We are hoping to adopt a child or sibling pair between the ages of 0-9 and are open to any gender or ethnicity. With my 12 year background in special education and Brian's experience in pediatric nursing, we feel comfortable parenting a child or children with mild/moderate needs including developmental, educational, behavioral, psychological, and medical.
Having worked for years with children and families in crisis and walking with them as they process trauma, Brian and I feel very aware and realistic about what our kiddos may be dealing with as they process heavy issues, losses, and transitions no matter what their age. We plan to welcome our child or children into our family just as they are, and give them the love, nurturing, tools, and support they need to be the best version of exactly who they are. We plan to nurture connectedness to their birth culture/heritage and honor important birth family relationships with whatever kind of contact and whatever kind of frequency is healthiest for them.
We are a family who loves to play outside! We are both active and love to bike, hike, camp, swim, play in the snow, go to the park, or have a picnic by the river. Luckily for us, we live in an area with loads of those activities at our fingertips! We also like to be active in our community. We love to participate in events like Bend Open Streets (when the streets are closed to cars and open up to families, pets, activity booths, and food), seasonally themed festivals, music concerts, and other similar events throughout the year.
That being said, we are also a family who values the art of relaxing! We love to cozy up for a movie night, have a lazy morning making breakfast together in our PJs, read and have quiet time at home, or play with our big fluffy dog Jasper.
We also love being silly together - we laugh and joke around a lot, tapping into obscure inside jokes or movie lines. On the other hand, we don't shy away from the serious topics in conversation. We enjoy processing verbally, being reflective, present, and curious about one another's experiences.
Our family also loves to explore. We like to make new memories, have new experiences, and learn new things together. We love to travel and check out what different places are all about. We also travel to visit family or re-experience fun things from our childhood and past such as the train museum, campgrounds, amusement parks, etc. We like to balance a love of family traditions with a spirit of adventure and making new memories.
We live in a single story home with 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It was built in 1964, but has been remodeled recently so it has the character of an older home, but the amenities of today - the best of both worlds! Our home is a reflection of our life as a family - warm, expressive with a quirky style, and lived in. We have a large backyard, which we hope to soon equip with a playground set, and some other fun things like a sandbox, a little pool for those warm summer days, and maybe a trampoline. There is a raised bed which I plan to turn into a garden this spring!
Our home is located in a charming neighborhood in northeast Bend. They call it the Orchard District because of all the mature fruit trees in the area. In our yard we have a peach tree and an apple tree! Our street is quiet and we know our neighbors, some of whom have kids of their own. The local elementary school and middle school are only about a 15 minute walk, so in the morning and afternoon it's not uncommon to see many kids out walking or biking in the neighborhood. There are 2 parks within a few blocks of our home - one with a dog park and one with a playground and baseball diamond. We are just a 5 minute drive from downtown Bend with many shops and eateries, and in the evening from our home you can hear the faint sound of the train that rolls through the middle of town.
The schools here in Bend are of high quality. Being a teacher myself, and having subbed at many schools here in town, I can personally attest to their quality. Many schools have a specific theme or focus such as dual immersion Spanish speaking, STEAM, positive behavior support, etc. I feel so lucky to have worked in this district in both special and general education, as I feel I will be very informed as we choose a school for our child or children, and I will appreciate the personal relationships I have developed as we advocate for their educational needs.
We also feel very lucky to live in a place with an abundance of resources and activities for kids and families. The Juniper Swim and Fitness center is just 5 minutes away, where there are multiple pools - indoor and outdoor - with water slides, pool toys, and swim classes for young and old as well as an activity room for kids. The Bend Parks and Recreation department is one of the most comprehensive we've ever seen! There are tons of classes and activities for kids and families to do together throughout the year, and an amazing system of beautiful parks with playgrounds, trails, and lots to explore! The river runs right through town where we can enjoy floating in the summer, picnicking, or watching the surfers tackle the man made wave! The High Desert Museum is just 20 minutes away, and for outdoor fun, the mountains are just a 30 minute drive complete with Mt. Bachelor ski resort where they offer children's ski and snowboard lessons or tubing in the winter, and bike riding in the summer!
We feel so happy to call this place home, and can't wait to enjoy it with our newest family members!
Because of our career paths, Brian and I both have a substantial amount of formal and informal training and experience working with children in a variety of capacities.
