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Hi!  We hope this letter finds you and your growing baby doing well.  Our names are Maia and Grant.  Maia (41) is a few years older than Grant (37).  We’ve known each other for 10 years now and got married in 2007 in the backyard of Maia’s childhood home in Connecticut.  We’ve been hoping to become parents for many years and we’re looking forward to adopting our first child.  Because we’ve known several families that grew through adoption and friends and relatives who were adopted, we think this is a good way to grow our family.

Our Home

We live in central Virginia in a comfortable one-story house with 3 bedrooms and a fenced in backyard that has a large and sturdy oak tree and a modest vegetable garden.  We have a cat named Haydn, who spends most of his days outside keeping the squirrels on their toes or letting our neighbor’s grandkids pet him while he lays in the sun.  Our neighborhood is quiet and the friendly neighbors are a range of ages – one is a nurse, another is a recently retired pastor, a third is a teacher.  We see many of our neighbors out for walks in the evenings; our own walks sometimes take us west to a nearby nature park or east past the local playground.  As a matter of fact, we’re really looking forward to having a good reason to try out the new playground equipment with our own child.

Our Families

We moved here in 2011 from Pennsylvania.  Since Grant spent most of his growing up years in the Shenandoah Valley, moving back to Virginia felt a bit like coming home.  His parents still live in the Valley and Grant loves the annual opportunity to go deer hunting with his dad.  Both of our parents are looking forward to having another grandchild to dote on.  Grant’s older brother, a pastor in Atlanta, has two boys and his younger brother, a professor in Iowa, has one son.  Grant’s parents usually have the grandkids to their house for “grandpa camp” each summer; Maia has a niece and a nephew but Maia’s parents can’t wait to help set up the nursery in our home.

Our Work

Our jobs are one part of who we are.  Maia teaches economics at a  university (and gets to wear these crazy robes to graduation – Haydn wasn’t sure what to make of them) and Grant is working on his Ph.D. in public policy.  He hopes to also teach at a college or university.  We teach because we love to learn and to help others do the same.  We’re excited about the privilege and challenges of guiding a child as they learn about the world around them.

Our cultural backgrounds

Because we both grew up in cross-cultural settings, cultural diversity is important to us.  Maia’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from the country of Estonia, so Maia’s childhood was culturally both Estonian and American.  Grant’s parents come from Swiss-German families that have spent the last several generations in the U.S., but his parents spent 8 years in Somalia and Kenya in East Africa as teachers and mission workers – Grant was born in Kenya and remembers living in Somalia from age 8-10.  During our 20’s, before we met each other, Maia lived and studied in England and Grant had the chance to study in Italy, Peru, Colombia, Switzerland and the Dominican Republic.  We enjoy visiting and learning about new places (the picture of us on the previous page is from a trip to Nova Scotia); each year we try to visit one new place that neither of us has visited before.  (This year, we’re planning a trip to Monticello—it’s so close that we can’t believe we haven’t already been there.)  We both feel that our childhoods and later lives were enriched by the chance to visit other cultures and we look forward to sharing such experiences with our children, including having them learn Estonian and Spanish as well as English.

Our Connections with the Larger Community

We also believe strongly in being an active part of local and global communities.  We’re part of a small local Mennonite church (Mennonites are a Christian denomination that believes strongly in cultivating peace and serving others.)  We think it’s important to give generously to local and global organizations that make it possible for more people to hear music, see art, grow more healthy food and have more educational opportunities.  Grant currently chairs the board of a local non-profit fair trade organization that generates income for craftspeople in developing countries like Kenya, Vietnam and Peru by selling their handicrafts.  Maia has used some of her time each summer to plan and teach a course for an institute that provides continuing education for retirees.

Things we do for fun

In our spare time, we enjoy playing and watching soccer, gardening, visiting with friends, and reading.  We grow lots of flowers, tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, eggplant, and lettuce in our garden.  On spring mornings, we love to take a quick walk around the yard to see what things have started to grow over the past few days.  We even planted a fig tree, although it only produced a single fig last year.  Grant also enjoys running, cycling and photography; our first date actually came about after Maia liked some of Grant’s photographs so much that she asked to purchase one.

We look forward to sharing many of these hobbies with a child over the years.  We also love visiting zoos (as long as the animals have some room to roam)—many of our early dates were walks through the zoo in Washington, DC.  We don’t really have a favorite animal (it would be like asking us to name a favorite flavor of ice cream!), but we always make sure to say “hello” to the cheetahs when we visit.  Most of all, we are excited about helping a child grow up.  We look forward to reading to our future child, watching him or her play sports, listening to him or her play an instrument, comforting him or her when something doesn’t go so well, laughing at his or her jokes, and enabling him or her to gain many new experiences.

Final Words

Thank you for spending some time learning about us, the family that we are, and the family that we hope to become.  We hope that this letter has helped you to get a sense of who we are and would be honored if you chose us to raise your child.  We wish you all the best for the challenges ahead as you make decisions for the future of you and your child.