldn’t bear the cliché of it all); after five years of trying I was pregnant, but my twin sister still wasn’t. And not the kind of “trying” she had been through, the kind that involves being poked with needles, talking about your innermost feelings and every single part of your body with complete strangers, and drugs that make you sicker than sick, we went for the lets just wait and see what God has in store for us type of trying. As thrilled as I was, it still didn’t seem fair! You can’t even begin to understand how hard it was for both of us; infertility was just another thing we shared, something we could go through together. Even when other people didn’t understand we had each other, but now she felt more alone than ever. In the midst of my joy, I could still feel her pain. As the rest of the family celebrated for my husband and me, my heart ached for Richelle and Eric. I had watched her over the many years celebrate and be joyful for every one else as they got pregnant and planned for a new life but over time that smile had become more forced and painful. When would it be their turn? People often say they couldn’t love another person’s child the same way as “their own.” But I know that Richelle and Eric would love any child fiercely; I have watched them love “other people’s” children with wild abandon. Foster children, kids they knew would only be in their lives for a short time, got the love many of them so desperately needed. Many people would guard their hearts against the pain and heartache they knew would come but not these two; they loved EACH and EVERY one of those children like their own. Even the difficult ones, and trust me, there were difficult ones. Watching them love my little boy has been such a beautiful gift. I know there isn’t any one else in the world that loves him more (after his parents of course). We joke and say that Owen is so special he needs four parents, us and a bonus set. But I think Owen would be more than happy to share his bonus parents with a baby of their very own. I always say that God doesn’t make us wait for the ordinary. Any child that has been anticipated for more than ten years is going to be amazing! We have all been waiting to welcome this little one into our lives. I promise that the child who is blessed enough to call them Mom and Dad has a whole family of people waiting to shower him or her with love. And I will be first in line, just like Richelle was when Owen joined our family. God bless, (Auntie) Olivia | Best Friends | "Eric and Richelle would love any child fiercly. I have wathced them love "Other people's" children with Wild abandon!" ~(Auntie) Olivia
24: What can I say other than Richelle and Eric are just good people and would make great parents! While Richelle and Eric’s quest to building a family may not be considered the most traditional by some, their desire to be parents is very strong, their love for children unyielding. Throughout the past few years, they selflessly gave of their time, their home, their faith, and their values when they welcomed numerous foster children into their home. It takes special people to be foster parents, and Richelle and Eric definitely fit that bill! I’ve known Richelle literally all my life—she’s my cousin, after all! We had the very fortunate opportunity of growing up in a small town together, attending the same school and developing a life-long friendship that has really withstood the test of time. Through the years, we’ve laughed together; we’ve cried together. We’ve shared in one another’s joys and sorrows. She is one of my forever friends, and I am not only grateful, but I am also truly blessed that she has been such an important part of my life. For as long as I can remember, Richelle has held a special place in her heart for children. When we were children ourselves, we exchanged stories of how someday we would marry and have families of our own. In May 2001, when Richelle and Eric married, I was not only excited that Eric was now a part of my family (he’s a great guy!), but I was also excited for Richelle and Eric to start their family. This was something that they both wanted, so the timing was perfect for them to begin the next chapter of their lives. Apparently, fate had another plan in store. Adopting a child would make Richelle and Eric’s family complete. I only can imagine the perfectly planned birthday parties, the family dinners and game nights that Richelle and Eric would seamlessly coordinate. Church every Sunday, followed by brunch with cousin Owen or a family bike ride on the rails to trails with my husband and me. Perhaps a picnic lunch would follow. After dinner, Richelle could help the children with their homework, while Eric creates the next rocking horse or patches the basketball or fixes the doll. A little slice of what it means to be a family; a lifetime of love and completeness. When I watch Richelle and Eric interact with children, including their nieces and nephews, I am convinced that their love for children knows no bounds. I just hope and pray that Richelle and Eric are able to share their love for children with a child whom they can call their own (someday rather soon, I hope!). | "I am convinced that their love for children knows no bounds." ~Jeanine
