The Hawkins Family Profile
We are very open to a wide range of characteristics in our future children. No matter who they are, we will love them unconditionally and seek to do what is best for them, including staying in touch with previous connections/relationships if it's a healthy choice, helping them discover elements of their cultural heritage, and supporting their interests and desires.
In general, We are looking to a child or sibling group up to four kids, boys or girls, of any ethnic background. We are willing to accept mild to moderate physical/medical disabilities--we are open to considering on a case-by-case basis more severe issues (including deaf or blind).
Our names are Katie and John Hawkins. We celebrated our 3rd wedding anniversary on January 14, 2020 and feel like it's time to share our love with a child or sibling group who needs a family and a loving home. We have known since before we got engaged that we both wanted to adopt--not out of lack, but out of abundance. We chose adoption because we want to share our blessings and love with kiddos who need it. We don't have the internal need to have biological children. Any child we adopt will be "ours" and we will love them unconditionally.
We live in the State of Oregon, in Keizer--a smaller suburban city, with close proximity to the larger cities in Oregon (less than an hour's drive from Portland), the coast, the mountains, and lots of awesome parks! We love to explore different places around Oregon and Washington (Seattle is only about a 3 hour drive). We have a lot of friends and family around, so we spend time visiting them at their homes or meeting in fun locations. Most of our friends have kids, so we're looking forward to our kids meeting theirs!
We have an energetic and loving 11-year-old standard poodle named Westley. He has a lot of personality and loves to be snuggled and pet. He is really good with the kiddos we've had visit us for respite care (as part of a therapeutic foster care program). He plays hide-and-seek (he's only the seeker), fetch, and does tricks to entertain the kids. He can even pick blueberries for himself off the plant in our backyard when the berries ripen at the end of summer.
While we're at home, we watch movies, play games, read books, and snuggle with our dog, Westley. We're involved in our church community, so we'll usually go to church on Sundays and to Bible studies midweek. There are fun activities at church and in the area we try to take advantage of too--musical theater, the Art Festival, and whatever else seems interesting. Katie really likes animals, so we visit the zoo, the aquarium, Wildlife Safari, horse ranches, and petting zoos. Katie also really likes snow, but it doesn't typically snow much in the Willamette Valley, so we will go and visit the snow on one of the local mountains (with year-round snow) when the mood strikes. Katie loves to discover new things, and John likes to go along for the ride, so we're frequently trying out new paths, taking the backroads, or finding fun new destinations to check out. We're excited to add in some new wanderings based on our kids' interests!
We're building new traditions, and look forward to getting input from our kiddos on what those traditions should be. We go to Hood River each year with Katie's parents, grandparents, and siblings if they're in town. We check out different fruit stands and farms--and eat some good food! We usually go to the Oktoberfest in Mount Angel to eat some delicious food, check out the artisan vendors, and listen to the polka music. And we usually check out some light displays around Christmas. This year, we went to the Oregon Garden and even took a picture in their tunnel of light. It was cold, but really fun!
Home and Community
We live in single-story, 3 bedroom, two bathroom home, in a comfortable, clean neighborhood with a couple elementary schools and a park within walking distance. We also have several parks throughout the Keizer and Salem communities. The Salem Riverfront Park has a carousel and a children's museum, and is only about a 15 minute drive from our house. There's even the "Let's All Play Place" a therapy and community play area, where people of all abilities can come together in a safe environment that welcomes everyone. It's a great way for kids to interact with other kids of differing abilities. We also have the Oregon School for the Deaf about a 12 minute drive from home, and they have parent resource groups and even have a haunted house each year. Enchanted Forest is open during the summer months and is about a 20 minute drive from our home. It's a fun place to walk through themed areas based on children stories, ride big and small rides, see shows, and either buy food there or bring a picnic. We also have one of the 26 Kroc Centers nationwide. There's a rockwall, plus an awesome pool with a waterslide and lazy river for casual playing and swimming. There's also lots of different classes for kids--swimming, dance, arts and culture, and day camps.
The Portland area has a lot of additional children's activities and it's typically only 45-60 minutes to drive to them. There's the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI), Oregon Zoo, Portland Children's Museum, Portland Art Museum, Oaks Amusement Park, and many cultural venues. John and Katie spent a lot of their dating time at the Chinese Garden in downtown Portland because it reminded Katie of her time in China and was a peaceful place to go together. Also within an hour's drive is Evergreen Wings and Waves Waterpark and Aviation and Space Museum. Within two hours, there is the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and a smaller Seaside Aquarium if kids are interested in learning about sealife beyond what the Oregon zoo has. Wildlife Safaris is just under a 2 hour and 30 minute drive from our house. They have a drive-through safari as well as an area you can walk through. We have lots of things that can appeal to kids of all ages and interests. We love to explore new places together and return to our favorites. There are lots of fun seasonal kids activities especially around fall harvest and the holiday season. We try out different ones each year and look forward to including our kiddos in deciding which ones to go to.
