We are Cullen and Kate and we have known each other since middle school, though we didn’t start dating until college. After nearly a decade together, we were married in 2013 and began creating our life together. In 2015 we adopted our son Henrik (Henry) and the last three years have been the most memorable and transformational of our lives. The three of us live in a beautiful colonial style, four-bedroom home in Southern Connecticut with our cat Maeby. Cullen is in a senior position with an incredibly flexible work schedule, allowing Kate to be a stay-at-home mom and us ample time to spend as a family. Though we love our life, we are excited for our family to grow again and to offer a loving, supportive, and caring home for another child.
Our hope is that within the pages that follow you will get a glimpse into our family, home, and life. We want you to know who we are, what is important to us, and about the supportive environment full of love and laughter we will provide to your child.
We grew up in neighboring towns in coastal Connecticut and went to the same small middle and high schools. We were one year apart in school and, although we shared mutual friends, we didn’t interact much in school. It wasn’t until we were both in college that we randomly decided to get together over winter break. At that time, neither of us anticipated that this one date would begin our forever relationship.
We were together for seven years before we got engaged in 2011. We joke about our engagement story, mostly because there really isn’t one. Right before Cullen was going to propose he got extremely nervous (an emotion that he typically doesn’t experience) and basically tossed the ring at Kate with a generic “do you want to?” It’s a funny experience to look back on, but one that Cullen still expresses regret over. Despite our awkward engagement, we were married in 2013 at an amazing outdoor wedding in our hometown, surrounded by our family and friends.
One of the main reasons that our relationship works so well is that we completely balance each other. Cullen is the dreamer of the relationship – the one who has the spur of the moment ideas and doesn’t feel the need to plan things out too much. He is fun, energetic, outgoing, imaginative, and keeps everyone laughing, even during hard times. While Cullen’s head can sometimes be in the clouds, Kate is the glue that ties the whole family together and the engine that keeps us on track. She is loving, nurturing, patient, and organized – always making sure both Henry and Cullen have eaten their vegetables and that we are all spending quality time as a family together. Despite our differences, we both value the same things in life. Our family and friends are the most important things to us, and we live our lives full of love and laughter. We support each other 100% and, despite how cliché it might sound, we really are best friends.
Before our wedding, we decided to rescue a cat, whom we called Maeby (named for a character from our favorite TV show, Arrested Development). In late 2014, we decided that we wanted to add a child to our family, and, in May 2015, we were lucky enough to adopt our son, Henry. He is the most amazing thing that has ever happened to either of us, and we can’t wait to add another child to our family.
For the last 7 years, I have worked at a major healthcare company and have had the opportunity to progress in my career. I recently accepted a role as Senior Director in Health Services. In this role, I am responsible for leading a new business unit focused on home health care. It is a great feeling to work every day at a company focused on helping people on their path to better health. Beyond the work itself, I appreciate how supportive the company culture is of balancing personal and professional success. I get four weeks of paid paternity leave, have the flexibility to work from home as needed, and am given a lot of time off to make sure I get to spend quality time with Kate and Henry. Recently Kate came down with the flu and I seamlessly moved around my schedule to stay at home to take care of Henry and make sure Kate had what she needed. The only question my coworkers had when I came in the next day was, “How is Kate feeling?” When I was growing up, my dad was overly dedicated to working and not home as often as I would have liked; I am very motivated to chart a different path and am thankful that my company encourages me to be a committed father, both to Henry and to any future child we adopt.
For 10 years, I worked at a youth and family service agency that provides youth programming, counseling, and social services to a rural Connecticut town. I designed and ran all of the youth programs, including family and community event after-school programs, and leadership groups for students (grades K-12). I loved my job, but after Henry was born I realized that I wanted to spend more time with him and less time at work. I was lucky enough to be able to leave my job and become a stay-at-home mom. Being home with Henry has allowed us to do all of the things that I wanted us to be able to enjoy together. We have been able to take “Mommy and Me” gymnastics and art classes, attend story hours, and have even joined a local mom’s group where there are always activities and play-dates being planned. Henry is flourishing, and it has been amazing to spend this time with him. At some point, I would love to go back to work part-time, but would not consider this until Henry (and any future child who joins our family) is in school. It is important to me that I maintain a flexible schedule, because being a mom is the most important job I will ever do and it will always be my first priority.
