Dear Expectant Parent(s),
We are Eli and Emily. Both originally from Baltimore, we’ve been good friends since we met in high school. After spending our early adulthoods together and falling in love in New York City six years ago, we got married and moved to rural Western Massachusetts to settle down and make a new home for ourselves.
Emily is a textile artist who runs her own hand-weaving business. Eli is a software engineer who helps run a criminal justice technology startup that helps low-income criminal defendants make it to court and avoid unnecessary jail time. Both of us are very lucky to be able to work from home. When baby comes, we plan to take approximately three months off from work, after which we will both return to work part-time and share the childcare duties. At some point (depending on our child’s personality and development) our plan is to enroll them in a local daycare three days a week. Because our schedules are so flexible, we will be available for our child at any time and able to be there for any and all milestone moments in their life.
One thing that we think defines us is how lucky we feel to be where we are in our lives today; we truly feel like we’ve hit the jackpot! We are lucky to have each other, and lucky to have such a strong, loving partnership. We are also financially stable, living much better now than either of us did growing up, not to mention that we also both get to do what we love for a living. We are thankful to have great friends and family who support us and cheer us on no matter what we do. Finally, the town where we live is small, lovely, and full of kind and supportive people, while the house we bought has plenty of room for children. It’s the kind of place where kids can ride their bikes and play outside, and everyone looks out for one another. For all of this, we are extremely grateful.
We are both Quakers, and though neither of us grew up in Quakerism, we became members of Brooklyn Monthly Meeting and were married in the care of that meeting in 2015. Quakerism is a spiritual community based in Protestant Christianity. It is famous for its tolerance, focus on non-violence, and commitment to social justice. There are very few rules in Quakerism, and although it is based in Christianity, scripture and dogma are nearly absent from worship. Quaker meetings, which are the Quaker version of going to church, involve sitting in “expectant silence” as a group. When the spirit moves them, people may stand and speak. There is no priest or pastor leading the meeting, and decisions are made by a committee. We now attend Quaker meetings in Western Massachusetts, but remain connected to our Quaker community in New York City.
While some come to adoption after years of fertility issues, adoption is simply the way we are choosing to start our family. Emily has been interested in adoption since she was a small child, and as a couple we have been working toward readying ourselves to adopt for over two years. As of today, we have no known fertility issues. In fact, we intend to try to conceive a child after we adopt, and then hope to adopt another child after that.
We are 100% committed to open adoption. No matter how often we see each other, you will be important to the child’s everyday life, and we intend to be completely honest with our child about their adoption. We also hope to build a relationship with you as parents and are committed to maintaining contact to the extent you are comfortable.
We met in high school and have been close friends ever since. Emily first developed a crush on Eli in 10th grade, where she would stare at him from across the classroom. Eli was flattered, but bashful. The crush gave way to a close friendship, which lasted through college. After college, when we were both in New York City, we became even closer and began to have regularly scheduled weekend movie dates. Hesitant to jeopardize our close friendship, we avoided jumping into a romantic relationship for almost a year. Once we took the plunge, though, everything fell into place. It wasn’t long before we moved in together, and made plans to move out of the city, get married, and start a family. We both feel fortunate to have married our best friend and are excited to raise a child together!
Now that we live in our home in Western Massachusetts, both of us share the responsibilities of taking care of our dog, Harley, and our small flock of chickens (yum, fresh eggs)! Harley is a small, energetic ten-year-old mutt (probably a Sheltie/Pomeranian mix) with a heart of gold. Despite his age, most people think he is still a puppy when they see him. He loves people, especially children (the closer to his size, the better, in his eyes). We each have our own special routines with Harley, which Harley anticipates with joy. For example, each morning Emily and Harley have special good-morning cuddles before Emily gets dressed and they go for their morning walk. Eli, on the other hand, has a special evening routine with Harley: cuddles on the couch before a special treat at bedtime. When we adopt, we expect Harley will be jealous at first, but then will fall into the role of “proud big brother.”
Eli is the best man I have ever known. He is kind, compassionate, and always ready with a (dumb) joke to make you (in my case, me) smile; I can only imagine the fun he’ll have getting to make “dad jokes” as our adoptive child grows older. He is also an incredible friend. He is always ready to help at a moment’s notice, whether that means getting up and going out to help with a task or just being available to talk on the phone. One of his traits that I know will prove invaluable when we become parents is he is uncommonly patient and even-tempered. Instead of getting aggravated by frustrating circumstances, Eli is able to step back and think about what actions or words will actually be helpful before responding. I would like to think we have both learned from each other over the years, but I know I have definitely learned a lot from Eli. He inspires me every day with his openness, love, and thoughtfulness and I know, without a doubt, that he will make an amazing father.