The Salem-Keizer School District has strong music and sports programs, as well as over 50 different Career Technical Education (CTE) programs at the high school level. They're adding more CTE programs in all of the middle schools and have career exploration opportunities at all levels, even down to early elementary. We have several charter schools in the area that specialize in different things (hands-on business learning, STEM learning, and arts-focused learning options) if the traditional models aren't offering enough of the things that interest and engage the kiddos.
We are involved in a local church--it's a kind and supportive community with lots of kid-specific classes where they can learn and play with their peers. There are a lot of other churches in the area, so if needed we can find a different community to help our kiddos feel connected. We have strong community with our friends and family in the area too--many of them have kids who our kids can play with and enjoy the fun activities in the area.
While we don't currently have kids of our own, we do respite care for kids in a therapeutic foster care program. We've gone through training for that program, as well as the Foundations training that the Department of Human Services provides for foster care providers. Katie has done a lot of babysitting for kids of all ages and was a youth group leader for middle schoolers. John and Katie have both individually been youth group leaders and mentored high school students. We do a lot of reading of parenting books and listening to podcasts, especially those related to foster care, adoption, and kiddos who have experienced trauma. We also have a support system of our friends and family, several of whom have adopted and know how to walk through healing from trauma.
We don't have all the answers, but we're willing to seek them and continue to look into solutions for challenges as they arise. We both have a growth mindset, so we'll keep learning to be more and more prepared for the various challenges we may find. We are a team and are committed to providing a strong foundation and unconditional love for our children to learn, grow, heal, and thrive.
We are very connected to Katie's extended family. She has friends, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in the area who provide a great sense of community and support. One of her cousins and his wife live in the Portland area and are certified foster parents. Katie's parents live in Puyallup, Washington, but come down to the area at least once a month. Those people in our support system will spend time with us and our new children, they'll pray for us and provide the emotional support and encouragement we need to keep moving forward.
We're getting more and more connected to the community in our church. There are families who have foster and adoption experience to walk alongside our family in this process. We also have friends of all races and cultures and have spent time immersed in other cultures, so we can help the kids understand their heritage--we'll go find the resources to do so.
We hope to get information from the kiddos' previous homes/social workers to get some guidance on what has worked well for the kiddos in the past. We live in an area that has many different services available, so we'll do research on what the kiddos need most and find the services to meet their needs.
Katie's already made contact with the founder of Stepping Stones Mentoring, Robert, who provides activities for youth to get together and connect with others who can relate to them. He grew up in and aged out of the foster system, so he can speak directly to what the kiddos may be feeling. He's done great things with his life, despite people telling him he'd not do anything worthwhile, so he can help the kiddos know they can accomplish so much if they put their minds and effort into it. We're always keeping our eyes and ears open for other services that our future kiddos may find helpful.
Motivation to Adopt
John and Katie never wanted biological children--this isn't settling for adoption because we had fertility issues--we chose this, from before we were even engaged. Katie has known since high school that she wanted to adopt, and John has known for several years he also has wanted to adopt. There are so many kids out there who have experienced struggle and pain that no child should endure--so many kids who want and need a family where they know they belong and are safe. Our hearts' desire is to provide a loving family to children, where we can share the love and blessings we've received. We go into this with eyes wide open that it will be challenging. We go into this process knowing we're going to have to find new solutions our friends and family haven't had to do with their children growing up without trauma. We have spent time educating our support system about what it could be like so they can be good supports to us and our future children. We are passionate about giving our future kiddos as much as we can to help them heal from the trauma they've experienced, and eventually become thriving adults, pursuing what they were created to do. Our faith gives us the foundation to provide unconditional love and a wealth of patience to these kiddos. We are fully dedicated to making this new family work no matter what.
We have done a lot to prepare for our future kiddos and continue to prepare for them. We have paid off our house and cars--we have no outstanding debts, which gives us a lot of freedom. Katie now freelances as she wants, but we have plenty of income with John's job that she's free to focus solely on our kids. We know kids who have experienced trauma need lots of flexibility and attention to best adjust, heal, and eventually thrive. We know it's not practical to try to fit our future kiddos into our existing lifestyle, so we're already preparing to build our lives around what they need (while still keeping our marriage strong as a good base from which they can go and grow).
We look forward with great anticipation to get to know our future kids and tailor their space in our home, our time, and activities to best embrace and support them. Our hearts are ready to love them!