“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”
We included this Fred “Mister” Rogers quote as part of our Wedding ceremony in 2014, and it still applies to how we see love for each other, our son Aengus, and if we’re lucky enough to be chosen by you, your child.
Our names are Kathleen and Mark. We have a three-year-old son, Aengus, and a Basset Hound named Seamus. We want to thank you for considering us to be adoptive parents for your child. There are no words to properly describe our respect for how difficult this must be for you. Our hope is that you will want to share this journey with us and your child, if you choose us, and we are happy to provide any amount of communication you’re comfortable with.
We met in the fall of 2009 on a dating site and felt a strong connection almost right away. By spring of 2011 we were living together, and we got married three years later in a small ceremony in the Arboretum in Boston. In 2016, we had our son, Aengus, and in 2017, we bought our first house together. Our home is located in a town north of Boston where we had been living and loved so much we didn’t want to leave.
We have worked hard to build our relationship over the years and establish the best ways to communicate to support each other through hard times and now through the challenges of being parents. While Aengus and our future adopted child are our priority, it is also important for us to respect each other’s need for independence and self-care We each have our own ways of recharging. Kathleen does yoga, and Mark takes long walks on the trails near our house while listening to books and walking the dog.
Mark has been a Newborn ICU nurse at a Boston hospital for the last 12 years. Mark works day shifts and only four days a week, which allows him plenty of time to be home with our family. Kathleen is a school adjustment counselor at a vocational high school. She has worked there for the last 12 years, with a recent focus on supporting students who have high functioning autism. Kathleen gets all the school vacations off, which will work well for child care once both Aengus and his sibling are on a school schedule.
Our home is in a suburb about 30 minutes north of Boston. It sits on the edge of a park and has a view of a beautiful pond from our backyard and kitchen. We never get tired of watching sunsets here! The park has tons of trails, and we try to get out almost every day with Aengus and Seamus to walk along the pond or into the woods. Our city’s newly renovated library is about a 15 minute walk from our house, the newest playground is a ten minute walk, and we are less than a mile away from our local YMCA, where Aengus learns how to swim. We look forward to enjoying all these places with another addition to our family.
Mark has so many different sides to him that I love and respect. He knows how to be gentle with the newborns in the NICU, while understanding the science behind the diagnosis. If there was a contest for swaddling, Mark would win hands down. He also knows how to build a deck (which he recently did), build a toy table for Aengus, and make beautiful jewelry for me as a birthday present. He is very intelligent, creative, thoughtful, and laid back. He also knows his Star Wars Trivia.
He is a supportive partner who listens while I try to solve whatever problem is on my mind. He always holds my hand on airplanes. He is the dog’s favorite human. He shares dessert with me. Mark is practical, thinks things through, and is efficient in getting things done, while I might take a while. It’s been over ten years since I met him, and I still feel incredibly lucky to share my life with him.
As a father, Mark is able to match Aengus in goofiness but is also consistent with boundaries when it comes to safety and learning to be kind. He is so patient in supporting Aengus’ independence, like learning to dress himself. I hope Aengus and our future child will learn to have the same curiosity for how things work as Mark does.
Kathleen is just such an amazing woman. She is by far the most thoughtful and caring person I know. It’s no surprise that she is great at what she does. The patience and genuine concern that she has for her students is the same that she brings into our home to take care of us. We have a great connection and share (mostly) a sense of humor. After more than ten years, our relationship has become comfortable and easy, like two oddly shaped puzzle pieces that fit together perfectly.
Kathleen is a wonderful mother, and full of love. She is great at making plans, and lists. She can always find things to do, whether as a family or just the two of us. I’m inspired by her ability to keep our house organized (especially the play room and Aengus’ room), as well as the way she keeps Aengus engaged and busy with fun games, puzzles, and activities. She is always sweet and patient with Aengus, taking the time to teach him new things and skills, and encouraging good manners.
Aengus is an energetic, curious, social, and affectionate three-year-old. He loves to involve others in his play, to read books together, to watch what Mark is cooking, and to “help” daddy with projects. He’s a great passenger in the car (without screens!) driving to Queens, NY to see family. He is right now at a stage where he loves being a helper and he loves babies. He is a sweet boy who would be a great big brother.
Time together as a family is important to us. We strive to eat dinner together most nights when Mark is not working late. We have breakfast together on weekend mornings. After getting home from work and daycare, we take a walk by the pond with our dog, Seamus, on most days. We also do some puzzles or play with dinosaur toys until dinner. Aengus has a consistent bedtime routine that includes stories and songs and cuddle time.
On weekends we get as much outside time as possible, whether in the backyard or at a playground. We really enjoy community events such as sing-alongs at the library or touch-a-truck events at the local fire station.
We take turns with friends hosting dinner or breakfast in our home, usually with our kids and sometimes without. We consider our friends to be a second family for us since our families live so far away. We have friends close by who have children close to Aengus’ age that play together.
We make an effort to have a date night every month or so. Date nights out are usually dinner with friends, a concert (especially in the summer), or going out to dinner locally. At home, a typical Friday evening would be a nice home cooked meal or take-out, and after Aengus’ bedtime, watching a show on Netflix.
In the Summer, we have started taking road trips as a family getaway. We’ve taken trips to Quebec, Canada and North Conway, New Hampshire. Mark built a new deck last Summer, so we hope to have friends over even more often to spend time with us. Kathleen has the Summer off and usually makes trips into Boston with Aengus to walk around and see the children’s museum, or goes to visit the beach. We also recently started meeting Mark’s parents in Maine as a late Summer tradition.
In the Fall, we take family trips to local farms for apple picking, hay rides, and petting zoos. Halloween in our neighborhood is very active with a big parade, lots of houses decorated in the spirit, and police cars driving by playing music for trick or treaters.
For Thanksgiving, we usually travel to Hilton Head, South Carolina to celebrate with all of Mark’s family and get a little break from the cold. We go to Queens, New York for Christmas with Kathleen’s family. Ever since Kathleen’s mom was a kid, a family member has dressed up as Santa Claus on Christmas Eve to hand out presents to the kids and sing Christmas songs. It is so fun to see their excitement. We’re excited to share all these traditions with another child.
We want to assure you that the most important roles in our lives are the ones we hold as parents. What we have learned so far is that we aren’t always going to get everything right, but we are always open to learning from our mistakes. We are constantly finding a balance between spending time together as a family and making sure our child is getting social time through activities like swimming, soccer, or meeting up with friends.
One of the most important things for us as parents is communication. We want our kids to practice expressing themselves when they are upset, while also learning to believe in themselves to solve problems. As they get older, it’s important for us as parents to teach our children self-determination and independence.
We are open to support when we need it, whether it’s inquiring with teachers or learning new parenting strategies from other parents, family, or friends. We are open to therapy or support groups when it is needed, especially when we need support on how to be the best parents we can be for our children.
We are choosing to adopt in part because we want to have another child in our family and we want Aengus to have a sibling and his sibling to have Aengus. We will do everything we can to provide opportunities for connection between our children and model behavior we would expect from them. Their shared family history would link them forever.
We both felt the risks for pregnancy were too high, as Kathleen is in her early forties. But we discussed adoption early on in our relationship as a way of having a family just as much as having a child biologically. Adoption is the perfect piece to complete our family.
We want you to know that we are committed when it comes to communication, and will respect how much you want to be part of your child’s life. We wish there was a way we could ease the pain and sadness this decision must bring. We hope you are able to come to what will be the best choice for you and your baby, even if it does not include us.
Thank you for taking the time to read about our family and consider us as adoptive parents to 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.