Introduction

Dear Expectant Parent(s),

We are Joe and Alisa and we are so excited that you are reading this to learn more about us as you consider adoptive parents for your child. We are high-school sweethearts who have truly grown up together. Over the past 15 years together, we have built a beautiful life and are excited to add children to it soon. Although this is our first experience with adoption as a couple, the world of adoption is not new to us. Alisa is a social worker and for many years was a nanny for a family who adopted three of their four children. She has also worked as an adoption social worker – helping to place children with their adoptive family. Most recently, we became foster parents to our cousin’s daughter and were able to parent her for over a year before she was reunified with her biological parents. Although it was an adjustment having her in our home, we were both very fortunate that we had a large support system that helped make her transition into our home feel seamless. Part of our support system is our employers. Both of us work for companies that wholeheartedly support our decision to adopt and are willing to be flexible with our schedules as we prepare for a baby to enter our home. Alisa intends to take a full three months of maternity leave once our child is placed with us. Joe’s company also allows him to take paternity leave, thirteen weeks at any point in the first year of a child’s life. We are both very excited to spend lots of time together as a family when our adoptive child comes home with us.

In addition to our experience being foster parents, we are surrounded by a big, loving family, with lots of children in it! From our experiences with these kiddos, we have learned that the most rewarding part of having children in our lives is watching them learn and grow into the people they are meant to be. In hopes of having these experiences with a child of our own, we began our journey to start a family in 2015. After struggles with infertility and losses in the form of miscarriages, we sat down and discussed what a family really meant to us. It became clear that our long-term goal was to be parents and that goal could be realized in many different ways. For us, adoption felt like the best next step in our journey to parenthood, which is why we are writing this letter to you now. We hope by reading our story you will understand the values we hold and those we hope to pass on to our future child.

Our Love Story

We met our sophomore year of high school in Honors Science. Joe was exceptionally good at science and Alisa was just as exceptionally bad at science. During this class, Joe had no problem showing off his science skills, all the while picking on Alisa for her lack of them. The dynamic in this class led to a hate-hate relationship (the love came later). Throughout the next several years of high school, we shared mutual friends and often found ourselves at the same events together. Looking back on our relationship, we can’t remember when exactly our feelings toward each other shifted, but eventually we became best friends. We both remember one very snowy day our senior year of high school when Joe showed up at Alisa’s house and woke her up to go sledding. We spent all day sledding together. Then, toward the end of the very cold day, Joe filled Alisa’s glove with snow and laughed as she put it back on. Alisa recalls this moment fondly because she wasn’t even a little bit mad at Joe; instead, she just made him warm her up as “punishment.” At this point, we were still just friends, but we officially began dating soon after in February of 2004, when we were just 18 years old.

The second we made it official, our life together began. We spent as much time together as possible before leaving for college. When we had to leave each other to begin college, we both realized that we did not have to be a part of the statistic of teenage couples who don’t make it. We made a commitment to one another that we could make it work and we did. Together, we navigated our paths to adulthood. Throughout the years, we have shared some of the best and worst moments of our lives together, always being there to support one another. This is because long before we even began dating, we were best friends. Our relationship is built on our foundation of friendship, and, because of this foundation, our love for each other is truly authentic.

Our Relationship

We got engaged in August of 2012 when we were visiting friends in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Joe had bought the engagement ring seven months prior to this vacation and was patiently waiting for the “perfect” moment to pop the question. One of Joe’s many talents is building sand sculptures. So, one day during our vacation, Joe built up all his courage and planned out what he thought would be the perfect proposal. He built a sculpture with sand, wrote “Will You Marry Me?” in it, and asked Alisa to go for a walk with him. Just as he was about to get down on one knee and hand Alisa the sculpture, a little girl came up to us, staring at the sculpture Joe created in awe. She asked if she could have it and Joe, without hesitation, erased his message and handed the sculpture to her. Later that day, we took a nap prior to going out to dinner. Not able to wait any longer, Joe nudged Alisa awake, and without an ounce of hesitation said, “I have been waiting for the perfect moment, but I just need to do this. Will you marry me?” It was just a simple moment between the two of us, one friend asking another to marry them, but as Alisa said yes it became one of the best moments of our lives.

We were married a year later in August of 2013. Our wedding was filled with so much love and laughter. Our main goals that evening were to dance the night away, take a few moments for just the two of us, eat the very expensive cake, and get married. We are happy to say we reached all of these goals and had an amazing time in general! It was a beautiful wedding and to this day our friends and family still describe it as, “the best wedding ever.”

As a couple, we love just “doing life with each other,” as we put it. During the week, our routine is pretty typical. We both work 9 to 5 jobs – Alisa as a social worker and Joe as an engineer. Our evenings are spent doing projects around the house, cooking dinner together, and curling up on the couch watching television. When we were fostering our cousin’s daughter, we manipulated our schedules to also fit in gymnastics, swimming lessons, and bedtime routines. Our weekends, on the other hand, are spent having FUN!

