Dear Expectant Mother,

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1 Dear Expectant Mother, We are Lisa and DJ and we ve been married for a very happy twelve years. Having a child is something that we have always dreamed of. Like most people, we assumed it would come naturally for us, but it hasn t worked out that way. It has been heartbreaking for both of us. We ve tried to soldier on and focus on our many nieces and nephews, but when we go home at night, we know in our hearts that something is missing a child of our own. We realized that God s plan has been leading us in a different direction that we are meant to grow our family through adoption and we are very excited about it! We are prepared to give your child a life full of love, education and opportunity (though we know that having a secure financial future and a good education isn t everything a child needs). We want to love and nurture your baby and most of all, raise a child that is secure in his or herself and feels loved. Both of us were raised in homes with an abundance of love and laughter, and we want to raise our family the same way. DJ s Story I am very blessed to have a big family. I have a brother, two sisters and a step brother. My mother has always been extremely nurturing, and she never missed a baseball game or a track meet. I am now 44 years old and compete in triathlons, and guess what? I still can look up in the stands and see my mom cheering for me. It is an amazing feeling to receive so much love and support from her. My parents divorced when I was 15, but I have never once doubted their love for me. Even though they have been divorced for 25 years and my mom has since remarried, we still celebrate every holiday and birthday together as a family my dad included! It is wonderful that my parents are still friends and get along. They have set an incredible example by showing us how to work hard at relationships, even the toughest ones.

2 Life hasn t always been easy for me. I was a chubby kid, the center on the high school football team. Being heavy is always hard for a child, especially a teenager. One day my sister s friend bet me that I couldn t run a mile to the end of our road. I took him up on that challenge and I have been running ever since. Within a year I lost 60 lbs and was on the cross country team, running local races. Twenty years later I am proud to have completed the Iron Man Triathlon three times. I figured out that being healthy is really important and I am thankful for all of the things that running has done for me. It gives me energy and I love to get out on my bike and just ride. I d even love it more if I could ride with a baby seat on the back of my bike and go somewhere like the zoo or the park with my son or daughter! I graduated from high school and went to several colleges before I finally finished at Ball State University with a degree in History and Teaching. I wasn t sure what I wanted to do with my life school had never been easy for me, and I struggled. Then I met Father Sullivan at Holy Cross Junior College. He recognized that I had a hard time with school and he gave me the confidence I needed to do better. I will never forget him, and thanks to him, I am now a Special Education teacher and have completed my master s degree. I have a passion for teaching and working with kids. I work as a Special Education teacher at a local juvenile facility. Most people ask me why I ve chosen to work with this particular group of kids. The answer is they are the ones that need me the most. Most of my kids have committed some sort of crime and are locked up, but they are the ones who need good role models and people who genuinely care about them, just like I did when I met Father Sullivan. I try very hard to be that for my students.

3 I met Lisa when I was working part time at a department store one Christmas. At the time I was 30 years old and never thought I would meet the right girl. But when Lisa walked into the room, everything changed for me, and I found myself buying a diamond ring by the following Christmas. What I love most about Lisa is that she is trustworthy, confident, and respectful. She loves to laugh and have fun, and she respects herself and others. These qualities make her the person that I fell in love with. She has a way of making you feel at home when you are with her. Lisa is a very caring, loving and nurturing person, and loves to spend time with our nephews and nieces. She has never been a person that was impresses with status, and does not associate happiness with material possessions. This is evident in how she lives her life. I love that Lisa is a homebody. We like to cook dinner and maybe watch a couple episodes of Seinfeld or a Harry Potter movie. She likes to run as well. On Saturdays in the fall, we are all about Notre Dame Football. My brothers and sisters and their families usually come over and we all watch the game together. It s a great tradition and one that will continue. We have many other traditions that are special to us, as well. Every year, we go pick out our pumpkins at the pumpkin patch, cut down our own Christmas trees, and have Easter egg hunts with our nieces and nephews. Sundays are about church and family. We are Catholic and attend church every Sunday. It is important to both of us; we plan for our child to attend Catholic grade school and high school. After church, our entire family usually gathers for lunch at my mom s house. We play Scrabble or just sit around and talk. I am very close to all of my siblings and my nieces and nephews. We attend their rugby matches, their piano recitals, and their school plays. We love being a part of their lives.

4 Lisa s Story Like DJ, I come from a big family. I have two sisters and a brother, and lots of nieces and nephews. My parents were married very young and they stayed married until my mother s death in They had a great relationship. My dad was a police officer and my mom stayed home with us. My brother and sisters are significantly older than I am, so I spent most of my time as a child with my mom. We were extraordinarily close. She had such a gentle spirit. People tell me that I remind them of her, and I consider that to be the highest compliment. I attended Catholic grade school and high school where I participated in Volleyball. I was even on the State Championship team one year. But what really interested me was art I have always been drawn to it. In fact, some of the artwork in our home is work that I did in high school and college. I attended the Art Institute of Chicago but didn t get to finish my degree because my mom got ill and was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig s disease. I came home because I wanted to help care for her and spend every minute I could with her. She was an amazing woman. I don t regret for one moment ever leaving school to be with her. I was married once before I met DJ. There is no other explanation but to say that we were young and probably making decisions based on my mom s illness, as I felt the need to cram something special into every moment I had left with her. I wanted her to see me be a bride so, I married my high school boyfriend. It didn t take long for us to realize we weren t meant to be married, and shortly after we divorced and moved on with our lives. I lost my dad to bone cancer in February of last year, and I was very blessed to have been able to be the one to care for him at

5 the end of his life. I have had this privilege with both of my parents, and I will forever be thankful for the opportunity it gave me to love them fully and develop an even closer relationship with both of them. I have grown in so many ways from these experiences. Like DJ said, we met while working at a department store one Christmas. I think we both knew instantly that we were meant to be together, and we ve been together ever since. He can make me laugh in any situation. He is a devoted husband. He is my best friend and loves me more than I will ever know. I love when we make eye contact across the room; we have such a strong connection. It is as if we are able to communicate with one another without having to say a word. I could make a list of all the reasons that DJ is a wonderful husband but the most important thing is that he is caring and compassionate. He surprises me in sweet simple ways. He values his family and our life together. I was a manager at the department store where we met for many years and then I became a manager for Old Navy & New York and Company. I loved working retail, but it really wasn t conducive to becoming a mother. Retail requires working a lot of nights and weekends and when I have child, I don t want to miss out on anything. I currently work in Human Resources for a big accounting firm and love the regular 9-5 hours. I plan on taking family leave for at least twelve weeks after we are blessed with a baby. DJ plans to take leave as well. If it doesn t feel right for me to return to work, I won t. I love to cook, exercise and play with our two dogs a German Shepherd named CoCo and a Golden Retriever named Gracie. Every night I walk both of them down the river walk to the park that is less than a mile from our home. DJ s dad lives near the park, and sometimes I stop and take him a piece of pie or a brownie I might have made earlier in the day. He considers CoCo and Gracie to be his grand dogs.

6 We live in a great neighborhood with a popular city park and zoo within walking distance from our home. Our city has many great attractions (a children s museum, a big stadium, and ice rink to name few), local weekly events, a number of universities, and many other exciting things to do. It s a wonderful place for a child to grow up. We appreciate you taking the time to read our letter. We imagine making an adoption plan has to be one of the bravest things a mother can do for her child. We hope we have given you a picture in your mind of what we are like as a couple. If you have any questions or if you would like to know more about us and talk with us by telephone, please let Steve or Joel Kirsh know. You can reach them at (800)

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