S: Jill & Thad
BC: Thank you for taking a look at us!
FC: Jill & Thad
1: Hello, | As we started to write this letter, we realized how hard it would be to really convey who we are with a few words and photos. It also hit home how brave and selfless you must be for considering adoption. We hope you'll be able to get a clear sense of who we are as individuals, as a couple, and as hopeful parents in the pages that follow. To start off, here's a few things we'd like you to know about us: | Both of us have always wanted to be parents. We know this adventure will be full of moments of joy and love, along with sleep deprivation, stinky diapers, and tears. We couldn't be more excited to get started. We wouldn't be where we are today without the love and support of our amazing family. They are eagerly looking forward to welcoming a new addition! We are not afraid to be different. We've made some decisions, such as living abroad for a few years, that were unconventional and took some guts and confidence that everything would turn out alright. We have two dogs who are part of our family, and we love them immensely. We promise to be the best parents we can be. We know we're not perfect and there will be stumbling blocks along the way, but we will love and cherish our future children, and look forward to helping them grow into kind, respected, and loving individuals. | So, welcome to our life! We hope this profile book helps you decide if we are a good match. Whether or not you decide to make an adoption plan or choose us as your child's adoptive parents, we hope you realize what a strong person you are. Thank you so much for taking a look at us. | Lots of love, Jill and Thad
2: Our Story: It all started with some lemurs....... | We met in college, where we were both tour guides for our work-study jobs. We helped teach young children and college students about lemurs, a rare primate that is only found in the wild in Madagascar. After graduating we started hanging out more as friends - this is when we discovered how much we have in common: our love of animals and being outdoors, our strong ties to family, and our desire to see the world and travel. Pretty soon we were completely head-over-heels in love.
3: Then came the hard part: Thad left to pursue graduate school in England while Jill was still working in the US. We were long-distance for over two years, and though it was challenging, we learned that our relationship could withstand anything. We got married in 2007 on a farm near Jill's hometown, and then lived in England together for several years. Our love and commitment to each other has continued to grow. We now live in northern Virginia with our two pups, Phoenix and Isis.
4: Meet Jill | I think I'd describe myself as down-to-earth, kind, and fun-loving. I grew up in a small town in NC with my parents and younger brother, Curtis. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins lived nearby, so I have always been very close to them. We got together for every holiday and family birthday, and still do whenever we can. I've always loved to read and write (I was never very good at math!), and have always been fascinated with the outdoors. In my spare time I love hiking, playing with our dogs in the yard, and dancing. I took ballet, tap, and jazz when I was young, and still love to dance today - every week you can find me in the front row of my Zumba class! I've also taken African and Middle Eastern dance classes since I graduated from college. I studied environmental science and policy in college, and anthropology in graduate school. I'm a project manager in DC for a professional society - I have to stay very organized to be good at my job, and I love it. Once we have a little one, I hope to take as much time off as possible, and then either work part time or stay at home for a while. I don't want to miss out on any of those early milestones if I can help it!
