We fell in love after meeting through mutual friends and got engaged last August. We live together with Sam's four bio children, 12, 11, 8 and 4 in beautiful Western Massachusetts in a lovely farmhouse with almost four acres. We have a dog, a cat and a hamster!
We live a totally kid-oriented life. When we met more than two years ago, we both found we had a passion for children in common. Although Tommy doesn't have children of his own, he's worked with children and youth almost his whole life. Sammie always wanted a big family (think 6-8!) since the time she was a very little girl. She and Tom have both always wanted to adopt. We can't wait for the privilege of raising a child through adoption.
Tom works as a health educator at the local university. Sammie stayed home with her four children. She is an ordained minister, a 20-year yoga teacher, and a published novelist. She works very part-time now and intends to stay home with the new little one.
We have a big, local community. Friends are so important to us--and our children--and we have nurtured friendships that span decades. We have regular playdates with friends, have friends over, and both Sammie and her older daughter belong to sacred circles (one for girls and one for women!).
We have a full and busy life. Emmett plays trumpet and rock climbs. Adeline does chorus and ballet. Ellias is doing Frisbee now (but has done soccer and basketball), and Annie goes to gymnastics. All the kids are voracious readers. But we're pretty keen on not over scheduling them. We believe in daily down-time, wandering outside time, recreating the kinds of childhood we remember when you got to spend lots of time outside exploring and creating imaginary worlds.
We have loving extended family. Sammie's mother and step-father are very involved. They live on the charming island of Nantucket and we take regular visits there. Sam's mom in particular is a very generous, exuberant grandmother! We also have an amazing Godmother who is a big part of our life. On Tom's side it's a special grandmother who sends care packages for every holiday (they live in Arizona) and a sister who's eager to become a first time Aunt.
We love to do so many things. We hike together as a family a lot. Walk together. Go to the trampoline park and the roller skating rink (kid favorites). I think I mentioned reading but all the kids are crazy for books. We have weekly library trips. We all love the water for swimming, (Ellias has a kayak), playing in the sand and picnics. We play A LOT of games. We do dinner games, trivia games, board games and card games. We do improv games and funny hand games. We make up stories together. Discipline is a real thing with four children and we have a "fill the bucket" list for each kid as they work to get 20 stars by doing bucket filling activities (showing love, helpfulness, kindness, sharing, etc.). Every other Friday we have book in bed night where all the kids (even the oldest!) curl up in bed with mom while she reads never before seen picture books from the library. There is also so much baking in this house! All the kids love to bake and cook. Sometimes it's hard to get them out of the kitchen. Since the birth of Sam's second child, she has had weekly "special time," which is one-on-one time with each child, set aside especially.
On our own Tom and Sammie love to dance. We love comedy. We love to be with our friends. We spend time on house and gardening projects. Sammie has a big vegetable garden. We take little trips whenever we can, to Vermont or New Hampshire, to see the ocean or to climb a mountain.
What makes us happy is being together. Sam is never happier than when she's got the whole family together. And when she first met Tom she asked him what family meant to him and he said, "showing up." It was a powerful statement and so true! Showing up for each other is a lot of what we do. We show up for the laughs and the tears, the fights and the hugs.
We love one another very much. For Sam, this is a second chance at the forever family that didn't happen in her first marriage. We think it makes us better prepared as adoptive parents. Life's road is crooked and unpredictable. You don't get to call all the shots. But there's a lot of beauty and a lot of hope and sometimes even the things that at first seem the worst end up granting us the biggest blessings.
Welcome to our home! There's only one spot for a picture here and we wanted to share the view from our house to the farm across the street with a big open field--home to a donkey and miniature ponies. It's a pretty wonderful view. There's a great hiking hill in the back. If you look at our home photo album you'll see many other photos of the house.
We live in a lovely, big farmhouse on almost four acres. We're a five minute drive from the local elementary school. Our town is a charming little town nestled between two bigger towns with lots of colleges. It's a safe, fun neighborhood with lots of good walks. We also have a trail we created through our back woods that's wonderful to walk in all seasons. There's a Lake down the road for kayaking and a sugar house around the corner where we go every spring for sugaring breakfasts (and they tap some of our trees for their maple syrup!).
We have a couple of tree swings, a play house and a big garden where we grow lots of vegetables for the summer. In the winter we curl up by our wood stove and we eat all our meals in the summer on our screened porch.
If you aren't familiar with it, Massachusetts is a wonderful state to live in. We get to be by the ocean in the summer and we live near mountains (though smaller than what's in the West). Our local schools are excellent and some of the best colleges are here also. Our community is safe and friendly. There are dozens of farmer markets and farm shares (lots of local food) and we get all four beautiful seasons.
It's hard to pick only one picture to go along with each section! But here I am.
The first thing I want to tell you about myself is that since the time I was a very young girl, I wanted to be a mother. And I always wanted to have a big family. And I wanted to adopt. I can remember falling asleep thinking about my future family. I had six dolls and dressed them and cared for them. I also put our family cat in a diaper and pushed him a stroller!
I do many things now that I'm grown up. I'm an ordained minister and have been for nearly twenty years. I've taught yoga for twenty years and practiced for more than thirty. And I'm a writer. I've had two books (both funny novels about motherhood) published. And I was able to stay home and raise my four children. I feel truly blessed to have children. My heart is for my children and for all children. I love to be with them, take care of them, hang out with them, and learn from them. I had the best time when I homeschooled my third child for kindergarten.
I am a devoted mother. I'm a loving partner. I'm a decent cook! We sit down to home cooked meals every night. I don't do gourmet but I've gotten really good at making a meal as quickly as possible that everyone will eat and enjoy and that's healthy. (I've been a vegetarian since I was 12.) I'm a good friend, too. I have friends from decades and decades. All of these friends are involved in our family and have connections to the kids.
People tell me I'm patient; I always want to be more patient! I'm a do-er. I like to accomplish things. I love my work. Teaching yoga is such a wonderful gift to share and I am a quarter time pastor at a United Methodist Church.
First, I love to be with everyone. All of us together. Hanging out, hiking, going to the library, taking a day trip adventure. Then when I'm not with my kids and they are with their bio father, I love to be with Tommy. He is the kindest, most present person I've ever met. We have so much fun together. He laughs at my jokes (which makes me happy), and we like to do anything funny, from watching comedy to making it ourselves. Just being around him makes my day. He's a strong, solid, dependable, generous, honest guy.
And if I'm not with anyone or working--I practice yoga, I write, I read, I walk, and I do a lot of laundry and cleaning and fixing around the house!
Though I don't have children of my own, I've dedicated my life to supporting and celebrating kids. Through years of work as an educator I have come to realize my calling to be a parent. This calling was brought into possibility through my love for Sam and her children.
I work in higher education as a public health educator. I have the gift of a job that is stable, flexible and meaningful. I work with students and direct a theater troupe. I'm passionate about my work and our family. I get to have fun in my work and let fun, play and humor be a part of all the aspects of my life. I believe in people's innate capacity for resilience and in play and fun as a way to live. It's part of the joy of being able to use creativity in my work and in parenting Sam's children.
I'm a transplant from the Southwest. I've tried to hold onto my Southwestern ideals: to relax, to slow down, to be kind and non-judgmental. I'm a romantic. I'm the one in the relationship who does cards and candy and plans the dates. I really like to spend time and devote energy to the relationship. In fact, I think it's what will make Sam and I such great parents together. We've been committed to creating a strong, solid base as we get ready to welcome a precious new person into our lives.