1: In our years together we we have built a happy, healthy and thoroughly enjoyable life together and now we want to share that with a child. The adoption journey has been another opportunity for us to grow and learn and has added to our appreciation of the life we have created. Now we look forward to dedicating ourselves to being parents and continuing to grow and learn as a family. We hope we have been able to capture our lives in these pages so you can get to know us. Thank you for reading.
2: We almost missed each other. Bob was a partner in a graphic design firm but had just decided to leave the business. Willo applied for a job at his firm and was hired right after he left. We may never have crossed paths. Fortunately we got to know each other when Bob dropped by his old office now and then. We became friends then began dating in 2001, about a year after we met. Six months after that we got engaged in Venice, Italy and in another year we were married on our favorite nearby island. Our time together has been great fun, always interesting and very happy. We feel so grateful to have met when we did. Recently we came across this quote that got us thinking: Feelings of worth can flourish only in an atmosphere where individual differences are appreciated, mistakes are tolerated, communication is open, and rules are flexible — the kind of atmosphere that is found in a nurturing family. This is a glimpse into not only how we want to raise our child, but into what our home is like right now. It describes the respect we show each other and feel everyone deserves. Contemplating this inspired us to think more about our main reason for adopting. A large part of why we feel so ready to raise a child is that we have already created a supportive environment in which to thrive. Our next step is to share that with a child and their birth family. We love to laugh. Even when things aren’t going well, one of us is always ready with a funny comment or observation to keep us feeling positive about the situation. We are looking forward to watching our child develop their own sense of humor and laugh right along with us.
3: Bob works as a website developer. He runs a small company with four other employees. He works from home about half the time, and commutes 10 minutes to his office the other half. In addition to being a bit of a computer nerd, Bob is also into photography, reading, making music on the piano, guitar and computer, and tackling home improvement projects. To stay fit, Bob loves playing tennis because “it’s so fun, you don’t even realize you’re working out”. He also likes walking, biking and usually manages to ski a few times every winter. | Willo loves to hike, bike and walk and if she didn’t play so much tennis she would love to hike, bike and walk more. During the tennis season, January through December (yes, all the months), she has to shoehorn all other exercise into her busy tennis schedule. | Willo is a stay at home mom...almost! She loves to cook and garden and manages the household...so maybe, even if she doesn’t quite want to say so, she’s a housewife. Weird. Willo used to do graphic design for work and still occasionally does some projects. Mostly though she expresses her creativity in the kitchen and with projects like sewing baby clothes out of Goodwill finds or building the perfect fruit fly trap.
4: I grew up on a horse ranch in Montana where my parents trained quarter horses and raised cattle. My older brother and I had a lot of freedom to go out on adventures. We didn’t always get along back then though, so sometimes it was better if we went our separate ways.. I would set off to climb rocks, pick flowers and berries or build a fort. I also loved all the animals around the ranch, especially the new baby horses each spring and the occasional litter of kittens. I was a good student but as a kid I was more interested in dance classes, acting in plays and sprinting around the track jumping hurdles. I had always planned to go to college after high school but when the day came I decided to take some time off from school and work as a nanny, which I did for three years.
5: When I went back to school I studied philosophy and photography. After two years I ended up taking three more years off where I mostly waited tables and enjoyed life. When I went back to school I finally knew that I wanted to study art. I got my degree in graphic design and then worked at a design firm through which I met Bob. After getting married and doing some traveling, we opened our own design company and worked together. Now my focus is on our home and garden where I try to create a warm and comfortable environment for us to live. Outside I work to keep up with the weeds and pruning as well as grow organic fruit and vegetables. Inside I decorate the interior as well as tackle the never ending task of keeping things clean and organized. Mainly though, I cook. Finding and fine tuning recipes is a passion of mine and leads me to another favorite pastime, which is eating good food.
6: All my life I've struggled with severe headaches, but a few years back they became daily, and around the same time another health problem appeared. Between the two I could barely function for five years. Throughout all the unsuccessful medical treatments and constant pain I tried to keep a positive outlook and I think I succeeded most of the time. Bob was an incredible support during it all, which I am so grateful for, since his own life was deeply impacted by my disability. I came out the other side of this dark time a stronger person and somehow even a happier person than I had ever been before. I only have a few minor headaches a month now and I appreciate every day that I can enjoy without pain! One of my other pursuits is tennis. I loved to watch tennis on TV those years while I was so ill and I was determined that when I got well enough I would start learning to play. At first I would feel sick while playing, and afterwards, but I kept at it. Now, after several years of building up my strength, I can hit the court four or more days a week. I play on a few teams and I am trying learn more strategy and get better at competing. I love the challenge of improving my mental, emotional and physical skills all at once. Also going from being too disabled to move to not getting tired after two hours of tennis makes me feel practically invincible!
