Thank you for taking the time to read more about us. We hope that this gives you a glimpse into us, our children, and our lives. We understand that you must be going through an extremely difficult time right now, and hopefully our profile will give you a little bit of a distraction.
We cannot imagine quite what you’re going through, but we had some difficulties ourselves as we began our journey to create our family. When we started down the path, we always knew that adoption would be part of our family building. But, we also anticipated having biological children. We had high hopes, and had no reason not to expect that in a few years’ time biology and adoption would allow us to create our family.
As it turns out, our traditional efforts to conceive were unsuccessful. So, in 2013, we began IVF with daily, sometimes multiple times per day, injections of hormones, taking pills, going to the doctor every morning. It was painful, time intensive, and expensive. But, it was all worth it when it gave rise to our two “minis” being implanted. We were heartbroken when those minis failed to thrive and, thus, wouldn’t be part of our future. What it reinforced for us, however, was our desire to focus on adoption, exclusively.
Even though the adoption process has had its own difficulties, we are so thankful for our family. All of the trials and tribulations have been worth it, as we have grown from our experiences and are even more solid as a family because of them.
The adoption process first led us to Jailen, who turned 5 in December; Ava, who will be 4 in April; and Mina, who will turn 2 in September. We would love so much for them to have another sibling, so they not only have us and their families, but each other.
Silly in Paris
When Myra and Alan landed in Paris, before kids, they were exhausted from the long flight, but they wouldn’t be deterred from seeing the city. Armed with a walking tour map, they proceeded down the Left Bank. At every turn, a statute appeared, perfect for a silly photo, where first Alan would pose as the statute, and Myra would follow right behind. Reams of silly photos filled the afternoon, and they ended the day at a café, drinking wine and people watching. This trip is emblematic of Myra & Alan’s 16-year relationship. They love having fun together. They love being silly together. But, when the day is done, they can’t wait to just take a seat and be next to each other soaking it all in.
Windy City Lawyers
We love our life in Chicago, where we have lived for 11+ years. We are at the stage in our careers that we craft our own schedules, so we can spend a lot of time together and with our family. Life, after all, is about the time you spend together, not the work that you do.
Showing You Care
As a child, I always felt birthdays should have been more, so I make a point to go over the top. The decorations greeting you when you wake up, the birthday donut, the first present of the day, the special lunchtime delivery, the after-work/school surprise present, the special dinner, topped off by the sweets – and always a candle and song. I never want Alan or the kids to feel at any part of their day that they weren’t fully celebrated.
About Myra (by Alan)
If Myra was out hiking and came across a river that was either too broad or too deep simply to wade across, she would still find a way to the other side, somehow, some way. She is clever, and imaginative, and treats obstacles she encounters as opportunities. When you combine that with her amazing depth of compassion, which she displays every day with me, the kids, the dog, her family and friends, she is remarkable. I feel so fortunate that life brought us together, as I could not imagine experiencing this journey with anyone else. I cannot wait to see where this journey takes us next, as we continue to build our family through adoption.
About Alan (by Myra)
Alan has this funny saying from a Todd Snider song, “I’m an ‘alright guy.’” That’s typical Alan to under sell himself. Alan is so much more than just “alright.” He is an amazing guy. He is laid back and easy going, but he is also an involved father, a devoted and supportive husband, and a caring dog dad. When he comes home from work, the kids sprint to him, and they don’t leave his side until it’s time for bed. (The dog tends to stick with me!)
When it’s summertime, it’s train-watching time. Immediately when I come home from work, Jailen runs to the door, ready for a walk around the block. We explore construction equipment (always safely), tall rocks, trees meant for climbing, and the ramp to the commuter train. At the top of the ramp, I pick Jailen up high. Moments after I do, the express train whizzes by, and Jailen grabs on tight, screaming, “The Express Train, Daddy.” He is terrified by its speed, but he knows he’s safe in my arms. He grins from ear to ear as we run home for dinnertime.
Our First Love
We transplanted ourselves in Missouri, waiting for baby Jailen to arrive. It had been weeks since Jessica was supposed to get induced, then the doctors changed their minds. So, we waited, and waited, and waited. At random, we would shout “Jailen,” in some odd hope that he would hear us. We kept our phones close, constantly checking them. We kept our go-bag packed, and, waited some more. At night, we would joke that tonight was the night the phone would ring. While we were laughing, we would both check our phones to make sure the ringers were on, then, off to bed. “Ring, ring, ring.” “Oh my God, Alan, it’s Jessica, Jessica’s calling.” 2:38 a.m. December 8. “Hi. I had him.” We were filled with excitement. Ten minutes later, we found Jessica at the hospital and gave her a big hug. Then, we ran to find Jailen in the nursery: a bright red newborn, getting washed by the nurses, and clearly mad he was not yet being snuggled. Within minutes, Jailen got his wish, all cuddled up and warm, ready for a nap!
Tiny, But Mighty
We had just been matched with Stephanie, and we were trying to coordinate a date to meet in person before Ava arrived May 31. It was April 4. We had found a few dates that worked and were waiting to hear back from Stephanie. Then, out of nowhere, we got a text message that Stephanie had been rushed into emergency surgery due to preeclampsia. Then, silence . . . Two days later, I peered into the incubator as Ava’s stomach rapidly moved up and down. She was covered in tubes and seemed restless. The nurse opened a small door for me. I reached in and placed my finger in Ava’s hand. She grabbed my finger and held on tight. She stayed in that NICU 40 days, and not once after our arrival was she alone. We took turns on the NICU couch, took turns with Jailen, and set into the routine of every 3–hour shifts to weigh her, change her, and feed her. From the moment she arrived, she knew she was loved.
