Dear Expectant Parent(s),
We are Ashley and Shannon, a fun-loving couple living in East Tennessee. Shannon is originally from the same part of Tennessee in which we currently live, but he has lived all over the country and even in Thailand as a child. Ashley is originally from the Chicagoland area and spent most of her life there before moving to the South. We’ve been together for 6 years and have been married for 2 of those years. We have a 3-year-old Miniature Schnauzer who we think is the sweetest, smartest, most handsome puppy around. We both absolutely love doting on our goddaughters and the children of family and friends. Ashley previously worked as a nanny, in addition to working in a daycare setting with infants and toddlers. Through these experiences, we have both come to know the hard work it takes to raise a child, but also the joy that comes with seeing their innocence, along with watching them learn, grow, and experience the world through fresh eyes.
Our time together as a couple has been filled with so much love, humor, care, and joy that we are now just eager to add a child to our lives. We want to fill a child’s life with all of these beautiful emotions so their heart can overflow and they can, in turn, share their own love with the world. We’ve chosen adoption specifically as our path to parenthood because we are also excited to share this very same love, care, and joy with a child’s birth family, hopefully, you and your family.
We were both interested in adoption prior to meeting each other and have had various experiences with adoption in our lives. Shannon’s father was adopted; Ashley has family members and friends, who have been adopted, have adopted children, and who have placed children for adoption. Each of these family members and friends has impacted and enriched our lives in so many ways. Thus, when we began to talk about starting a family, it was easily determined that adoption would be our first and only choice when it came to having children. Because of our various connections with adoption, we also understand that no one person’s experience is the same as another’s; however, we look forward, with eager anticipation, to raising our child-to-be in an environment where they feel and know that they are loved and cherished by you (their birth family), us (their adoptive family), and our family (their extended family). We will be completely honest with our child about their story and hope that they will be able to hear more of their story from you, if you are willing to share your experience with them, in whatever way you are comfortable as they grow older.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for taking the time to get to know us a little better through this letter as you consider potential parents for your child.
We met while both working for the same corporation in Chicago, Illinois. Ashley noticed Shannon first, hard at work in the menu development kitchen, and went out of her way for months to make sure her path often crossed with his. Finally, in November of 2012, Shannon asked Ashley out on a date. We started to get to know each other through emails and dating. The following January, Shannon moved out of the state. We endured a long distance relationship for almost three years, falling more in love with each other with every phone call and special in-person visit; we made the most of the situation until Ashley finally moved to Tennessee to be with Shannon. Shannon asked Ashley to marry him on Christmas Eve of 2015 and we were married in August of 2016. Our past few years together have been amazing and we look forward to having a littler member join our family soon!
Shannon is a classically trained chef and has worked for lots of large food companies doing research, development, and designing new menu items. Cooking is not just a job for him, but a true passion in which he finds great satisfaction sharing food, hospitality, and phenomenal service with customers, friends, and family alike.
Ashley is a corporate training professional, specializing in creating interactive web-based learning opportunities for employees. This job allows her to combine her love and concern for people by helping them grow personally and professionally. By utilizing technology to design these learning opportunities, she also gets to make use of her creative side.
Shannon currently works only 7 minutes from our home and Ashley is fortunate enough to work from home. When a baby comes we both plan on taking the leave allowed by our jobs – 12 weeks for Ashley and 3 for Shannon. After this period, Ashley’s mother, who recently moved to Tennessee primarily for this purpose, will be employed as our nanny to help care for the baby in our home while Ashley works (and takes as many breaks as possible to be with the baby).
We have varied interests, so we can go from a quiet Saturday filled with reading and working in our garden to a Sunday of yelling at the television screen and cheering on our favorite drivers while watching a Formula One race (we never miss a Formula One race no matter if it’s airing in the middle of the night or the middle of the day). We both enjoy music of all kinds, so we often frequent concerts of our favorite artists, as well as the opera and symphony. Our weekends are often filled with the sound of vinyl records being played throughout our house. Shannon is a big guitar collector and plays guitar as well. We both also enjoy the outdoors – Ashley loves hiking and Shannon loves sailing. Finally, exploring the U.S. through travel is one of our interests. We try to vacation in a new place for both of us at least once every year. We can’t wait to explore new music, cheer on our favorite race car drivers, hike new trails, and sail new lakes with a little one someday soon.