7: I can’t stop obsessively playing word and puzzle games on my phone. At least it’s good for my brain! I can parallel park almost any car into almost any space, frequently in one motion. I love to listen to audio books while I cook or garden and especially when I clean since cleaning is not the most exciting task and it makes the time fly. I really love cats. I show restraint by not bringing home a new cat any chance I get. Two is enough...for now...I guess. Trying out new recipes is one of my main hobbies and I love cooking foods from other cultures – especially things we have never eaten before. Throughout the year I plan a few trips that we don’t necessarily intend to actually take. It’s fun to explore places virtually, and sometimes we do end up taking these trips later on and I am already prepared!
8: I still live in the Northwest city I was born in. Even though I’ve traveled to half the 50 states and several foreign countries, I still love everything about my city – the natural beauty, the questionable weather, the down-to-earth people, the incredible food – and haven’t found anywhere I like better. I grew up an only child. I was lucky to have parents who were always available and who always encouraged me to learn, explore and discover. My parents lived in the same house until I was 25, and when I was young I made close friendships in the neighborhood that remain my closest friends to this day. At college I majored in Philosophy. When I graduated I was already working at running my own music recording studio, which ended up being my career for the next 10 years. I also occasionally did photography work for my studio clients and for local and national jazz magazines.
9: Over time I became interested in graphic design and started designing CDs and cassettes for my clients. Eventually I realized I was having more fun doing graphic design than recording bands, so I closed the studio to devote myself to design full time. Shortly after that I joined with two of my long-time friends to form a professional graphic design company. When my mom became ill and passed away (my dad had died several years before), I decided it was time to step back and take stock of my life. I realized graphic design wasn’t truly the right fit for me, and I made the decision to leave my company and take some time off to rediscover my passion in life. During the next year I traveled to New Zealand, Italy, England and Hawaii, and took a 5000-mile solo motorcycle trip through 8 of the western states. I also fell in love with Willo, who I met after she started working as a graphic designer at my company right around the time I left.
10: Together Willo and I decided to form a new website development and graphic design company, with me handling the programming and client interaction (which turned out to be a much better fit for me than being a designer) and Willo doing graphic design. That was 9 years ago, and the company is still doing great. Although it might sound like a cliche, I feel like the most valuable lesson I learned through all of this is that we can do anything if we put our minds to it. Whether teaching myself graphic design, web programming or how to run a business, coping with the death of someone close, or getting over a fear of travel or of public speaking, with determination and belief in myself anything is possible. I believe in sharing this lesson, helping encourage others - friends, family, employees, and the child we adopt - to take chances and pursue their dreams, to know there will be challenges but also that they can push through and be successful. I’m excited about the chance to both teach and learn from our child, to support them as they find their place in life, and to share their experiences with our child’s birth family.
11: As a kid, I was a serious Lego fanatic. I recently started accumulating Lego again but I have convinced myself that I’m doing so “for the benefit of our future child.” Hmm. I really enjoy learning to do new things. I have realized this usually includes a period of being really, really bad at whatever the new thing is, but as long as I don’t let it discourage me, I can forge ahead and hopefully come out the other side with new abilities. I’m fascinated by what makes other people and cultures tick. If I wasn’t a web developer I would probably be a psychologist or a sociologist. I grew up a dog person, but in college I had a girlfriend who introduced me to cats. Since then it’s been cats, cats, cats, all the way. | I have a hard time picking one favorite food, or one favorite dessert. But good fish n chips is high on the list. Willo has a photo album of me putting things on my head. This has grown to more than 20 photos, and is a popular topic with family and friends.
12: We feel very fortunate that we get along so well with our family. We consider them our friends and look forward to seeing them. We know not everyone is so lucky. Our friends, in a similar vein, are like family. They are people we know we can count on and who we choose to make part of our traditions. We don’t have a large circle of friends and family but we have a good group that likes to get together to hang out and laugh. Oh, and EAT, especially eat! We count our cats, Little Guy and Legsy, as tiny, adorable members of our family as well and we love them. (Even when they are bad, Little Guy, we’re talking about you here.) They have quite different personalities. Little Guy likes to be where the people are and be acknowledged for his cuteness, but isn’t that excited about people trying to pet him. Legsy loves her pets like crazy but chooses to hang out with people only when they are doing safe activities, like sitting or lying down. Little Guy is a bit grumpy and enjoys his many bad behaviors. Legsy is very sweet but is a bit paranoid that anything could be a trick or a trap. We are happy to discover recently that they are both good around babies and kids.
