We both grew up in Christian homes and church has always been very important to both of us. So naturally, it was through our church, and a mutual friend that introduced us, that we both met. Our relationship started off as “just friends” hanging out with other friends. We all had a bit of a tradition of going to the nearby Borders bookstore after church on Wednesday nights, grabbing a cup of coffee and chatting for a while before calling it a night. But as the months went by, we found ourselves staying until closing time where we would take our conversation outside and then spend another hour or so by ourselves talking in the parking lot!
We began seriously dating in September 2007. A year later, after having a “magical” day at Disney’s Magic Kingdom in Florida, David proposed under the “Wishes” fireworks show. We were married in March of 2009, surrounded by a number of friends and family, and for the most part it’s been a “happily ever after” ever since.
After being married for a few years, we decided we wanted to start our family. But after a couple years of trying, for whatever reason, we weren’t able to conceive. We talked and prayed about whether we might try fertility treatments, but we felt very unsettled about it, and ultimately believed that’s not where God was leading us.
We desperately want to become parents! We’ve shed tears over it. Prayed over it. We want to share our lives and our love with a child and to raise them up knowing about God and His love for us! God was working in us to reveal His plan, and after talking and praying for several months, we both agreed that He was leading us to adopt a child.
Scripture shows us that adoption is near and dear to God’s heart. After all, Jesus Himself was adopted by His earthly father, and God has also adopted us into His family (John 1:12), as His sons and daughters. God has a unique way of building families in unconventional ways in order to accomplish extraordinary things! Because we know that adoption is close to the heart of God, we are passionate about bringing a child into our home to be apart of our family through adoption.
Adoption was always something that we had both thought about from the beginning of our marriage. It’s even part of our family’s history. During the early 1900’s, David’s great-great-grandfather ran the North Dakota Children’s Home for more than 25 years, caring for orphans and providing them loving homes. He even adopted one of those children into his family. Also, when David’s grandmother was 18, she gave birth to a child that she placed for adoption. Unfortunately, she kept it a secret for many years, which only made us realize how hard that decision must have been and how strong and courageous she was. We wish we could tell other young women that there is no shame in wanting what is best for your child and choosing adoption for them can be a wonderful thing!
Another aspect of how God was speaking to us about adoption was through our church. Several of our members have an adoption story to tell, and every year, David is a part of producing videos that tell those stories. As we have listened to the stories and have asked questions and allowed God to lead us, our hearts have only grown more passionate about building our family through adoption.
We live in a small, quiet neighborhood in Clearwater, FL. Our neighborhood has many young families with small children. Our two-story town-home has three bedrooms and two and half bathrooms. We have set up the nursery and decorated it in a Classic Winnie-the-Pooh theme. It is absolutely adorable – the only thing that’s missing is a baby!
Boo-Boo is our seven-year-old orange and white Tabby cat. We adopted him when he was a kitten, and he is the “king” of our house! Boo is a sweet and playful cat by nature. His favorite things are his blue mousey and cat nip. He loves to be around us and will sit in our laps and cuddle while we are watching TV. He also sleeps at the end of our bed at night and will wake us in the morning by giving us head-butts and kisses. Boo-Boo is also very smart – we were able to potty-train him (yes, on the toilet!) last year, so no more litter box! While Boo is a bit cautious around strangers, he warms up to people quickly, and we just know he’s going to love the children that we bring into our home through adoption!
Our family lives throughout Florida. David’s parents live in Merritt Island where he grew up, and his two sisters and their families live in Jacksonville. Rachael’s parents, her brother and his family, and David’s grandparents live in the Orlando area. Between our siblings, we have nine nieces and nephews that we absolutely adore! They range in age from 3 to 14. They are all looking forward to having a baby cousin.
We see our families often, and we especially enjoy spending holidays with them. We always spend Easter Sunday morning at church, but will have a big dinner afterwards. Memorial Day and Independence Day are often spent doing family picnics and bar-b-cues, going to the beach, or swimming in the pool.
We don’t “celebrate” Halloween, but we don’t ignore it either. Typically, we’ll have a fun and safe fall festival event for the kids at church. David has had fun in the past carving pumpkins with a Star Wars theme.
We tend to rotate who’s home we’ll be at for Thanksgiving and Christmas from year to year, but there’s always great food, lot’s of baking, and great company! Every Christmas David’s sisters bake Birthday cakes for Jesus. They light the candles and all the kids sing “Happy Birthday, Jesus!”
Our family also loves to play games, especially Shanghai! It’s usually not long before someone is breaking out the cards and gathering others around.
We attend church at one of the largest churches in Pinellas county. We are actively involved in two small groups (or Bible study groups) during the week. Both groups have families with small children. We enjoy serving on Sunday morning on the Media Team. Rachael also serves during Vacation Bible School each summer.
One of the things we love most about our church is the Agape Ministry. This ministry is dedicated to supporting adoptive and foster care families in our church, which we have many! This ministry has already been a blessing to us, and we know it will continue to be a blessing after we bring a child into our family.
We live in an active community with lots of beautiful parks, playgrounds, bike trails, public pools, splash parks, and beaches. We also live within minutes to downtown Dunedin, which is a beautiful small-town area with restaurants, shops, a marina, and weekend family activities. It’s one of our favorite places, and we spend a lot of time there.
I grew up in a Christian home, with very loving parents and two older sisters. Since my dad was a NASA engineer, I was raised on the “Space Coast” of Florida. My mother was an elementary teacher for many years before later becoming an elementary assistant principle. I think I had a great childhood, with plenty of fun and great memories, family get-togethers, and vacations.
After graduating high school, I moved to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida, where I majored in Radio/Television Production and took a minor in Computer Science. During my last year or two of college, I had the opportunity to work at one of the local TV news stations, but realized it wasn’t what I was truly passionate about - that God was (and had been for years) leading me into full-time Christian ministry.
A few years later, I met Rachael. She was in part how I came to be on staff at our church as the Director of Media. About a year after we were married, God led us to move to the west coast of Florida. For the last four years, I’ve been serving on the staff of a large church in the Tampa Bay area, leading over the TV and media production ministry. It’s a GREAT church, and I love being a part of what they are doing to share the good news of Jesus Christ!
Outside of work and church, my favorite thing to do is spend time with my family. I also enjoy shooting video that’s not work related. On occasion, I like to work on our family history research. I’m not a big sports guy - played some baseball and tennis when I was younger, and did track and field - but I was brought up to love the Atlanta Braves, since my grandparents and cousins lived there, but I’m ok with watching other teams, too! Because I like Star Wars so much, I might on occasion play some different Star Wars related video games (which Rachael doesn’t really play, but she’s ok that I do), so I’m really looking forward to having a child that I can play those with one day!
I was born into a loving Christian home to two wonderful parents. My Daddy was a photographer in the Navy, and Mama was a stay-at-home mom. Because Daddy was in the military, we moved a few times growing up. We lived overseas on Guam for a couple years while I was in preschool. My younger brother, Nathan, was born there, and we returned to the states when I was 4. We lived in Maryland until I was 10, and the summer between elementary and middle school, we moved to Central Florida. Although I was not born here, I consider myself a Florida girl!
I have always loved working with children. I knew from the time that I was 8 years old that I wanted to be a teacher, and I began babysitting and working in the church nursery when I was 12. I graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education. I also have a Masters in Christian Education from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Children are my passion, and I love working with them on a daily basis.
I am currently a first grade teacher at our local Christian school. I have also taught pre-k and kindergarten. One of my favorite pastimes is searching through Pinterest for new and creative ideas that I can use in my classroom! I also enjoy reading and relaxing by the pool or the beach.