S: Mark, Jennifer and Niyla 2013 Adoption Journey
FC: JENNIFER | M A R K
1: THE GIFT OF LIFE I didn’t give you the gift of life But in my heart I know The love I feel is deep and real As if it had been so For us to have each other Is like a dream come true! No, I didn’t give you The gift of life Life gave me the gift of you ~Author Unknown
2: JENNIFER | M A R K | N I Y L A
3: Dear Birthmother, Mark and I are extremely honored that you have chosen to read our letter to get to know a little more about our lives. We pray that as you look through our profile you'll experience a connection between our desire for parenting, through the gift of adoption, and your brave decision in considering an adoption plan for your child. We thank you for opening your heart and being so strong in making a selfless decision as a mother. As you will see, Mark and I love doing a variety of different things and we have a lot of fun with friends and family. We met in 1999 and married in 2001. We love traveling and going to local sporting events that support the "home" team as well as spending time around the dinner table with family and friends. Both Mark and I have envisioned being parents and have dreamed about raising our children. This strong desire to become parents led us to adoption and we welcomed our first baby, Niyla, home on April 26, 2012. She is a precious and sweet girl who has brought happiness to our lives and we are with great expectancy for the added joy that our second child will bring to our family as well. We know that our family will become complete through adoption just as God makes us complete by adopting us into His family. He has a great plan for us and we look forward to pouring our love into raising our children. We know this is a huge decision for you. We want you to know that our promise is that your child will be raised in a loving, Christian home and always nurtured and surrounded by many family and friends that will love your child unconditionally. With our heartfelt prayers,
4: We met at a university in Oklahoma and were married two years later. We had a small winter wedding with family and friends. This year we will celebrate our twelfth wedding anniversary. Being married for over forty years, our parents are great examples to us. People that know us say we have a great relationship. We have had our challenges, but these things have brought us closer together and closer to the Lord. Without God, we know we wouldn't have made it through life's challenges. He's the one who encourages us, lifts us up and keeps us going every day. We are delighted being Niyla's parents as we watch her grow and develop. It is a pleasure to play with her, read to her, have play dates with friends and experience all of her first milestones. We also entertain frequently at our house while visiting with family and friends. Mexican food is our favorite, whether cooking it ourselves or eating out at a restaurant. We love to travel and have experienced many places together such as Florida, Colorado, New York, Las Vegas and Hawaii. On the weekends, we relax cuddling up to the fireplace with a movie during the cold months or go for a bike ride in the spring and summertime. Year round we are involved in helping Jennifer's parents pioneer a church, where we are board members. Mark is the Technical Director and Jennifer sings on the worship team. We love music and Christian concerts as well as the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. In our leisure time we go to different sporting events. Jennifer's sister has a boat and from time to time we go fishing with them experiencing Wisconsin's lakes. We look forward to sharing all of these things and more with our children providing them with a world of fun opportunities. | US | Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra | Annual Milwaukee Admirals Game
5: Annual Christmas Party | Shopping in Las Vegas | 10 Year Anniversary | Touring a Local Railroad Museum | We Love Movies | Happy New Year | Pewaukee Lake | Danny Gokey Concert | Mark and I are the best of friends and spending time with each other continues to make our relationship strong and our family even stronger.
6: About Jennifer, by Mark Jennifer is the love of my life and my best friend. I met Jennifer during my senior year of college. I was attracted to her smarts and intelligence. She is a person who puts her heart and mind into the things she is passionate about. She is very compassionate and caring and loves to teach, encourage and develop children. As an elementary school teacher, she excelled in her career for seven years. Being nominated for teacher of the year for her entire school was one of her top accomplishments. Currently, she is a stay at home wife, mother and the church secretary assisting her parents in pioneering their church. She also sings on the worship team. Jennifer loves spending time with our families and friends and is a very active person as well as a great cook. As a mother, Jennifer has many valuable role models and I have seen her loving and nurturing personality toward our daughter just as our mothers were and are to us. I know her attentiveness and care along with her excitable personality will provide a whole world of fun and love for all of our children. I greatly admire these qualities as she is always encouraging me to do my best and to give 100% in all that I do. Jennifer has helped me to reach my potential in my career by encouraging me to pursue my interests and is always there for me as a helpmate throughout life. I love her and care for her always and continue to desire the very best for her in life. | Teacher of the Year | Friend's Grand-daughter | Jennifer & nephews at Hoover Dam | We Go To The Brewers Game Every Year
7: Things I love and the fun I like to have...friends, children, being a mom, having fun on the beach, sewing, cooking, driving a convertible, watching my nephews play basketball and more...
8: I met Mark in Marriage and Family Counseling Class in college. After class, he walked me to where I was going, talked with me and I remember thinking that he was a really nice and friendly person. After spending a lot of time together on campus with friends, we went on our first date. Our love grew from there. Every night I would look forward to Mark calling me and enjoyed his company until our phones lost their charge. His father was one of my professors, which I didn't know at first. Often times, we would stop by his office when Mark and I were finished with classes. After a while, my mom could tell I had found the one that I would marry. | Marrying Mark has been the joy of my life as he has many qualities I admire, which his parents instilled in him while he was growing up in a Christian home and school. He is extremely smart and loves to take apart any electronic gadget and put it back together fixed. He loves sports and was a soccer athlete growing up. He is a kind, gentle and compassionate person who is optimistic and does his best to encourage those around him. Watching him become a father has allowed me to see a great example of a person who spends quality time with his child and direct her in a Godly path. Mark is really excited to become a father once again as another child joins our family! He loves family and goes out of his way to see them, whether that means traveling far or just stopping by for dinner. He has a great sense of humor, is an avid reader and a hard worker always aiming to learn more to better himself including his recent graduate studies. He encourages me and is a great comforter. Mark is very affectionate and is always careful to only say things that are uplifting. These are a few of his many great strengths. He is my best friend and the love of my life! | Mark is thrilled being a Dad and can't wait to love our next child as well! | Mark & nephew at Brewers Game | Lambeau with Brother-in-law | About Mark, by Jennifer
9: I have a knack for technology whether that entails building robots, teaching my nephews or running sound at church. Being a Dad brings me great fulfillment and happiness. Watching and playing football, home projects and hiking are some of my other hobbies.