14: We think our home is the perfect balance of modern style and warm, cozy comfort. The house was built in 1970 and we remodeled it completely in 2004, adding windows, opening up walls and adding dramatic color.. When the weather is bad we like to cozy up in front of the fireplace and read, play a game or work on a puzzle together. We’ve even been known to sit around the piano and see how many songs we can figure out. When the sun shines we enjoy the grassy back yard or sitting outside on our front patio. We live on a hillside with a beautiful view of a lake, lots of trees and mountains, though we’re only about 20 minutes from a vibrant downtown.
15: Our neighborhood has a very strong sense of community, and lots of people know each other. We have a neighborhood picnic every summer, a holiday party in December, and both of us are active in our neighborhood association. The streets are quiet, with little traffic, and neighbors frequently go for walks and wave hello to each other when they pass. A short walk down the hill and we are on a paved city bike trail, surrounded by trees and shrubs, that runs for many miles in both directions. A short walk one direction leads to a quiet neighborhood park with a new play structure and supervised swim area. In the other direction is a much bigger park with lots of activities, including sailing, tennis, soccer and more.
16: Our approach to holidays is pretty casual. Sometimes we plan an “event” but sometimes we just let things happen spontaneously, which can mean a quiet meal with a few friends or an impromptu pumpkin carving that goes into the wee hours. Sometimes we go big and do something crazy like the Mad Tea Party we hosted for Easter one year. We just like to have fun, laugh and enjoy ourselves so we plan our holidays to match our moods. For instance this Thanksgiving was just a small dinner and a night relaxing by the fire, and Christmas was a week-long eating fest with all of our close family and friends. Whatever we do we like things to be pretty stress-free. We feel similarly about traditions. We are a little sentimental about things we consider to be important.. Like our yearly (almost) trips to the tulips to celebrate Willo’s birthday and our friend’s Gotcha Day (the day she was adopted from China.) We love the tradition and we try hard to make it happen every year but we didn’t stress out about it the few times in the last 20 years that we couldn’t pull it off. We just found another way to mark that year. A favorite tradition for us is having a fire. There doesn’t have to be any specific occasion. We just like to take a normal day, especially a dismal rainy one, and make it into a special time to hang out together. It’s a spontaneous way to relax and unplug from the world and make an ordinary day into a memorable one.
18: Our Pledge To Our Child We will always encourage you to explore, discover and create We will help you realize that opportunities to learn are everywhere We will help you become strong, self-confident and self-sufficient We will always give you a safe place to explore from, and a safe home to return to We will join with you in the joy of learning We will show you and teach you compassion and empathy We will help you to love others and love yourself We will make your adoption and your birth family part of your story, always
19: Willo Looks Forward To: I often find myself thinking of ideas for how to make our child’s room into a magical place. I get excited and I want to start on it now but I feel the interests and personality of our child are what the magic of the room will be built on. It will be their own personal space created just for them. Will they be a reader, a climber, an artist, an explorer? I can’t wait to find out! Bob Looks Forward To: I’m excited to watch our child learn, to see things that are initially difficult for them become easy, and to share in their sense of accomplishment and happiness as they learn to master each new challenge in life. We tend to forget that virtually everything we do – from feeding ourselves or sitting upright to reading, playing sports, using a computer or simply getting along with others – was something we had to learn. I want to celebrate our child’s exploration and growth as they try new things, experience success, and then perhaps even help others learn those things too. | While we are certainly excited to adopt, we are also excited about making our child’s birth family part of our extended family. Both of us come from relatively small families, so each individual family member becomes that much more important in our lives. At the same time we respect everyone’s desire for privacy and independence, and recognize that a birth parent may want to maintain some space, whether just at certain times or throughout the relationship. We do believe it’s important for a child to know about their birth parents; it helps them understand their own story, and feel good about having been adopted. We also believe it’s valuable for birth parents to know their child. Even though parenting may not have been possible, birth parents have much to share and a relationship with the child allows them to contribute in meaningful ways as they grow up, which benefits everyone. We look forward to supporting that connection and forming our own connections with birth parents as well. | Adding to our Family