Dear Expectant Mother:
We can only imagine what a difficult and complicated time this might be for you. We want you to be happy. We want the baby to be happy. To us, happiness is to health, safety, and love; a way of living, of paying attention to children, grandparents and pets. To us, happiness is being together and knowing that we are part of something. What we’re trying to express is that as adoptive parents we offer close family ties, imagination and fun. Even though we haven’t been able to have children of our own, there are grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and friends and colleagues who are as exited as we are to welcome your child with open arms.
You might think that as an 8th grade language arts teacher and a college professor of composition that our letter might be more exciting, but it is as close as words can get to describing us. We are a couple who is content to lounge around the fireplace and play a board game with our brothers and sisters or sharpen marshmallow sticks and make s'mores over the fire pit with our nieces and nephews. We're those people who have warm memories of eating popcorn while watching The Wizard of Oz. We do our best to tell the truth about what we think and feel, and we believe that we would help grow an independent, secure, and loved child.
Tabita’s parents live in LaSalle, Ontario, Canada but make the trip to Chicago as often as they can. Her oldest brother Ted, his wife Ruth, and children Claire, Theo, and Nate live nearby in Chicago. Sunday dinners are our thing. Her brother Neno lives in Toronto but is always looking opportunities to visit. Todd’s parents live a couple of hours away in Wisconsin, which means easy access for spur of the moment visits and longer stays. Even though Todd’s brother, Kevin, his wife Melissa, children Will and Emma and pugs Teddy and Ike live in Morgantown, West Virginia, they talk every weekend. Todd’s sister, Julie, lives in Minneapolis and looks forward to her “eating adventures” in Chicago. There are other extended family members and friends, spread out the states and abroad, but they are held close through visits and correspondence.
We first met in college where we both worked on a magazine. At first, Tabita was not impressed, but Todd’s charms quickly won her over. When we got married we were as poor as church mice. Our reception was in the church basement. It was catered by our parents, who purchased cold cuts and fruit. Despite our best man fighting with the janitor who wouldn’t let us into the sanctuary to take pictures, we’ve been married for a long time. We made it through Todd’s working the night shift at a retirement home, to an apartment with a gas leak, and a miscarriage.
Now we both have jobs that we love, two cats that keep us warm and a home we’ve made into our sanctuary. We cook and eat, read and knit, and enjoy each other’s company. Our faith keeps us honest and grounded.
There are a thousand moments that come to mind when I think of Todd, but there are two pictures that are the strongest.
It’s a warm summer day, ideal for a family picnic in the backyard. Everyone is there and happy to be together. There’s laughing and yelling and all the kids are playing tag using the adults as blockades. Except for Todd and his nephew Will. Todd is sitting on one of those old folding chairs that leave marks on the back of your legs, and 5-year old Will is on his lap. They are in their own world, deep in a discussion about superheroes. I don’t hear the details but I see the protective shield around them. Click.
The next image is a rainy day. On our way to lunch with my brother and his family, we’re caught in a torrential downpour. Todd scoops up 2-year old Theo and dashes for the restaurant. I’m right behind, but in just two seconds we are all drenched to the bone. As we enter the restaurant, Theo wraps his arms around Todd’s neck and says, “I love you Todd.” I’m not sure if it’s rain or tears on my face. Click.
Todd still “talks comics” with Will and he still protects Theo. But he also has deep conversations with serious Claire and makes “poop” jokes with mischievous Nate. I already know that Todd is kind and funny, but it’s nice to catch him in those moments.
It was her idea, but it was my birthday. “Are you sure?” she asked. I was, and off we went to the tattoo parlor. We agreed that our tattoo had to be symbolic, that it should signify our bond. Given our initials, we searched for dynamite or cherry bombs, or some version of TnT. We settled on anchors, which crossed over to form Ts. “We’re anchored together,” she said. And I agreed.
It’s her hands, and her feet, and her face that move me in ways that are hard to describe. During our wedding ceremony, as Tabita was walking down the aisle I heard a friend gasp: “She’s gorgeous.” Tabita will deny the account. I know better.
When we were working out our marriage ceremony, making decisions about music and scriptures and such, Tabita arranged for a friend to play oboe. “We don’t need a big song,” Tabita said. “We need contemplation and beauty.” I agreed and that’s been our life ever since.
Thanks for considering us as adoptive parents. To learn more about us, please contact our adoption counselor, Tobi, who would be happy to answer your questions. Feel free to contact her at Tobi@centerforfamily.com
or send Tobi a text message at 847.366.6351. You can also email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tabita and Todd