As a special educator, I have spent the last 12 years working with kids from a wide variety of backgrounds who have a wide variety of needs. I have worked in behavioral programs, worked with students from disadvantaged backgrounds, students who have experienced trauma and mental health issues. I've also worked with students who are profoundly impacted by autism, developmental delays, and health impairments. The bulk of my experience is in working with kids who have learning disabilities, such as dyslexia, ADD/ADHD, speech and processing delays, and challenges with executive functioning and working memory. These trainings and experiences will allow me to create structures to set my child/children up for success, advocate for their needs, and nurture the growth not only of social/behavioral/academic skills, but also a sense of self worth and confidence in who they are no matter what.
Brian is a registered nurse and spent the first 2 years of his career working in a children's hospital with kids who have cancer. He has an incredible amount of compassion and an ability to be present with kids in the most difficult moments, in the moments where it feels like everything is falling apart. Kids and families would request him by name, and he learned the skills necessary to support kids not only physically, but emotionally as well. He anticipated their needs, and provided highly complicated medical care all while making them laugh, developing special relationships with each of them, and navigating complicated and heavy family dynamics. Before he was a nurse, Brian spent 2 years as burn technician in a pediatric burn unit, dressing burns and being a support for patients and their families. As a father, Brian will be able to use the skills he developed to be the kind of parent who is present, competent, and emotionally available to his children no matter what.
In our personal lives, we have been beyond lucky to have some amazing kids in our lives through our family and friends. My cousins have kids ranging from 2-15, and although we've never lived close, I've tried to stay connected by remembering birthdays and Christmas gifts throughout the years - even though I'm "that" cousin who is a teacher and always buys them books!
Brian's brother is dating a woman whose son was 3 when we met him and is now 6. Another couple who are close friends have a 3 year old daughter whom we've known since she was born. These two have become like a niece and nephew to us! We were lucky enough to live in the same city for a bulk of years and spend lots of time and holidays together. To them we are Uncle Thor (Brian's nickname) and Aunt Bethany. They are so dear to us and though we are far away now, we stay in touch through face time and visits!
These days, Brian and I stay connected with the youth in our community by participating in a faith based youth collective, volunteering each week to build relationships with high school students.
Brian and I have also participated in the Present Moment Parenting Webinar, and have read the Whole Brain Child in preparation for parenting. I am formally trained in crisis prevention and intervention, and am reading The Connected Child book on developing attachment in adoptive families. We would like to participate in a TBRI parent training class, when it is offered.
Brian and I feel very fortunate to have a network of friends that are like family here in Bend, and supportive family members not far away in Oregon. We have several "friends like family" here locally. They are the people we know we could call in the middle of the night or in an emergency and they would drop everything to be there for us, no matter what - and we would do the same. They are people who we count on, who have been in our lives a long time, and who will be in our lives forever. They are all exceedingly excited and supportive of this journey of adoption we are on, and I know they will be closely involved along the way.
We also are fortunate to have extended family on the west side of Oregon, close enough to visit often!
We have close relationships with our immediate family members, and although most of them live in California, we know they will be a huge support. Only an 8 hour drive separates us, and I know my mom plans to make the trip often! Our families are so supportive of our decision to adopt through foster care, and are excited to meet their new (first, actually!) grandchild(ren) and niece(s)/nephew(s). Despite the distance we know they will be connected through frequent visits, video chats, and phone calls. They will also offer a vast amount of support (emotional and otherwise) for us as parents.
In our community there are many systems of support for us to tap in to. There are many organizations, such as the Family Resource Center (they offer a book of family resources, parent training, and more), and Action Through Advocacy (a local agency that supports foster families). In addition there are several medical facilities, including pediatrics, within 10 minutes of our home and lots of access to other supportive services in close proximity such as child and family therapists, occupational and speech therapy services, therapeutic swim classes, horse therapy, positive behavior support programs, and much more. For even more extensive or specialized services Portland is just a 3 hour drive away.
Brian was raised by a family that was not his biological family - it was his best friends' family whom he went to live with as a teen. Brian had to overcome many significant traumas from his childhood, and this family was the first place he felt consistent stability, acceptance, and appropriate guiding and coaching to become who he is today. This couple became like parents to Brian and to this day, he refers to them as his parents and we spend holidays and family events together. The significance of this experience led to Brian's drive toward this path.
I have wanted to adopt from foster care for a long time - the first time I can remember thinking about it was when I was 13 years old. Since then, my awareness has deepened and my desires have matured but the pull toward this path has never gone away.
When Brian and I became partners we talked about becoming foster parents later in life. When we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility a few years ago, it became clear to us that this is the way we want to build our family.
We know the path will not be easy, we know attachment will not happen instantly, we know we will always be adjusting our expectations - but we also know that we will be fiercely committed to our children, no matter what. We will love them unconditionally, and feel we have the tools and resources necessary to support them through whatever comes their way.