Our family began in August 2010. Roger and I had known each other for a whopping 5 months before we decided to tie the knot. We were both going to school and working full time. We wasted no time trying to start our family. Roger went to school for robotics and electrical technology and Michelle was studying Deaf Culture and Music Education. During the first few years of their marriage, Roger worked in jobs involving electronics and computer programming while I worked with children with special needs.
After 5 years of trying to grow our family through IVF, IUI's, and every other way available to us, we dipped our toe into the amazing world of adoption. We were contacted by Jackson's birth family in March 2015 and three weeks later, he was here! He was perfect in every way and we formed a bond with our new family. After 4 years, we wanted to adopt again. Jackson's birth Aunt knew of a friend from high school who was looking to place for adoption which is how we got in contact with our two girls. Kennedy was Born in January of 2019. Then when Kennedy was 6 months old we got news of a surprise sister that would be due the following May! Thus formed our little family.
We keep in close contact with our birth families. We feel strongly about having a relationship with those that have a positive and supportive role in our children's lives. Since both families live relatively close to us (1 hr and 30 min drive away), we try to get together for birthday's, holidays, and special events.
I am often asked about having an open adoption and what that is like for us. For us, it has been an amazing experience. I like to compare it to having in-laws. My husband's family is my own, but they are not blood. Sure there can be bad relationships between in-laws...I've never experienced that. We've had amazing relationships with each other's families (who all live within 2 hours of us). It has been the same with our birth families. They are the family of our kids, thus they are our family too. There can never be too much love and support for a child, no matter where it comes from. Not only that, but there is no one in the world that will love my kids more than the birth families. Especially from the birth moms. If I take a picture of some stupid thing my kid is doing, no one else is going to think it is as cute as I do more than their birth mom. Not to mention grandparents. No one, NO ONE, can have too many grand parents. We have 5 involved grandma's, 2 grandpas, 1 pop pop that will always be remembered, and a great grandma. That is not to mention our birth aunts, uncles and cousins! We would love to continue with having open relationships with our future birth families.
Since our family has grown, we have both gotten our degrees and got ourselves some grown up jobs! Roger currently is working for a tech company as a data integration developer and I am mostly a stay at home mom for the most part. I do teach local kids music lessons in piano, cello, violin and viola. We are active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Jackson is involved with Kenpo, Swimming, and Gymnastics. The girls love to do online preschool, preschool playgroups, swimming, and Gymnastics. We keep busy but find it very important to have down time every day to play and spend time together. We aren't perfect, but our home is filled with love.
We live in a 'trick or treating' neighborhood. It's a neighborhood where on Halloween, all the kids are out trick or treating, people are in their driveways with bonfires and hot dogs. It's a neighborhood where kids ride their bikes in the summer and the younger kids run from front yard to front yard as a pack while the parents congregate and chat. We live in a modest 5 bedroom, 3 bath house with a large, fully fenced back yard with a playset, sand box, teeter totter, playhouse and a pumpkin patch. We have both sides of the family nearby so we have a lot of cousins and get togethers. Roger has a stable job that pays for necessities and I work very little to bring in a little extra money for bigger Christmases or family vacations. We love our town and participate in Christmas light parades, rodeos, fairs, and charity events. We are active LDS but are very open minded and are accepting of all people no matter their beliefs.
One thing about our family that is important is that we make our birth families our family. We meet at least 3-4 times a year, facetime, share pictures, etc. My son's birthmom needed more space after we placed, so I made a blog about everything our son was doing and what he was up to so that she could look at it when she felt she could. I felt it important that she didn't feel like she missed out on anything while she took time to heal. The birth mom of our girls needed more contact. She needed to know that they were ok. With the eldest, the birth family came to our house a week after she was born so they could visit and see how everything was going. Then when Mads was born, our birthmom kept her for a week to bond with her before we took her home (it was during covid so visiting was going to be tricky).
We have a healthy open relationship with our birth families built on trust, boundaries, respect, and communication. I hope that we can be one of the good examples of what an open adoption can look like.
At my very core, I am a mom. It has been what I have always wanted since I was a child and throughout life. I grew up in Utah and focused on cello, choir, friends and joined every club that time would allow. I am outgoing and very social. I sometimes warn my new friends that I'm 'aggressively friendly.' I love talking to people and getting to know their life stories. I went to various colleges in Utah and took breaks in my educational journey to teach English in China, Nanny for families in Utah, New Jersey, and Virginia, and serve a mission in Chicago (Spanish). I've taught cello lessons on and off since I was 16. Now I teach cello, violin, and piano in my home. I went to college to study Music education then switched over to Deaf Culture. I am semi fluent in ASL I eventually graduated with a degree in Interdisciplinary studies (Which is what happens when you have a million credits in many different subjects that do not correlate whatsoever). I also got a license for Real Estate but ultimately decided it took too much time away from my family to have that as a career. So now I just do it for close friends and family.
When I was younger, I have always taken positions where I was caring for others or for children. I found that caring for individuals with special needs was the most fulfilling. It's probably no coincidence that I spent years caring for children with Autism then having a child with Autism. It's like I was prepared for the moment of being a mother by a higher being. If there is one thing I could talk endlessly about, it's Autism! I'm the kind of person where if a challenge is presented, I research it with a passion.
Other than being a mother, I love to look at houses (selling, buying, parade of homes, interior decorating, etc.), play music, sing, plan parties, being social, and being with my family. On the odd night, I'll take up a sewing project or a home improvement. I love having a project. One summer, we bought a beater RV and renovated it. Then after having one night camping, all of us stuffed in a tiny camper, we sold it. I like to say it was because we could make a profit from it, which we did. But really, I just didn't enjoy begging my children to go to sleep at one in the morning. I know camping is exciting....but Roger, me and Madi on one queen size 'bed'....I won't be doing that for a while. Maybe when Madi can be trusted to stay in the bed we put her in and not sneak into her sibling/s beds....over and over and over. ....I'm so glad we didn't bring the dog.
I am perhaps the favorite parent of the two, as Jackson likes to say, "Dad is the most fun, but Mom is the most safe", and to the girls I am best as, "The big daddy who plays pretend and gives good hugs". As an Oregon native I was raised on a Boysen berry farm 45 minutes west of Portland and about an hour away from any where important. My roots come from being the only boy in a family as the middle brother between two very outgoing sisters, and, most importantly, I grew up in the shadow of my father, who was a Native American archeologist/anthropologist who was very smart, and my mother who was the "stay home and raise the kids" professional and home maker extraordinaire. The five of us learned to love a simpler living living on property away from town, and from this I was given the foundation of a good "down to earth" kind of up bringing that has served me well all my life and that I reflect back on often and with happiness.
Fast forward in my story and you will find me attending a handful of different colleges and universities in the pursuit of learning anything and everything I can about technology. I am nerd at heart and love lots of different things surrounding our modern world and way of living. This has lead me to learn lots about electricity, programming computers, how things are built, and how things can be broken. I eventually became a graduate from Western Governors University with a bachelors degree in Software Development, and I currently work as Data Developer for a small company that produces a wide range of legal software, and it has been an incredibly joyful experience.
My personality is very laid back and non-judgmental, and as an added benefit to my low key demeanor I often find myself very happy with the most simple of things. I love to spend time with my family, with my friends, and learning new and exciting things about the world around me. In my free time I spend many hours learning how to repair electronics, grow gardens, and cook and bake good food. I spend time helping people fix their problems with electricity and computers, and I enjoy making the best of every hard situation I come across for the benefit of those around me. All in all I live to understand the things around me and have loved every minute of it.