25: I have known Eric and Richelle for nearly two years. In that time, I have always been keenly aware of their desire to become parents. I've learned about the many foster children they have cared for over the years. And, more importantly, I've learned about how these foster experiences contributed to their feeling that God was calling them to have a child of their own. Because Eric and Richelle feel such an intense calling from God to become parents, I have witnessed them work tirelessly toward achieving their dream of adoption through prayer and numerous creative fund-raising efforts. Their diligent work and total reliance upon the Lord to provide them with a child is both inspiring and hints at the amount of love and patience in both their hearts. But the love and patience that they possess only scratches the surface of why I think they would be amazing parents. In July 2010, Richelle's sister Olivia gave birth to a little boy named Owen. At seven months old, Owen was diagnosed with a rare chromosome disorder. Over the past year, as Owen and his parents have adjusted to living with this challenge, I have watched Eric and Richelle offer endless love and support to both Owen and his parents. They love and care for Owen as if he is their own child and his joyous interaction with them further reveals to me their potential as wonderful parents. Any child who walks into Eric and Richelle's home would be blessed a thousand times over! | "Any child who walks into Eric and Richelle’s home would be blessed a thousand times over!" ~Samantha
26: Eric and Richelle are a wonderful couple that we have known for several years. (Dan has known Richelle since childhood and played on the same hockey team as Eric. Sarah has known Richelle and Eric since her marriage to Dan six years ago.) We have been impressed with the loving, caring, compassionate attitude Eric and Richelle share towards all aspects of life, especially the adoption of a child to join their family. Richelle and Eric have been on the journey towards adoption for many years. During those years it was obvious Eric and Richelle would be terrific parents to a child of their own someday. Their kindness and patience with their foster children had the usual frustrations: attachment concerns with the children, difficulty with the children establishing a bond, arranging and rearranging schedules to accommodate appointments, and the general concern and worry over the well-being of the children. These frustrations, however, never appeared to overwhelm them; instead they seemed to make Richelle and Eric more committed to helping children. Richelle's background in education and current pursuit of a Masters in Social Work continue to show this commitment, as does their desire to adopt a child. As close friends that have two children of our own we have had several opportunities to observe Eric and Richelle interact with children. Recently our three year old, Saffron, greatly enjoyed chasing Eric in our yard with her, Powerwheel then driving to the "store" to buy him ice cream; this was several weeks ago and she continues to remind us of it! Our infant, Ruby, enjoyed laughing and cooing at both of them. These are just a few of the numerous examples of what will make Eric and Richelle terrific parents. Both Eric and Richelle have shown a great sense of humor, gentle spirit, and an ability to talk to children that we rarely get to see in both a husband and a wife pair. As such, we highly recommend Eric and Richelle be given the opportunity to adopt a child of thier own! | I worked with Richelle in a supervisory position from 11/2009 – 10/2010. We worked at an agency that provides services for special needs children. She is a Therapeutic Staff Support and I was the Behavioral Specialist Consultant for the same client at the time. Richelle was always supportive of the child’s progress, focusing on positive reinforcement and proactive techniques (Behavior charts, relaxation techniques, review of expectations and coping skills) as much as possible rather than only reactive. She was also sensitive to this child, and willing to take time out to talk with this client about what he was feeling if he was having a hard time, or a bad day. She was an active force in this child’s life and well-being, and I believe that this will come into play in her parenting as well. I was glad to work with Richelle and get to know her as a person, and am excited for her to become a mother, as she will be a wonderful one. | "Eric and Richelle have shown a great sense of humor, gentle spirit, and an ability to talk to children " ~Dan, Sarah, Saffron and Ruby | "I am excited for her to become a mother" ~Cassandra
27: I have been a member at my church since 1977. Over the years, I have been involved in various programs for children and for years I helped with the bus ministry. Children from all over the area were given the opportunity to attend our church. Somewhere in the mist of the ministry came a cute set of twin girls and their little brother.How we prayed for each child and their families. I knew there was something special about Richelle and Olivia right after I witnessed one of them turning thier eye lids inside out during morning worship. Our work was cut out for us! Over the years, you lose contact with the kids, but some wander back from time to time. How exciting it is to see both girls attending with thier husbands in recent years. They always sit in front of me when they attend, and being the people watcher I am, I watched them. Richelle and Eric became foster parents, something that I admired them doing, being so young and without having children of their own. How wonderful it was to see them putting an importance on church attendance in the childrens' lives that they were in charge of. I always was amazed at how well they worked together with their foster children, always in a positive way A little over one year ago, Richelle's sister, Olivia, gave birth to Owen. What a cute little guy he is. Right from the start, Olivia allowed Eric and Richelle to play an important role in Owen's life. | Some Sundays, it is Eric and Richelle who bring Owen to church after having him for the night. I can honeslty say, I have never seen a young couple work so well together in tending to Owen as his aunt and uncle. They will make a great team as parents and in this day and age, that is very important for the future of family life. So I guess what I would like to see is Richelle and Eric being able to experience parenthood and raise another little eye lid roller. After all, you can't have too many of those in today's society! | "They will make a great team as parents!" ~Jonnie