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Paddy & Ethan
We're a family defined by love, not biology, so our family keeps expanding. Adoption is the addition we're most excited about, and we can't wait to start that journey. We would be honored if you'd take it with us. We believe that raising a child is about providing a safe and loving environment for them to discover who they are, and then giving them the tools to excel at being themselves.
Our Life Priorities
Our lives are built around people. Spending time with people we love is one of our favorite things to do, and we optimize everything we do, from where we live to our job choices, around that. Building a life where we can spend time raising a child, can see our family and friends, and can have family outings and traditions is something we've spent the last five years doing, and something we anticipate continuing to do for the rest of our lives. It's cheesy, but what both of us want to be doing most in the world is spending time with our family — going to the library or the park together, driving out to any of the museums or attractions near us, going to their sports games or ballet recitals or science fairs or whatever it is that they love doing. When we talk about the future, we don't talk about jobs or vacations or purchases, we talk about Apple Festivals and game nights and Christmas traditions. We love making people happy, we love spending time with our loved ones, and we love teaching and mentoring people. Our priority is making that our full-time job.
What It Means to Become Parents
For us, being a parent means loving someone as much as you can, and then loving them a little bit more, just for good measure. It means helping them grow into the best version of themselves every day. It means guiding them around all the pitfalls we fell into growing up so they can make new, exciting mistakes of their own. It means being excited to see someone grow and develop, and getting to see who they grow into every day. It means taking responsibility for the things they're not equipped to take responsibility for yet, and giving them the tools and opportunities they need to be a conscientious, kind, and self-possessed person.
For us, being a parent means bedtime stories and family trips to the library. It means teaching someone to bake and showing them how to care for a puppy. It means kissing boo-boos better and buckling their helmet up tight before their first bike ride. It means arguing with a teenager who thinks they know everything, and crying as that teenager walks across a stage to get a diploma recognizing how much they know. It means getting to share our loving, amazing family of wonderful people with someone new, and it means giving our family a new amazing human to love and witness the growth of.
Our Family Traditions
Traditions are important to us as a family. It's easy to get caught up in our lives and forget to make time for special occasions, so we take every opportunity we can find to make an occasion special. Our traditions usually center on three things: food, family, and a lot of unstructured time just enjoying each other's company.
Some of our traditions are ones you'd expect; our Chosen Family spends Thanksgiving and Christmas with us every year, and our house is the base camp for trick-or-treating in our neighborhood while the adults watch classic Halloween movies. Some of our traditions we invented just to spend time with loved ones, though, like watching a Harry Potter movie every Fall with our friends' kids, making gingerbread houses and cookies with them every December, or our Chosen Family reunion where we rent a big house in a scenic location and spend a week cooking for each other, reading, relaxing, and playing games together.
Our House and Neighborhood
We had children in mind when we chose to settle down in Eastern Washington. We're excited to take our children to the historical and scientific institutions that are a result of the unique circumstances of our area's founding. The large Hispanic population locally means that our children will have authentic exposure to other cultures, which is important to us. And our network of local friends will contribute to an amazing environment to raise children in.
When we bought our home we prioritized having enough room to raise two children. We wanted each child to have their own room, and we wanted a room for the children to play in, so they could have their own recreational space as they got older. We made sure Paddy had a home office, so he could continue working from home and could see the children throughout the day. And we made sure we had a nice-sized backyard for the children to play with the dog in.
We chose to live in a large subdivision because we liked the idea of our children growing up surrounded by a mix of younger families and retirees. We liked how it felt suburban, how children can ride bikes and play games outside. But we still live in a city, so you'll still bump into people you know while you hang out in the parks along the river, where you can rent jet skis and kayaks, go for a swim, or make new friends on the playgrounds.
Our Extended Families
Our biological family lives across the country, but we see them as much as we can. They try to visit us every year, and we try to spend every other Christmas with them. In our area, we have a really close group of friends we treat as local family. We have game nights with them every week, we spend all our holidays together, and we're always there for each other. We also have a global Chosen Family that we try to meet up with once a year for a reunion, where we relax and enjoy each other's company. We believe families are defined by love, and are blessed to have such a large family.
For us, family means movies and slow cooker meals all night on Halloween. It means potluck Thanksgiving dinner. It means flying across the country to spend weeks with people we haven't seen in a year. It means board games and Jackbox games and whatever shows we're obsessed with right now. It means moving across the country and instead of the drive being a slog, we needed to draw it out so we had time to spend with all the people we love who happened to live along our route.
Family to us means needing to build custom software to keep everyone up to speed with our adoption plans and progress, because there are too many important people in our lives who are excited and anxious to hear about it to update them individually.
From Us to You
We met each other in 2009 in college; by 2013, we were best friends, living together, and inseparable. Everything we've done since, we've done together. That's a big part of our marriage: realizing we're trying to build similar, compatible lives, and deciding that building them together is more rewarding than building them separately. We love and support each other, and we focus on communicating well with each other, but what makes our marriage strong is that whatever we're doing, we're both committed to it and do it together.
We've known since 2013 that the life we were trying to build was centered around children. And the seven years since have been about getting us to a place where we could provide the life we wanted to.
That's what our focus is, what our conversations are about. When we talk about what life will be like for us in the future, we're not talking about career goals or skills we want to pick up or our hobbies or our finances. Our conversations revolve around weekend trips to the library, picking up the children from school, morning routines, and how to manage everyone's schedules. We have no idea what we'll be doing for work or what we'll have accomplished, but we can tell you the names of the bedtime stories we'll be reading, or the lullabies we'll be singing. We talk about where in our house our children will hang out with their friends in fifteen years, where they'll park their car when they can drive, or how we'll accommodate family visiting to spend time with them. Having children isn't an important part of the life we want; having children *is* the life we want. The rest is just noise.
We believe that our job, as parents, is to raise a confident, happy, self-aware person. To give somebody the space and tools to figure out who they are, and then to help them be that person on purpose. We believe we need to give children the space to make mistakes, and an environment that will make those mistakes safe, without long-term consequences. And we believe that none of this is possible without surrounding them with people who love and support them, unconditionally.
That's the most important foundational work we've been doing: gathering our Chosen Family. "Chosen Family" is how we refer to the people we've met that love and support us, without reserve, and who we love and support in return. It includes our biological family, but isn't limited to them. We've gathered our Chosen Family from all over the world, so no matter where we are, we're near people who love us. We have Christmas and Thanksgiving together, we host Easter egg hunts for each other's children, we celebrate Halloween together, trick-or-treating as a big group while the adults watch classic Halloween movies. We look out for each other when times are hard and revel in each other's company when times are good. We never could have gotten this far in the adoption process without the support of our Chosen Family, who dropped everything to help us at every turn. Nobody's as excited as we are that our family is expanding, but if anyone is close it's our Chosen Family, who are all eager to welcome a new person and take part in helping them grow.
That's why we're not afraid of open adoption, and feel confident we'll be able to help you feel connected: we have a lot of practice. We will, of course, send letters and pictures, so you can join us in discovering who your child is growing into. But we have a lot of experience with loved ones living far away, and we know the three of us will be able to find our own authentic ways of honoring and maintaining our relationship beyond that. We don't know what those ways are yet, because every relationship is different and everyone needs different things to feel loved and supported, but we are committed to navigating that with you and building a healthy, loving, supportive relationship for everyone, especially your child.
Thank you so much for considering us as parents for your child.
Paddy & Ethan