Emily is a wonderful person and I couldn’t be luckier to have her as my wife! She’s book-smart, street-smart, and also amazingly talented. Her sense of humor is a perfect match for mine, and laughing with her is one of the greatest joys I know. The passion she shows for her work is inspiring, and I’m very proud of what she’s been able to accomplish with her craft and business so quickly. I’ve always known she’ll be a great mom because of how good she has always been with kids (e.g., nieces, nephews, younger cousins, and students at the weaving studio) and how perceptive she is of the emotions and needs of those around her. I can’t wait to become a parent with her and watch her experience the various joys of motherhood.
Family and friends are very important to us. We both come from large families, with lots of loving aunts, uncles, and cousins. Emily still has four living grandparents who are excited to meet their great-grandchild, the first on Emily’s dad’s side of the family. Emily’s mom is so excited to be a grandmother that she can hardly contain herself, as it will be her first grandchild, and her dad is excited too! Emily grew up as an only child, but her Dad remarried and had another child, Louis, who is 23 years younger than Emily. Eli on the other hand, is one of four siblings, two born in the 1960s and two born in the 1980s. He is very close with his siblings, and especially his brother, Joel, who is 17 years older.
Eli’s family gathers each year at a lovely lake house in Connecticut and, as they mostly live in New York and Massachusetts, we see them frequently. Emily’s family gets together for Christmas every other year in Denver, where most of her dad’s family is located, as well. The whole family, on each side, is beyond excited to welcome our child into the fold and swaddle them with love.
Eli’s family is African-American on his father’s side and German/Scottish on his mother’s side. Emily’s family is a mix of English, Irish, German, and French. Our extended family includes many people of mixed race and ethnicity, including Asian and Hispanic. More than most, we feel prepared and excited to welcome a child of any ethnicity in our great big mixed family.
We both remain in close contact with our friends from high school. The school we attended, a school for the arts in Maryland, was a small, close-knit, magnet school with rigorous artistic standards. The school day was two hours longer than a typical high school, and we had opportunities to study with professionals in our fields of art. Eli played the saxophone and Emily was in the visual arts department. We both can’t wait to explore music and the arts with our child if they are interested.
Eli keeps in touch with many of his friends from college, especially those from his freshman dorm and the community-service fraternity in which he was a brother. The majority of Emily’s college friends are people she met during a study abroad in Paris and from graduate school. In typical New Yorker fashion, we are also close with former roommates. All of our college friends can’t wait to meet our child and tell them embarrassing stories about us when they are older.
In addition to family and friends, we are lucky to be part of multiple diverse, caring, and supportive communities here in Western Massachusetts, including our Quaker meeting, Emily’s weaving community, and Eli’s folk dance community. These communities are an important part of our lives, and we look forward to sharing them with our future children.
We have been open with our friends, family, and communities about our plans to adopt, and have received lots of support from them. We have also worked hard to share information about adoption, adoptive families, and open adoption in particular with all of these groups, so they are knowledgeable and ready to welcome our adoptive child with open arms.
As we said at the beginning of this letter, Emily grew up knowing adoptive families and she has wanted to adopt a child for as long as she can remember. She has always felt that family is about more than just DNA. Early in our relationship, Emily introduced Eli to the idea of adoption, and we agreed that adopting an infant from the United States was the right choice for our family. Though some people decide to adopt after experiencing infertility, adoption is our first choice for how to begin our family. We have no known fertility problems, and Emily hopes to become pregnant in the future. Because of our conviction that family is about more than blood relationships, we are confident we will love both our adopted and biological children equally and can’t wait to adopt to start building our family.
We are aware that adoption comes with a lot of complexities, and each adoption comes with its own unique circumstances. In our opinion, openness is one of the best ways to embrace the complexities of adoption. We intend to be completely honest with our (our meaning both of us and you) child about their story and hope that if you are willing you will be available to help answer his/her questions as they grow older. Even if you choose not to be closely involved with us or our child after the adoption, however, we hope that we will still have a strong and positive relationship with you.
We want to acknowledge that we know things may be very difficult in your life right now and that this may be why you are considering placing your child for adoption. Before deciding whether or not to place your baby for adoption, we hope that you will be able to thoroughly explore all of your options and that you will feel supported in this process by all those involved. If you find that your situation will not allow you to parent your child, we hope that you will consider us as potential adoptive parents. We would be honored by the trust you would be placing in us and, if you choose us, we will do our very, very best to prove your trust is beyond warranted.
In the meantime, we are sending you love and light during what must be an incredibly stressful time in your life.
Thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit about us. If you would like to learn more about us or speak with us please contact Full Circle Adoptions at 1-800-452-3678.