Dear Expectant Mother and Expectant Father,
Before Erin came into my life, I wished the best for my future wife and mother of my children, knowing she was out there somewhere; hoping for her peace, health, and for our life to come together. Now that we’re married and we know that we won’t be biological parents, we have the same wishes for your health, peace, and the special connection that will bring you and your child into our lives. We’re also hoping that you find the strength and support you need during this process to provide your child with a loving and supportive adoptive family.
Our parents live 8 miles apart in our home town. In fact, we went to rival high schools, where we were each our respective school’s mascots. We never met until we attended college almost 3 hours west of where we grew up. We were introduced at a small Catholic College through a mutual friend and became close friends. Raymond graduated a year before Erin, and followed his passion to volunteer as a teacher at a school for at-risk children in New Orleans. Erin graduated the following year, where her love of travel took her back to Spain to teach English and travel for a year.
Despite the distance and time apart, we remained close friends through email and phone. We always had something to say to each other and each of us felt heard when we talked. Whenever we were back in our home town, we never missed an opportunity to get together. Whether fate, chance, or intention, we’re delighted that we found ourselves living in Boston seven years ago. We got engaged on Cape Cod soon after, and we’ve been happily married since.
We both come from large extended families – Erin is the oldest of 22 cousins and Ray is in the mix of 23 cousins – so our wedding was a wonderful time to celebrate the coming together of two families. With most of our families still in the Midwest, we married on the campus of our college and the 200+ guest list was made up of mostly our two families! As avid Chicago Bull’s fans, we started the reception with our own version of the starting lineup leading into our choreographed first dance. Still one of the most talked about memories from that night was our surprise dance to Michael Jackson’s, “The Way You Make Me Feel.” We make sure to have some sort of special celebration remembering our anniversary by trying to tie in the traditional gifts for each year in a fun and non-traditional way – from pajamas for cotton in year 2 to making each other a fancy dinner to use our wedding crystal on year 3.
Erin has always set the bar high for herself. When I first met her she was working to complete her triple major in college! She’s been a passionate runner since high school and has participated in and completed over 8 marathons plus 2 ultra-marathons.
Erin is an amazingly motivated woman. She was inspired by a high school trip abroad and fell in love with Spain and touring different cities. She follows her passion for travel by helping others move around the world as a corporate travel agent. Her dad traveled when she was growing up and she has a little extra inspiration knowing she’s making the accommodations that might help bring families together after business travels. Erin is the oldest of the children in her family and she has twin sisters.
She loves to create and is one of the most artsy people I know. Some of her greatest works are inspired by the seasons: she makes everything from caramel apple bars in the fall, to marshmallow snowmen paired with packets of hot chocolate for our neighbors on cold nights, to sugar cookie flowers to help prepare for Spring. What I love most about Erin is that she knows me in depth and challenges me to be my best every day. Erin shows such care in friendships and family. She pays attention to the littlest details by cooking meals tailored to specific dietary needs of our friends and setting up kid friendly activities for our friends with children.
She loves to brighten others’ days with little surprises that she’s put together. I love to show off to my friends what a fantastic host she is. She creates the best details for parties that we host throughout the year. I know she already has several birthday themes in mind for our child and is ready to create! Erin has the brightest smile and brightens my day with her energy and loving heart.
Long before we started dating, Ray and I had a strong friendship in which we talked honestly and openly about everything that was important to us. Between shared car rides home, hanging out with mutual friends and campus ministry outings, we developed a deep friendship that would grow into a lifelong marriage. Ray was diagnosed with a rare cancer as a child, but with his family at his side and a team of caring doctors, all worked aggressively to beat the disease. He had been living cancer free for many years when he shared his story with me and I was humbled to not only know this part of him, but to get to share in its fulfillment. He’s been healthy since early childhood and this good fortune has motivated him to love with particular dedication to exercise, nutrition, and generally maintaining his wonderful health.
