Jay and I have thought about writing this letter for a while now, because we are wondering what you will read into it. Will you be able to read between the lines and see us for who we truly are? As we sit and weave our lives into words for you to read, we think about how our hearts are poured into these sentences. We think about what to write about. We think about our lives as we grew up. We think of our families, previous pets, siblings and cherished memories. We see our life now with our wonderful son, our dogs, and work. We think about our family vacations. We think about all the things, people and events we hold dearest in our hearts. How do we convey who we are by mere words?
We were told to address this letter "Dear Birthmother and Birthfather", but both of you have names. We don't know them. Not yet, and still, it is something we wish we knew. To us, it seems important.
We know all of these letters are going to start to sound the same. We know you are making a life-giving sacrifice and we can only imagine the heartache, love, and care that went into your decision to choose a family for your beautiful child. What love you must have for your child! And my next thought is, "Do we deserve such a wondrous gift?"
Our lives have brought us here to this moment, wondering what words to place on this paper to show you who we are and what is in our hearts. Then maybe, you will be able to answer for us, "Do we deserve YOUR wondrous gift?"
Hello! We are Jay, Lisa, and Michio! We have been married almost six years. We both work for the Department of Defense. Our son Michio was adopted at the age of 23 months from China. He is now five years old and the light and joy of our lives! We also have two wonderful dogs, Scrappy and Midnight, who joined our family before we were blessed with the arrival of our son from China. We also have two pet guinea pigs, which our son has affectionately named Rhino, after the guinea pig in the movie Bolt, and Optimus Prime. When we married, we planned on having children, but could not have biological children, and looked into adoption. Adoption has made all our dreams come true, and the process, travel, and whole experience was absolutely wonderful! This time, we are looking into a domestic adoption, instead of international. We want you to know that we can mentally comprehend the decision you are making, but we will never fully understand the depth of the love, care, and heartache you are going through in your desire to choose a family to parent your child. We have never experienced what you are going through, nor will we never fully grasp what you are enduring. We have thought about our level of comfort in domestic adoption. Right now, we feel we would be more than happy to send pictures, letters, and updates at least once a month, and hopefully have visits. We would love to be able to post the photos to a website that is protected and upload photos, and if we can figure it out, video. As our child gets older, we would like to send school projects, crafts, letters, and photos. We would also like to request a letter from YOU as something your child can read when he/she gets older. We may also be open to phone contact, especially as our child gets older. Of course, if your preference is a closed adoption, please know we will respect your wishes. We will still send pictures, letters, and updates to the agency, just in case you change your mind.
Jay was raised in Rhode Island. He is the eldest of two children. His father left his mother when Jay was only five, and his sister was two. Jay was raised by his mother, from whom he learned the value of hard work, family, and perseverance. He has a loving relationship with his mother and sister, and frequently talks to both. He loved to swim in high school and still does to this day! He earned very good grades in school, and went on to earn in Bachelor's Degree. He has been with the Department of Defense for over 17 years, in several different capacities. He is currently the nurse in charge of a surgical floor. Jay loves to spend time with his wife and son. He enjoys video games, watching movies, any kind of sports, physical fitness, and travel.
Lisa was raised in California, and is also the eldest child in her family of three children. Lisa had a great childhood, and remembers fondly family vacations, pets, and her close-knit extended family. Lisa's parents divorced when she was 31, and it was a complete shock to the entire family. She had a very stormy relationship with her father after the divorce, but when she adopted Michio, things quickly repaired with hard work from both Lisa and her Dad. She now enjoys a wonderful, open, loving relationship with her father, as well as her mother and two brothers. She has three nephews, a niece, several uncles, aunts, cousins, and her paternal grandmother, all of which she has a fulfilling relationship with, and keeps in touch with at least once a month. Lisa is a labor/delivery/postpartum nurse after being a stay-at-home mom for Michio for almost three years. She loves to go to shopping, antiques, museums, travel, learning about history, and spending time with her son and husband.
We have one son, Michio, who was born in China. He was adopted at 23 months of age, and suffered from malnutrition due to his cleft lip and palate. His lip was repaired in China. We have since had his palate corrected, and a lip revision. He will need several more surgeries as he grows to make sure his jaw and teeth align properly. We have been with him for all his surgeries except for the one performed in China. We feel he was chosen by God to be our child. Once we saw his picture, we knew he was our son. He was adopted in November of 2006, and is now a five year old in preschool and a major source of joy in his father's and mother's lives! He loves to play sports, go shopping with Mommy and Daddy, play video games with Daddy, and make up cute stories to go along with his playtime. He is kind, caring, compassionate, gentle, and loving. He loves his dogs and his guinea pig. He helps out at home by feeding his pets, making his bed, and picking up his toys when he's done playing with them. His parents couldn't imagine life without him!
One thing about international adoption from China is that we have NO information on his birthfamily at all. When we adopted him, we received a letter containing an Abandonment Decree. We know he wasn't abandoned, but that his family loved him so much they had to get him the medical care he so desperately needed...at least that is what we'd like to believe. His mother and father in China has no idea as to whether or not he is alive or dead. They have no idea if he's been adopted, or where he is in the world. This is NOT what we want for our next child, and are hoping that our birthfamily will be involved in our child's life. We will respect any choice you make in regards to contact. We will abide by all your desires, such as photos, videos, updates, and contact.