5: A few favorites: Musical artist: Rihanna, U2 Movie: Dirty Dancing TV Show: How I Met Your Mother Comfort food: Pizza Soda: Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi Dessert: Ice cream Children's book: Harry Potter series Vacation spot: Cornwall, England Sport to watch: College Basketball Sport to play: Soccer | Thad loves Jill: Jill is one of the warmest and most loving people that I have ever met. She is my best friend, my partner in life, and the person that I rely on completely. She is always there to support me, make me laugh, and care for me. Her adventurous nature, her attention to detail, and her sunny disposition make her a wonderful wife, and they will make her a great mother. Whether it is cooking, doing home improvements, traveling through new countries, or parenting, I will always be happy to face new challenges with her. Her willingness to try new things and to jump right into them makes her the ideal person to be my partner on the journey we have undertaken. With her beside me, I know that we can face and overcome anything. Most importantly, I will forever love Jill because she is my person and I am hers! | Studying abroad in Botswana, 2002 | Times Square, celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary, 2012 | 3 years old, 1984
6: Meet Thad | A few favorites: Music: Johnny Cash, Hayseed-Dixie, Black Eyed Peas Movies: O Brother, Where Art Thou?, any Kubrick's films Novel: Ulysses by James Joyce TV Show: Doctor Who & Top Gear Fancy Food: Any cured meat! Soda: Cheerwine (its a NC thing!) Vacation Activity: Exploring new places Way to Relax: Chill with my pups! Sport to Play: Baseball Sport to Watch: College Basketball | I am a laid-back, outgoing, and inquisitive person. I grew up as a preacher's kid in rural NC. We lived close to my large extended family and, while I was an only child, I grew up a member of the larger church families that my dad pastored. I had an active childhood and was constantly encouraged to try new things. My fondest memories are of learning new skills - making biscuits, framing walls, or shucking corn - at the side of people who loved me. Once we have a child, I hope to pass on many of those skills and others I have learned in the same way. I always enjoyed school, especially history! Today, after getting my doctorate in the history of science, I work in a small museum in Alexandria. During my spare time, I fix things in the house, putter around the garden, watch movies, and read. | Giving a tour to Chubby Checker, 2011 | Two years old, 1983
7: Jill loves Thad: | I think part of the reason I fell in love with Thad is because I always knew he would make a great father one day. He is extremely loyal - I know I can always count on him for support and advice, and he's also a great listener. I could always tell he had a great deal of love and patience with kids and pets, which was extremely important to me. I tend to be the organizer and planner, so his slightly more impulsive personality often helps me take a step back and enjoy the ride. He makes me laugh, and after being together for almost a decade we've discovered that we can talk and confide in each other about everything. I know he will always be there, whether he's cheering me on or wiping away my tears, and I know he'll do the same for our future children. I truly can't imagine having a more supportive, loving, and devoted husband. Oh, did I mention he can cook? ;) | A few months old, 1981 | On the train with Phoenix, 2007
8: Introducing Phoenix & Isis | Isis as a puppy | The day we brought Isis home! | Phoenix's first time at the beach
9: We have two furry family members who mean a lot to us. Phoenix and Isis are both mixed-breed rescue dogs, and they add so much joy to our lives. We consider ourselves lucky to have two such well-behaved pups with sweet personalities. They enjoy romping around our yard on a daily basis, and we love taking them on long walks, hikes, and vacations. Phoenix is 8 years old, and he joined our family in 2006. Isis is 1.5 years old and became part of our family in 2012. They are both great with kids!
10: We are lucky to have several hobbies in common: cooking (and eating!), traveling, and being outdoors. We cook together almost every night – some of our favorite meals include roast chicken, homemade soup, and chili with cornbread. We also love making our own NC-style BBQ, and eating the veggies, herbs, and fruit from our garden. We traveled a lot when we lived in England, and love exploring new places together. We can't wait to embark on new adventures with kids in tow, and look forward to introducing them to new cities and countries. | Some of Our Favorite Things... | Jamaica | France | Belgium | Scotland | Oxford, England
11: Italy | Spain | Jamaica | Morocco | Morocco | Mexico | Cornwall, England
12: HOME | Below; our upstairs bathroom, shortly after it was finished. | Right: our bedroom, after we made it larger with an extension on the back of the house, installed new flooring and molding, and painted everything ourselves. The baby's room will be just a few steps away. | Our | Sweet Home
13: When we first saw our house it was a diamond in the rough. We've gradually put a lot of sweat, tears, and love into making our house a home during the past few years. We now have an open kitchen, bigger bedrooms, a new bathroom, and a fun color scheme that reflects our tastes. It's not a huge or elaborate house, but it has plenty of space for a growing family (4 bedrooms & 2 bathrooms) and we love calling it home. We can easily walk to the metro, a park and playground, and the elementary school. Members of our community come from a variety of backgrounds, represent many different races and cultures, and include retirees as well as young families with children. | Our kitchen is definitely the heart of our home - we spend a lot of time hanging out and preparing meals in here.