My immediate family consists of my parents, my sister, her husband, and their two children. My parents live just a few towns over from us. My sister and her family live outside of Boston, and we get together often. It has been so exciting to watch our family grow over the last several years. Our family gatherings often feature the three cousins chasing each other around, playing outside, and laughing together. My dad was one of nine children and I have over 40 cousins on that side of the family. While most of my extended family lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, we get to see them at least once a year.
When I was growing up, I did not get to spend much time with my grandparents, so I have always hoped that my children would be able to be closer to their grandparents. Since Henry was born, my parents have been phenomenal – going on adventures and coming over to spend time with him, just because they miss him. In the winter, Henry continuously asks to build snowmen with “Pappap,” my dad, and throughout the year can be found playing silly games and laughing loudly with “Nain” (the Welsh word for Grandmother), my mom. It has been an amazing journey to personally experience parenthood and raising Henry has given me a whole new level of appreciation for the love and support my parents have provided me with throughout my life. Additionally, Henry is so close to my parents that he has brought my parents and me closer. They, along with the rest of my family, are excited to welcome another child, especially my niece, who cannot wait for another little cousin.
My family has always been very close. My parents have been married for 35 years, and live only a half-hour away from us. My younger brother and his wife live in Charlotte, North Carolina, and are expecting their first child, a little girl. Henry is very excited to have another little cousin, and he frequently talks about his plans to hold her, give her bottles, and play with her when she’s older. Holidays are very important to my family, especially Christmas, and we have a lot of traditions that we have been able to share with Henry, such as baking cookies, cutting down our tree, and decorating it. Last year my family began a new tradition of a yearly family vacation that we are excited to enjoy again. We can’t wait to have another little one, join us in these traditions.
Growing up, I didn’t have a very strong relationship with my grandparents, so it has been an amazing experience to see how involved my parents have been with Henry. My dad was never someone who shared his emotions very openly, yet somehow this all changed when Henry came into his life. He is now an amazingly sweet, sensitive, and protective “Pops” who loves to spend time with his little buddy. They love to play outside in the garden, ride on the tractor, and take the dogs for a walk together. It is wonderful to see the bond that Henry has with my dad, and I know that this special connection will continue as Henry gets older.
On the other hand, “Mimi,” my mom, has always been extremely caring and nurturing, so it was not a surprise to any of us to see how much she loves Henry. She spent one day a week with him when he was younger and I was still working, so from early on they developed an amazing connection. They love to race cars, have tea parties, and play with toys in the sink (one of Henry’s favorite activities).
I love to see the wonderful relationship that Henry is building with his grandparents, and I know that any future child we bring into our family will have a similar experience. My parents are currently working on transforming one of the bedrooms in their house into a “grandchild room,” for future sleepovers. They can’t wait for us to have a second child and are anxiously waiting for the opportunity to welcome another baby into our family.
In 2017, we moved into our dream home in southern Connecticut. This colonial style house has 4 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, and a large backyard that is perfect for playing. We also have a large bonus room over the garage that Henry has taken over as his playroom. This is the perfect space to spend time during those rainy or snowy Connecticut days.
We love to spend time outside together as a family. We are about 10 minutes from the beach (one of Kate’s favorite locations) and have begun to explore some of the local hiking trails (one of Cullen’s favorite activities). Our town has a quaint downtown area with small shops and restaurants that we love to visit. There are also many family-friendly locations close to us, including children’s museums, an aquarium, and local parks and playgrounds. We are still discovering these various spots, but are so grateful to have all of these amazing experiences so close to our home for the two of us, Henry, and our future child to enjoy.
One of the main reasons we chose to move where we live is that our town is very community oriented and has an excellent school system. Education is important to us, and we want to make sure that our children have every opportunity to succeed. The town also offers a lot of recreational opportunities for youth, including sports, art, music, and more. Henry is just getting to the age where he can begin to take advantage of some of these offerings and we are thrilled to be able to provide him, and hopefully another child, with these opportunities.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read our letter. We respect and admire your decision to make an adoption plan. Even though we don’t know each other, we have an important thing in common: the desire to give your child the best life possible. We hope you got a sense of who we are and the love we have to offer. Above all else, we know that no matter what you decide, you will be making the best decision for you and your child. Please call Full Circle Adoptions at 1-800-452-3678 if you would like to learn more about us or speak with us.