Fun is a priority in our lives. Because we grew up together, we share all of the same friends. We are very proud of our large circle of friends, most of whom we have known for over 20 years. We enjoy being outdoors, going to the beach, going out dancing, and, most importantly, watching Patriots football. We (along with our family and friends) have many traditions surrounding football. Our love of football and the traditions we hold close to our heart surrounding this sport, including sharing season tickets with Alisa’s family and attending at least one away game a year, are just a few of the many things we are excited to share with our future child.

Although we enjoy spending time together, we respect each other as individuals as well. Neither of us takes issue if the other wants to pursue something independently. Alisa spent a month in Africa completing a mission trip, while Joe held down the fort at home. Joe was Alisa’s biggest cheerleader while she pursued this dream. Joe also participates in activities apart from Alisa; he can often be found snowboarding or hiking on the weekends with his guy friends. No matter what new fun thing he chooses to do, Alisa supports him. We have truly found a great balance between sharing our life as a couple, while also supporting each other as individuals. We will do the same with our child one day, valuing time together as a family, while also supporting any personal passions he or she wants to pursue.

Our Family

Aside from the two of us, the only two members of our immediate family at the moment are our two dogs, Kiko and Mila, who we love and spoil daily. They will always be our fur babies, but we have also discussed with them the possibility of a new littler member, our adoptive child, joining our family soon and they seem very open to this idea. They love it when our nieces, nephews, and friends’ children visit, so they can’t wait to have a little one join our family!

In terms of our human family, our two sides of the family are exact opposites. Alisa is part of a blended family, with parents, a brother, step-parents, step-siblings, and a half-sister; Joe is part of a more traditional family, including his parents and his brother. Alisa is part of a very large extended family – almost half of which are children under the age of 10 – and Joe comes from a very small extended family. Our families are very different, but because we have been together for so long, our families have also blended into one joint unit throughout the years. Despite the many different dynamics that exist within our families, we are lucky enough that they all love and respect each other. Because of this, we get to spend our holidays with both sides of our families at the same time. In general, one of our favorite pastimes is just spending time with them. They are all extremely supportive of our decision to adopt and can’t wait to include our adoptive child in all of the fun family activities.

Because Alisa has step-parents, we consider ourselves to have six parents in total, meaning our child will have six grandparents. All of them will be available (and are very excited) to provide child care to our future child. Although we do think socialization is very important and hope to enroll our child in different groups to help them learn and grow, we also plan on making sure our child is cared for by us and family while they are young. As we mentioned at the beginning of our letter, Alisa has three months of maternity leave and Joe has 13 weeks of paternity leave, which he can use at any point throughout the first year of our adoptive child’s life. We plan on taking this time off to bond and experience every moment with our adoptive child, your child if you choose us. We are also lucky because our parents are willing to step-in to watch them when we return to work, providing our child with stability and comfort while we continue to pursue our careers. Joe’s parents can’t wait to show our adoptive child their favorite beach during the summer and Alisa’s dad is excited to bring our adopted child to sporting events. More than anything, all of our parents are thrilled to have a hand in caring for our adopted child.

Any child that enters our home will be welcomed with open arms by our whole family; this includes our immediate families, cousins, aunts, uncles, great-aunts, great-uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents, and of course our circle of friends who we consider family. A lot of the time, when we are with our family and friends, it feels as though they are looking for excuses to celebrate. Birthdays, holidays, and football games are just some of the events that bring us all together on a regular basis. During the holiday season, we engage in “Secret Pals.” This consists of all of the members of Alisa’s extended family secretly leaving gifts for one another from Halloween until our family Christmas party in December. The tradition started with Alisa’s maternal grandparents; both of them have since passed away, but their memories live on through family traditions like this. One of the most exciting parts to us about welcoming a child into our lives is introducing them to these family traditions­.

Our Home

We reside in a quiet, small town in Southeast Massachusetts. Our home is set on two acres of land and is located within a cul-de-sac. Our neighborhood is charming and safe and our town is full of farms, lakes, and beautiful scenery. Our town is the type of place where everyone knows everyone. There is only one store in town, and when you are there it is a guarantee that you will run into someone you know. There is also only one restaurant in town and, on Sunday mornings, tons of people from town head there for breakfast. Along with going out into town to see people we know, we love spending time outdoors on our land, just the two of us (but hopefully soon the three of us). Behind our home are trails in the woods that we often explore with our dogs. Within walking distance of our home is a river where we kayak or sit on a nearby bench and read a book while our dogs swim. There are also many state parks and forests within a few miles of our home, where we can be found hiking on nice days.

Our home itself consists of four bedrooms and two-and-a-half bathrooms. We are often entertaining and therefore take great pride in the appearance of our home. We work hard to maintain our yard and living area and hope that when others enter our home they can feel the love and warmth we’ve put into making it. We are excited to welcome a child into our home so we can spend our days riding bikes up and down the driveway, going for horseback rides at the local farms, and spend quiet moments at home with them thinking of what our next adventures will be.