14: Our (Big, amazing, crazy, loving) FAMILY | With Jill's mom and Curtis | Jill's extended family | Thad with his mom | Jill with her mom and brother, Curtis
15: Thad's extended family | With Jill's Dad and Curtis | Thad's mom with her siblings | Thad with his Dad | We would need a separate book to completely describe our extended families! Both our parents are divorced, so there are lots of stepparents and step-siblings thrown in the mix. We’re both particularly close to our moms. Jill’s mom is a kindergarten teacher in Virginia, and her younger brother Curtis is a graphic designer in NC. Jill's dad loves golf and works in sports retail in NC. Thad’s mom is retired and lives at the beach in SC, and his dad is a Methodist minister in NC. Most of the rest of our family is scattered in NC and NJ. We normally visit them for special events and holidays, and friends and family often come to stay with us and see the sights in DC. They are all very excited that we are adopting and look forward to welcoming a new addition to our family!
16: Family Traditions: Beach Week! | Jill's extended family has gone to the beach every year since before she was born. Beach week involves lots of cooking and eating. Most mornings there is a huge breakfast with eggs, bacon, toast, home-grown tomatoes, and fruit, and we take turns cooking in the evenings. During the days everyone hangs out at the beach and the pool, and we love having the chance to play with the kids and take them swimming in the ocean. Jill's grandma really enjoys having the entire family together like this every year - she is 94, spunky, and going strong! The family beach vacation is always a big highlight of our year.
18: Family traditions: Holidays
19: Between the food, decorations, and spending time with family, we love holidays! We always travel south to spend Memorial Day weekend with Thad's mom at the beach. We love carving pumpkins for Halloween, and Jill especially loves going all out and decorating our porch for Thanksgiving with plenty of pumpkins. Christmas is a really important holiday for us. We always travel to NC to visit our entire family. Putting up a real tree with sentimental ornaments that have been made by family members is something we always enjoy, along with baking Christmas cookies!
20: Friends | 1: Catching up with friends from college 2: Thad's best friend's wedding 3: Friends at our wedding reception 4: Thad's college roommate visiting us in Oxford 5: Jill with friends from work
21: We are lucky to be surrounded by amazing, diverse, and supportive friends who are excited to see us become parents one day. | 1: Chris & Matt, friends from Oxford, England 2: Chris & Piper, local friends 3: Jill's best friend Sarah & her husband, Jeremiah 4: Friends from Zumba class 5: Thad with Chris & Victoria at Founder's Feast in Oxford 6 - Thad & Kiku
22: We Love the Kids in our Lives | Babysitting Freya, while her parents (friends from college) went to a concert | Holding baby Ryan (one of Jill's first cousins, once removed) when he's a few months old | Handing out costume contest prizes at our neighborhood Halloween fair
23: Playing with Ryan | Jill with her mom, holding Ryan as a newborn | Hanging out on the beach with Tyler and Kaitlyn (more young cousins)
24: Us as hopeful Parents: | In trying to build our family, we experienced infertility. It was very difficult at times, but the challenges brought us even closer together. Rather than pursue more invasive treatments, we chose adoption. We’ve always envisioned a family of at least two kids, and hope to adopt more than once – there’s a really good chance our first child will have a younger brother or sister one day! We’ve also seen how amazing adoption can be firsthand: Jill’s cousin, Stephanie, and her husband Rodd adopted their son Garrett from Romania. He’s now 13, thriving, and an integral part of our extended family. We each have a goofy side, and we want to share that with our children, and look forward to laughing and being silly with them. As parents we want to provide our kids with as many opportunities as possible, teach them the value of hard work, and help them develop healthy, secure identities. We want to raise our kids to be kind and open-minded, and will give them as many chances as possible to experience different places and cultures. Most of all though, we want our children to know that we will always love them fiercely and unconditionally. We hope this book helped you get a glimpse of the real “us.” You should know that we’re just a normal couple. Sometimes after work we call it a day, order a pizza, and veg in front of the TV instead of finishing a house project or cooking a healthy meal. Sometimes we disagree, and our house is not always sparkling clean (especially with two dogs!). But, we make a good team because we can talk about anything and we make each other laugh - we think these same qualities about our relationship will help us be good parents one day. We can’t promise to be perfect parents, but if you decide that we are a good match, we promise to fall in love with your child and be completely devoted to him or her. We promise to teach them about adoption and what a loving, amazing person you are, to become the best parents we can possibly be, and to always be grateful. Thank you so much for taking the time to learn a bit about us. We wish you peace and comfort in making the best decision for you and your child. | Sincerely, Jill & Thad