Mina rolls over, rubbing her eyes, and quickly pops up to see whether anyone has come to get her from her nap. Hmmm. No one yet. She lets out a gentle squeak. The door cracks open, and she throws herself back in delight. One quick roll, and she pops to her feet, babbling away. A quick change and we’re headed to the office (next door to her room). Next to mommy’s computer she clacks away at her own laptop. Bang, bang, bang, loving every second.
“Mommy,” Jailen says, “Can we can play with the rocks?” I looked around and realized it was a nice sunny day, and we had a couple of hours before dinnertime. “Sure, bub,” I said.
Jailen ran through the garden to the side of the house. Ava followed quickly behind him. A few minutes later, Jailen found a long wire in the rocks, and, unfortunately, playtime was over. “Come on, guys,” I said. Jailen quickly ran over to me, but Ava continued to throw rocks by the side of the house. “Jailen,” I said, “Will you please go get your sister?”
Jailen carefully stepped through the garden until he was standing next to Ava. He patted her on the head, and said, “Hey, little girlie.” He knelt down and kissed her head, then reached down and grabbed her hand. “Come on, sweet girl,” he said. She looked up at him, quickly stood up, and followed her brother through the bushes and out of the garden to me.
“Okay, guys, to the backyard,” I said, as I pushed the empty stroller. Hand in hand, they ran through the gates to the backyard together giggling.
This is why we started searching for Ava when Jailen was only 6 months old and why we started the search for their sibling when Ava was just 1 year old. We love that the kids are close in age and hope that will help them develop tight bonds as they grow.
Mina loves starting her mornings by checking out Jailen’s and Ava’s rooms to see who’s up. The two girls are the early birds. Ava will often grab her blanket, head into Jailen’s room, climb into his bed, and throw herself on him. Sometimes, if we haven’t turned the lights on yet, she will lie down next to him, say “night night,” and close her eyes. Meanwhile, Mina’s already headed to the next adventure on her own!
His Favorite Treats
Tiger knows immediately when it’s dinnertime. Whether he’s sleeping on the couch or enjoying the quiet of the master bedroom, the minute the kids’ plates hit the table, he is in position, poised near the kids’ chairs waiting for his treats. On a normal day, he’s excited over random droppings. If Mina is feeling especially feisty, an entire plate of food may rain down on Tiger like manna from heaven, as Mina giggles in delight, watching Tiger scarf up every bite. Needless to say, Tiger’s never hungry!
Family Time Weekends
We all roll out of bed Saturday morning – always early – 7 am – to pack up and head out for the day. First, French toast, eggs, hash browns, and pancakes at the Golden Nugget, where Jailen and Ava run in and hug Ms. Tina, our waitress. Next, to the grocery store for Jailen to pick up snacks, an outing to find some fun, or just returning home to have fun together in the play area. Each weekend is an adventure, and we always spend it together.
Grammy’s Little Guy
Jailen was excited just to be at the airport, seeing all the people and the suitcases. Then, in the distance, I spotted her. I leaned down and whispered to Jailen, “There she is,” and pointed in the distance. “Grammy!” he exclaimed. He dropped his lovey and started running to her. She grabbed him up and said, “How much does Grammy love you?” “A whole lot!,” he responded.
I come downstairs and Myra is sitting on the couch talking on the phone with her mom. I head to the kitchen to clean up. Myra turns to me and says, “Hey, Alan. What do you think about Greensboro for Thanksgiving?” I look at Myra cynically, this is how our trip planning usually starts. By the end of the planning process, which may take a few weeks, we’ll have decided Myrtle Beach, where Myra’s parents live, back to Greensboro, where Myra’s brother lives, a cruise to the Bahamas for some sun, no, Virginia, where Myra’s cousins are and mine, too, then, possibly back to one of the original destinations. Through every step of the way, Myra and her mom research places to stay, how to get there, who wants to go, where they want to go, and what’s going to work best. Turns out, Greensboro it is. “Hey, Alan, what about Christmas this year . . . .”
The house was full of guests for Easter weekend. My brother and his family flew into town and my parents also made the trip. Isabela and Elena, my brother’s daughters, 11 and 13, asked if they could play in the basement with Jailen and Ava. “Um, sure,” I said, and off the four kids went with me to keep an eye on the bunch. We got to the playroom, and the kids started pulling toys from every bin.
“Alexa, play Kids Music,” I said. “Ok,” said Alexa. “Boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,” the music started playing, “Let’s play the party freeze game, and, remember, when I say freeze, freeze, and when I say dance, dance. Dancing, dancing . . .”
Jailen and Ava stopped what they were doing, screamed wildly, and started dancing. Isabela and Elena looked over and realized, yes, this would be a fun game. And they started dancing, too, until – FREEZE!
Thank you for taking some time to learn more about us. We aren’t perfect, probably far from it, but we have a lot of love to give and hope we can give that love to another child who can become part of our family.
We’ve explained to Jailen, Ava, and Mina that we hope to welcome another baby and are searching for their baby brother or baby sister. Jailen turned to me the other day and said, “Mommy, we need 100 babies!” Jailen has lots of love to give, and he is an amazing big brother to his sisters.
What we’ve learned from the adoption process is that each child will have his or her own birth story and where they came from. Part of our job is to make sure they know that story, cherish it, and embrace it, as they grow to be amazing adults.
Myra & Alan