10: About Niyla, by Mark and Jennifer Niyla brought a fresh light and love to our home the night we brought her home. She is a sweet, content girl who has a wonderful determination about her. Her smile and eyes draw a lot of attention everywhere she goes. She already shows great curiosity and explores everything around her. Anything musical or with animals catches her attention in an instant. She loves being around people especially other children. We know that having a little brother or sister is going to bring her great delight. Like most girls, she loves to look in the mirror and have her picture taken! Niyla also enjoyed her first swimming lessons and splashing in the water. We look forward to more of these exciting new adventures with her little brother or sister. Building our family through adoption is part of God's plan and Niyla is the beautiful beginning for all that God has in store for our family. Romans 8:15b ...but you have received the Spirit of adoption, by which we cry, Abba, Father.
11: We are an active couple and are always looking forward to being in the company of our friends. Entertaining guests at our home is a fun environment filled with food, laughter and games. Jennifer likes cooking and baking with her friends while trying different foods and recipes. Her friend, Felecia, taught her and her sister how to make egg rolls and spring rolls - Mark's favorite! On holidays such as the 4th of July, we love to grill out and watch the fireworks at our local park. Our friends have supported and encouraged us throughout our adoption journey and were thrilled to welcome Niyla home. They are looking forward to the newest addition to our family as well. Most of our friends are married and have children. We look forward to our children taking part in these friendships also. | FRIENDS | The heartfelt counsel of a friend is as sweet as perfume and incense. Proverbs 27:9
12: Jennifer has a small family with many aunts, uncles and cousins across the United States. Her father, the youngest of four, is retired from the computer industry and is now the pastor of a local church. Her mother, the oldest girl of five children, has worked in the tax business for thirty-six years. Both of her parents enjoy being hospitable and helping others in need, which has carried over into their love for church ministry. Jennifer's strong family values and conviction for Christian education will carry on with our children. Jennifer's older brother Jim, married her best friend, Kristy, three years ago. They welcomed their first child, Gabriella in September 2011. Since we live so close, we frequently have dinner, go to the movies and hang out together. Jennifer and her older sister, Jessica, are thirteen months apart. She has two boys, Richard and Ryan, with her husband Rich. Jessica is very excited to be an auntie once again as they have a very close relationship. | Mark has a very large extended family on his mother's side that lives mostly in Oklahoma and Missouri. We have family reunions every two years in Branson along with every other Thanksgiving and Christmas. His parents were raised with strong Christian values that date back to the circuit riding preachers. The family is very close and many are in education - at least fourteen! Mark's father is an only child and is retired from his long career as a university professor. His mother was a junior high jazz band teacher and the middle child of three girls. They are wonderful grandparents and although we are sad that his mother has gone to be with the Lord, we always look forward to his dad visiting us several times a year. Mark's sister, Heather, is three years older. She is married to Ronnie and has two girls and two boys. They love the outdoors in Oklahoma and usually try to visit us in the summertime. | FAMILY | Our families are excited about our adoption plan and are with great expectation in welcoming our second child!
13: EXTENDED FAMILY | We | We love getting together with our extended family. There are always a lot of cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents gathered around. We laugh, enjoy each other's company, while telling stories, eating great food and always play games!
14: We both love to travel and have been to many places around the world. Some of these include museums and historical monuments in Europe, exploring the beaches and mountains in Hawaii, touring the Statute of Liberty in New York, cruising on ships in Florida and visiting the Grand Canyon in Arizona. We cherish the moments we share together vacationing, and look forward to visiting different historical and fun places with our children. Education is very important to us and we intend to provide these exciting, educational experiences for our children. | OUR TRAVELS | Maui | New York | Tampa
15: Since our daughter came home, our travels have been more local in the Midwest. However, as our children grow older, we will expand traveling once again as we believe this is an important part of experiencing life and history. There are many places we have been that we look forward to returning to with our children, such as New York, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and the Grand Canyon. There is a lot to see and much to learn and experience! | MORE TRAVELS... | CA | OK | NV
16: Our home is a Lannon stone ranch in a well-established family neighborhood. When friends come over to visit, we hear frequent compliments of our home's peacefulness. We have made it cozy with nice decorations and improvements to reflect us. We are excited to decorate another nursery. Our neighbors are very friendly, active in the community and involved with their families. We have a lovely back yard where we like to grill out in the summertime and look forward to adding a play set for children to enjoy in the summer. | OUR HOME
17: THE FUTURE | Thank you for taking the time to read more about us. We trust this has given you a glimpse into our lives, who we are as individuals, our families and us as a couple. We hope we have given you the confidence that your child will be welcomed with open arms into our home and our families. Our promise to you is that your child will be loved unconditionally and have all the provisions needed. We will raise your child in a Christian home with Biblical values and many family traditions that will bring joy and excitement. Your child will be surrounded with compassion, consistency and stability. Above all, your child will always know the love you have for him or her and that our family is made complete because of your courageous decision. We pray the Lord guides you with wisdom, courage, and strength as you make this important plan regarding your child. We believe that adoption is one of the most unselfish acts that a mother can make, and we will always hold you in a place of honor because of this. We look forward to meeting you and talking with you in person. Always in our thoughts and prayers, Mark and Jennifer