While we enjoy doing most things together, we do have separate interests and think having them is important for our individual happiness. Shannon takes pride in lawn care, working on cars, and restoring old bikes. Ashley enjoys knitting, dancing, and seeing musicals. We can’t wait to share our individual interests with our child-to-be and to also see what types of things in which they may be interested!
The activity we most enjoy, though, is spending time with friends and family. Hospitality is not just a career for Shannon, but a way of being for both of us. We love to open our home at least once a week to family and friends for a delicious meal prepared by Chef Shannon (with Ashley serving a supporting role), laughter, and good conversation. These are big events for us that take at least two days of planning, even if we are only having two guests over. We want meals at our house to be amongst the best our family and friends have ever experienced anywhere, so we make sure to put our whole hearts into the effort. We look forward to sharing these meal prep experiences with our child-to-be, maybe having them help Shannon in the kitchen or help Ashley prep a fun activity.
We are so blessed to be surrounded by the amazing people we call our family and close-enough-to-be-family friends. First, there are Ashley’s mom and sister; they are Ashley’s best friends and Shannon’s biggest fans/cheerleaders. They both moved from Chicago to Tennessee in anticipation of us adding a child to the family and will act as grandma/full-time nanny and aunt/babysitter when the time comes. Ashley’s mom (“Nonni” to our child-to-be), an avid dancer, is looking forward to sharing this passion with her grandbaby, along with taking him or her to lots of parks, museums, and play dates with other children. Ashley’s sister, a former teacher and current librarian, can’t wait to read books to her niece or nephew, along with helping him or her learn how to read and write. Shannon’s stepdad (“Grandpa” to our child-to-be), who is 100 miles away at most, is quiet and reserved, full of wisdom, but at the same time full of humor and unexpected wit. He is looking forward to sharing his knowledge and more than a few jokes with a grandchild. Shannon’s mom passed away in 2012 and Ashley’s dad in 2007, but both of their spirits, memories, and the values they taught us remain important parts of our family that we will share with our child-to-be throughout their life.
Our friends, the family that we’ve been fortunate enough to choose over the course of our lives, are diverse in their personalities, philosophies, ethnicities, nationalities, cultures, and experiences, but are united in genuineness, along with their love and concern for mankind. Our child will be raised among a caring and fun group of well-rounded people who are everything from educators, artists, engineers, healthcare workers, business owners, lawyers, and fishermen, to tradespeople. All of them are excited and delighted by our decision to become parents through adoption.
Due to Shannon’s job we currently have two homes. The first, which is now our secondary residence that we visit about two weekends out of each month and on holidays and long weekends, is an early 20th-century mountain farmhouse that Shannon completely renovated in Southeast Tennessee. It has a wonderful gas fireplace that our puppy loves to curl up in front of and that we envision curling up in front of with our child, a beautiful chef’s kitchen designed to Shannon’s specifications where family and friends gather, and a hearth outside in the backyard where meals are prepared directly on the wood-burning fire or s’mores are made by the dozen before we feast together and then look up at the star-filled sky. We can’t wait to share in the marshmallow, chocolatey goodness with a child!
Our secondary home is located in a close-knit, well-established neighborhood where everyone knows each other and where families have lived for generations. Both the older generations and new young families come together for events such as the neighborhood schools’ plays, community soccer teams’ games in the Commons, and annual July 4th parades. It is not uncommon for neighbors to just stop by to say hello when they see we are home or for a dinner out at the one café in the neighborhood to turn into a reunion of friends. There are also tourist attractions in the neighborhood that allow us to meet all sorts of new and different people while enjoying some Starbucks coffee. This home is also just outside of the town in which Shannon grew up, so his stepdad and many of his longtime friends live nearby. They all can’t wait to meet our child-to-be and welcome them to the area.
Our other home is just 100 miles from our first and it is where we live during the week. This primary home is a two-story, federal style home on ¾ of an acre of land, with a beautiful backyard that has plenty of space for our future child to run, kick or throw a ball around, and just play. Our backyard also has beautiful, tall, old trees that are home to multiple species of birds. We spend as many days and evenings as possible grilling out in the backyard, while watching the birds flit around or fight over the birdseed that we have put out for them. The large den in this home is the focal point of the interior, with a massive fireplace and comfortable bench window seats. We can’t wait to spend cold winter weekends curled up in front of the fire with our child-to-be.