Joe (According to Alisa)

I have loved Joe since I was 17 years old. I have spent almost half of my life with him by my side and it has made for a wonderful life. Joe is honest and open in all situations. If you ever have to wonder what Joe is thinking, it’s because you’re not listening! He wears his heart and thoughts on his sleeve and this is one of the main reasons I love him. One of my favorite qualities Joe possesses is his sense of adventure. He can make anything fun. If we are home, he can often be found outside exploring with our dogs. If we are on vacation, he plans every minute so that we are having the best time of our lives. If the weather isn’t great, he has been known to set up a tent in the living room so we can experience indoor camping. When there are children in our home, Saturday mornings are for making forts out of couch cushions. Joe is also very technically minded, meaning he can fix almost anything. If he can’t fix something, he creates something to take its place. He is smart and ambitious and our home and life benefit from these qualities. More than anything, I love Joe’s enormous heart. There is not a single day that goes by where Joe does not tell me he loves me. We have a sign in our bedroom that reads, “Always Kiss Me Goodnight.” We got this sign years ago and Joe makes sure to follow its directions daily. I have not been surprised that he gives this same amount of love to all of the children in our lives. In the short time we were able to be foster parents together, I watched Joe be a role model, adventure seeker, and supporter for the little girl placed into our home. On top of all of that, he really does give the best hugs. All of the children in our lives, including our future child, are so lucky they will get to experience his unconditional love, fun activities, and kind-hearted nature!

Alisa (According to Joe)

I cannot imagine my life without Alisa in it. One of my favorite qualities about her is her sense of humor; she can make almost anyone laugh. Along with this, she can make anyone feel comfortable around her. She has a way of making others feel like they can tell her anything and because of this she is often a shoulder to cry on or an advice giver to family and friends. Alisa is also very compassionate. She is always willing to go above and beyond when it comes to helping others. Just recently, our town held a fundraiser for the schools and Alisa signed us up as volunteers. All the parents were amazed at us being there even though we didn’t have children in the school system. Alisa kept saying, “Someday we will! So we want to help now!” From big gestures like that, to small gestures like buying extra treats for our dogs on their birthdays, Alisa is always showing love and support to those around her. She is also always willing to try new things and entertain my adventurous side. I have planned countless hikes for us, which usually end in us getting lost or taking way longer than I had originally planned. Alisa always finishes with a smile on her face. She supports my interests and allows me to share them with her. I also love how family-oriented Alisa is. When her cousin’s daughter needed a home, she stepped up without hesitation. During this time, I got to watch her be the loving and supportive mom I knew she’d be. She dedicated her time to ensuring that the little girl’s 2.5-year-old mind was always occupied and always entertained with crafts, outdoor activities, and trips to the museum or park. Alisa signed her up for lots of activities and worked hard to teach her the importance of kindness and love towards others. My very favorite thing about Alisa, though, is that she is truly a genuinely good person. I am so lucky I get to share my life with her and I know our future child will be so lucky to have her in his or her life as well.

Thank You

It is hard for us to put into words how thankful we are of you and the decision you are considering making for your child. We cannot begin to understand the range of emotions you must be feeling throughout this process, but we want you to know we support you in whatever decision you make. As we prepare to adopt, we have spent so much time discussing what we feel is most important for our future child. The very first item on our list is that our child feels loved. In our minds, you are another person to love this child. We want to give our child a strong sense of identity; we want them to know where they came from and who they were before they came into our lives (even if it just means telling them about their time in your belly). We cannot do this without you. You are such an important part of who this child will become and we hope you understand how much we realize this. If you choose to have contact with us and our child, please know we will respect and cherish your decision. However, if you prefer less contact, we will ensure that our child hears what a wonderful and selfless individual you were for choosing this path for their life. Adoption will not be a secret in our home. We will discuss our adoption story openly and honestly, with you as one of the main characters.

If you choose us to be your child’s adoptive parents, please know that they will be surrounded by love, fairness, honesty, laughter, and kindness. In our home, we believe in speaking our minds and speaking them often! We want nothing more than for our child to feel as though they can become whoever they want to be. We also truly believe it is our jobs to guide them, to allow them to make mistakes, to help them explore the world around them, and to ultimately help them become the best version of themselves they can be. We are very lucky to be surrounded by people who share our values. Our immediate and extended families are waiting with hope and love in their hearts to welcome a child into our family. Our circle of friends is also excited to welcome our child and show him or her how much fun the world around them can be.

Our experiences with adoption on a professional and personal level have shown us that a family is simply built on love. We hope that by reading this letter you got a sense of the love we have for one another, our family and friends, our future child, and you of course! We cannot thank you enough for considering us as adoptive parents for your child; the amount of courage and dedication to your child you have shown by considering making this decision is inspiring. Thank you for taking the time to read our letter and please feel free to call Full Circle Adoptions at 1-800-452-3678 if you would like to learn more about us or speak with us.

With Love,

Joe & Alisa

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