After his illness, he made a vow to live a life helping others and he’s found his particular path to be serving as a high school math teacher. I’ve been privileged to not only know this part of him, but get to share in its fulfillment. From the inner-city schools in New Orleans and Boston to the students at his current suburban community high school, it’s incredible to see the impact he’s had. Ray has played soccer since a young age and has carried his talent and passion into adult leagues in the Boston area and is passing it along to the next generation through his coaching. One of my favorite moments was going to a state basketball game for the high school team at the Boston Garden and a row of 8 year olds that had attended his camp that summer cheering for him as we took our seats as spectators. He has such a strong passion for helping people and achieving potential that they often don’t believe they even had. If I wake up tomorrow with only the things I thank God for today, I’m so thankful not only to have Ray, but also our strong relationship and the strength we see in each other.
Being from Chicago originally, we took our time exploring the suburbs of Boston before finding a family friendly community to settle down. We live in a beautiful suburb of Boston close to Ray’s school and accessible to downtown for Erin’s job. While our neighborhood is quiet, we’re no more than a 10 minute walk to the library, church, grocery store and small movie theater in the town square. Our home is warm and inviting and kid-friendly, one of its best feature is the backyard. We spend many hours on our back deck and playing in the large fenced-in yard with our little dog Wrigley. We can’t wait to have our child and their friends play there as well. We see a swing-set in our future.
We live in an area with a strong school system. Ray works with several other teachers who also live in our community; it’s great to live and work with people you respect. Our child will grow up feeling proud of their dad who is well-loved in our educational community. Our local schools offer activities for kids growing up beginning at a very young age through the teenage years. Our community’s programs cover a generous and wide range of interests from sports, to theatre, music, crafts and other enjoyable skills.
If we were to choose three strong values that we hope to raise our child with, they would be: education, faith, and exploration.
We were both lucky to have parents who contributed to our higher education so we could attend college and graduate without having to take out student loans. Both of our mothers were teachers and they gave us an appreciation for the importance of developing a quality education from a young age. Their values have carried through to our adult lives. We hope to provide the same opportunities for our child by providing a strong educational background in our excellent local schools and by contributing financially to their higher education so they can pursue their dreams without being burdened by accumulated loans in their young adult lives. We’ve already started to set aside funds to begin saving for the costs of college for our child.
Travel has been a huge part of both our lives since a young age. We hope to instill that curiosity and desire to explore and discover new things. We both value all of our memories of family vacations growing up. Ray has fascinating stories to tell about his trips to Glacier National Park or the Rocky Mountains. Erin traveled to Spain in high school. Our honeymoon was a cruise to Alaska that combined Ray’s love of the outdoors with Erin’s passion for exploring cities and new cultures. We love living in New England because it provides the opportunity to visit the mountains, ocean or historic towns. Ray has been to 48 states in the US. Maybe with a new addition to our family, we could even get to Maine, one of the last two states to be crossed off his list.
We were both raised Catholic and took advantage of opportunities outside of weekly mass and religious education classes that allowed us to deepen our faith. We found the value of serving others through service trips in our respective parishes and the time we spent together working on our campus ministry activities in college gave us a chance deepen our connection. We want our child to grow up feeling supported by faith and community. This, together with our love, will give them the confidence that they can make a difference in our world.
We knew from the beginning of our relationship that we might not be able to have children naturally. Raymond has been a cancer survivor for a quarter of a century; doctors do not expect any recurrence – he was cured as a child! However, a side effect of the treatment was infertility. We have always envisioned our life with a child and growing our family through adoption. Our families have been there to support us since the beginning of our journey. We’re hoping to welcome your child into our lives and raise him or her to see life with open eyes and each day as a gift. Our families completely support our adoption efforts and are almost as excited as we are at the possibility to add to our family through adoption.
If you are comfortable with this idea, we are open to having in-person visits with you so that your child grows up always knowing who you are and how much you care. We are open to all levels of openness with you knowing it will help us provide your child with strongest sense of self and help build his or her confidence as we grow together. If you’re interested in learning more about us or talking with us, please contact the team at Full Circle: 1.800.452.3678. We look forward to hopefully hearing from you.
Wishing you the best,