Our primary home is also in a close-knit, well-established neighborhood, not far from a larger metropolis in Northeast Tennessee. The neighborhood has a monthly newsletter and events just for residents to get to know each other and socialize. Neighbors are always out walking their dogs, or just out for a stroll to enjoy the nice weather, so passing by any of them usually results in a nice chat. Children of all ages are aplenty in this neighborhood and we’re sure our child-to-be will find lots of friends just a few doors away.
I knew within a couple months of meeting Shannon that I was head-over-heels in love with him and that he was someone with whom I wanted to share all of my life. His character in tough situations and genuine concern for others impressed me the most. He is also so knowledgeable about so many different subjects and shares my eagerness to continue to learn. I knew that I could learn from him, he was humble enough to learn from me, and that we could learn new things together. This hunger for learning and sharing knowledge carries over into his interactions with everyone. He is a very patient and gracious teacher in the kitchen, the garage, on a sailboat, or on the couch, and is always eager to listen intently to pick up any nuggets of information he can from anyone. I know he will be just as patient as he shares his knowledge with our future child and just as open to learning from him or her as they see the world from a different perspective.
I think I have a weird sense of humor and Shannon makes me laugh all the time! I really think he was made to work in the hospitality industry, as he is able to anticipate the needs of people and does everything in his power to help meet those needs. This can be anything from moving a glass out of the way before you accidentally knock it over to seeing a shopper with a lot of bags in hand from 500 feet away and waiting to hold the doors open for them, to finding a way to make someone in a bad mood smile.
Shannon strives to live simply, with as little stress as possible and is able to enjoy simple things like the flowers in our garden, sunsets, and the ripples on a lake caused by a gentle breeze with me. He truly strives to make a small difference, every day, in the lives of those he comes in contact with.
He is focused and driven to excel at any task on which he sets out, no matter how difficult the task may be. When I am anxious and overwhelmed, Shannon is able to compartmentalize things, taking a huge task, breaking it down into bite-sized chunks in his head, and making it manageable. With his demeanor and problem-solving skills helping us, I really believe we could accomplish just about anything together – including being amazing parents.
I am prepared for this chapter in my life due, in large part, to who I married. My wife, Ashley, is kind, compassionate, caring, and will be a nurturing mother, no matter what the circumstances or what obstacles may arise. On many occasions I have seen, from within her, great strength and resolve that has often stopped me in my tracks, making me take notice, both in admiration and wonder. Being able to look at her in this way has allowed me to gain clarity and understanding regarding one very important fact about Ashley – she is wise well beyond her years in a way that she shows every day in her focus, tenacity, and willingness to do easily what may be difficult for others.
It is a blessing to have such a person in my life every day. For me, Ashley is a wonderful example of how to tackle difficulty with grace and, most importantly, how to have fun. I waited a long time to get married. I had several long-term relationships that for various reasons were not meant to be. I am convinced to my core that all of that was for one simple reason – it was so that I could meet the one person who completed me, the one person that I could share my life with, and, most importantly, the one person that I would someday have a family with. Ashley is the love of my life and I know she will be a fantastic mother.
We want to take this opportunity to thank you, not only for reading our profile, but for exploring all of your options when it comes to the future of the baby you are carrying. We can’t image the number of decisions you have to make now, or the thoughts and emotions you are experiencing, but we can imagine that it is probably quite difficult. We hope that you are surrounded by love and supported throughout this time.
The fact that you are taking the time to think about and consider what is best for your baby shows love, care, and selflessness that many people will never express. Should you decide that placing your child for adoption is the best option, and should you choose us to parent your child, we assure you that he or she will know the love that went into you making your decision. Please know that we would consider it a huge honor if you decided to entrust the care of your child into our hands. This is an honor we would not take lightly, or for granted, and we would do everything in our power to be the best parents we could to your child. We would surround your child with love, support, and opportunities to grow and flourish throughout their lives.
We appreciate you reading this letter and hope that it allowed you to get to know us a little better. If you would like to learn more about us or speak with us please contact Full Circle Adoptions at 1-800-452-3678.