We currently live in Texas. We love the multicultural neighborhood we live in. We are close to many major attractions, parks, and museums. There is snow skiing in the winter about an hour north of where we live, and during the summer, there are plenty of pools and rivers to play in. We're also close to camping, historical sites, shopping, hospitals, and schools. Our neighborhood is a medium sized apartment complex located off of a major street. The community is gated, and we have security patrols. We like our neighborhood! We also own a home in Florida, but are currently renting it out due to Jay's job, and his need to be in Texas for it.
Our son has been asking for a baby sister for the last year, and he excitedly picks out pink outfits in the stores for HIS baby sister. Our son tells us he wants a baby sister because "baby sister won't take my toys". He asks us frequently when his baby sister will come home, and someday, we'll be able to tell him that she'll be home VERY soon! Although, we will say, we do not care what gender the child is. The child will be loved fully! We view adoption as a choice, both by the adoptive parents and the birth family. We also feel that we must be open about adoption so that our son knows we love him for who he is and how he came to bless our family. Adoption is beautiful to Jay and I, and that is the reason we let Michio know he's adopted, and we tell him that God chose him for us, so that we can be his parents, to raise him, love him, care for him, and watch him grow. We do not shy away from adoption discussions, nor do we hide the fact from him. We believe that to hide his adoption from him, to be uncomfortable about it, or to choose not to discuss it would only make our son feel shame. We do not feel he should ever be ashamed of where he came from. So, in our family, it's an open topic, and one that we support discussion on. We also feel our child should enjoy the fact that he/she is adopted, too. We would never hide that fact from her, nor would we want to.
Since Michio's adoption, our families have been patiently waiting for us to add to our family. We have a great-grandmother, grandmothers, grandfather, uncles, aunties, and cousins patiently waiting for this brand new member of our family. We have a big brother also waiting, although not so patiently. Since we talk to everyone on either a weekly or biweekly basis, they ask each time we talk with them! All of our family members are extremely active in our lives. We live all over the country, but we keep in close contact via phone and send pictures monthly to update everyone on how Michio is growing. We travel at least once a year to see everyone, or they come to see us. Family is extremely important to us, and we are all very close to one another - which does NOT mean we don't feel like killing each other after seven days!!! But we are family, and we love each other, and we all stick together!
Jay was raised Jewish, but is not practicing, and hasn't for most of his adult life. Lisa is a Christian, and is committed to raising their children in the Christian faith. Jay supports this choice, and attends with Lisa each Sunday. Lisa loves to join in Bible studies, and family activities at their church. Jay has also attended a parenting class held by the church, and one Bible study. He feels it is his responsibility to support his wife and child in their beliefs, and although he is not of the Christian faith, he is knowledgeable about the Christian faith and beliefs, and respects and honors the faith Lisa is raising Michio in.
One thing we try to raise in Michio is an awareness of biblical morals, values, and ethics. We try to instill in him the sense of right and wrong, but also in keeping with our faith. When we punish Michio, we try very hard to seek out the natural consequences that the world offers, such as if you stick a pencil in a fan, the pencil will break and shatter, and so can your finger! We did try utilizing corporal punishment using Bible principles, but for us and our son, it was not the right technique to use. We didn't feel we understood the correct form of biblical chastisement (corporal punishment), and since we didn't understand, we weren't going to use corporal punishment any longer. We now utilize removal of privileges, timeouts (which are a staple around our house), and natural consequences. We feel these work best for our family, since it also makes a child think about their punishment, and think about the actions that caused the punishment. Another point we've made in our family is to ALWAYS be available to our child. We have arranged our work schedules so that someone is ALWAYS home for our son if he so needs us. Lisa did stay home with Michio for almost three years, and we plan to take as much time as needed with our next adoption. We are very fortunate that our work allows us to be with our child when he needs us. We both attend all school functions, sporting events, plays, and parent-teacher conferences. We both put our son before other obligations. We are very committed to him and to each other. With our next adoption, Lisa again would like to take time off for our child. We do not believe in day-care. We feel that if we chose to bring these children into our family and the Lord has given us such a precious gift, we need to raise them with our morals, values, and ethics. We should never rely on someone else to raise our children. This is a fundamental issue for both of us, and neither one of us takes this responsibility lightly. This is what we choose to do, for our children!
We hope this letter will give you insight into our family. We know these are just words on paper, but we pray you see us for who we are - a loving family who is funny, caring, and open to life. We thank you for reading our letter and hope it answers some questions about who we are and what is in our hearts. Our lives have brought us here to this moment, and we have finally have found the words to place on this paper to convey our innermost feelings. We know the choices and decisions you make will affect your life and that of your child. We pray that all your choices and decisions give you peace and comfort. You are a strong lady, deserving of respect, love, and compassion. We hope you know this, and believe it, as we do. Do we deserve your precious gift?
Jay, Lisa and Michio