August 20th, 2017
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Jenilyn & Jeff

With our daughter Shannon Kate

Hello,

We are Jenilyn, Jeff; we live in the northern suburbs of Chicago; and we would be honored to be a part of the adoption plan for your baby. While neither of us has been in your shoes, Jenilyn was an adoption counselor for 10 years and walked this path with many people. That has given her a deep understanding of the decisions you are facing and the many emotions you may be feeling. We obviously cannot change your circumstances, but we can offer a loving and laughter filled home for your baby, and an open adoption with you and your extended family.

Our promise to you is this: Your child will be loved unconditionally. He/she will not know hunger and will always have a roof over his/her head. He or she will have a big sister. Your child will be welcomed by our entire extended family. Your child will have an opportunity to go to college. You will always be welcome in our lives. If you choose us, another family, or decide to parent, we wish you support and love as your journey unfolds.

 

About Us

Together we are “the head and the heart”. Jeff is a computer guy, has college degrees in engineering and business, and radiates humor wherever he goes. Jenilyn is a yoga teacher, social worker, and owns her own fertility counseling company. She meditates almost every day, is very open, and has a sunny personality. Although our personalities are very different, we share a deep respect for each other. We both feel like we’ve changed for the better being with each other.

When we met, neither of us had been married before or had children, but both of us wanted to get married and raise a family. While we certainly gave it a serious try on our own, we now know that adoption is the best way for us to form a family. After adopting Shannon Kate, we wouldn’t want it any other way. She is a wonderful, self-confident little girl and is a joy to be around. We would be thrilled with a boy or a girl baby.

We were married five years ago, after we met swing dancing under the stars in Grant Park. Our first date was on Jeff’s inflatable kayak at the Skokie lagoons. It is a good thing we got along well, because it is hard to end a date quickly when you are in the middle of a lake!

We love live music and summer festivals. We are both into taking care of the environment and plant an organic garden from seed every year. We are big kids at heart, have lots of silly times with each other and our daughter, and can’t wait to include another child in the laughter and fun.

 Kayaking on Lake Michigan, one mile from our home.

Jeff Shares About Jenilyn

Jenilyn loves to be outside. She enjoys practicing yoga and dance.. She also knows babies. Prior to her current work she was an adoption counselor for a decade in an adoption agency. She also has been a nanny, camp counselor, and day care worker.

Jenilyn is the kindest person I have ever met. She truly cares about the well-being of everyone she encounters, and that has made me a better person. She is very nurturing to all who enter our home and makes sure they are well fed and well taken care of.

Jenilyn is also an incredible mom. She continually comes up the perfect way to meet our daughter’s needs. Shannon Kate likes music, so Jenilyn is constantly learning new kids songs to sing to her. It is the perfect way to calm our daughter when she is upset. I can see our daughter learning and growing confidently and happily. It is clear to me that is a direct result of Jenilyn.

She can also be a bit quirky, which I find quite charming. She hates to forget things so she is constantly writing sticky notes as reminders. They are stuck all over the house.

Jenilyn laughs with ease. Not just a chuckle, but a really outrageous laugh, which at first I thought must be fake. But here we are, 6 years later and the laugh is the same.

I think the thing that stands out the most about Jenilyn is that she truly knows how to love. She loves deeply and with her whole being. She finds love for the family of ducks she sees on the pond, love for her friends, love for her family, and of course, love for me. Perhaps more than anything else, the love she has for our daughter is really something extraordinary. Whether it was watching Shannon Kate roll over or take her first steps, the joy and pride in Jenilyn’s face is indescribable. I am positive that will be how she is with Shannon Kate’s brother or sister.

 

Jenilyn Shares about Jeff

Jeff studied engineering in school, but has since earned an MBA and now works in high tech sales. He has a wonderful sense of humor and keeps me laughing all the time. Jeff is a volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT) and saved two people’s lives last year by performing CPR.

Jeff loves to be around kids, especially his daughter. He is a hands-on dad. He did the midnight feedings, now does the first feeding of the day and is such a fun and playful dad. Shannon Kate just adores her daddy. Jeff was a Special Olympics gymnastics coach, a high school gymnastics judge, and even coached little league in San Diego. He moved back to the Chicago area from California to be near his nieces and nephew, and he can often be found horsing around with them.

He loves to camp, golf, fish off his kayak, play guitar, and go to Cubs games. He did some comedy improv for a while, which fit him perfectly, as he is really quick witted.

The first word that comes to mind when I think of Jeff is thoughtful. He’s the kind of friend you turn to when you’re not sure what to do next and helps you solve the problem. In many ways, he has mentored and fathered many people in his life already. He is one of the most loyal men I have ever known and would bend over backwards to give me what I need.

One of the things that I adore about Jeff is how playful he makes everyday living. Although we’ve lived through some hardships, Jeff quickly puts things into perspective and sees the blessings in his life. Jeff also speaks his mind and I always know where I stand with him.   Plus the man can dance – I feel like a million bucks when I’m in his arms.

 Skiing in Colorado

Our Family

Jenilyn grew up in Chicago’s suburbs with her sister Debbie. Her parents divorced when she was 11. Her father is remarried and lives west of Chicago, while her mother now lives in Florida, not far from Disney World, near Debbie’s family. Debbie married Steve, her high school sweetheart, who was adopted as a newborn, and they have two wonderful daughters, who affectionately call Jenilyn Aunt Zenny.

As a result of her father’s second marriage, she also has a step-mother, sister, and brother, whom she refers to as her ‘bonus’ mom and siblings. Her ‘bonus’ brother has a 4 year old son, who Jenilyn watched for 6 months when he was a newborn, and an 18 month old son. .

Jeff grew up in Chicago’s northern suburbs with his older brother and sister.

His parents are still married and continue to live in the same home. His brother, sister-in-law, and their two children spent a year in Shanghai, China and now live in CA. His sister Natalie also married her high school sweetheart, Nate, and they have three children who call Jeff Uncle Z.

 

Adoption is in our family

When Jenilyn worked as an adoption counselor, she helped expectant mothers (and sometimes fathers) with a lot of the hardest parts of adoption like choosing an adoptive family and being there for the baby’s placement.

We also have family members who were placed for adoption. Our brother-in-law was adopted at birth as were three cousins. One of these cousins is also a birth mother, who chose to place her son with a family. We think it’s a great idea for children who are adopted to have contact with other people who have been adopted in order to share questions and concerns as well as to just feel like they fit in. In fact, between us, we know over 20 families who have been touched by adoption.

 

Post Adoption Contact

We are comfortable with ongoing contact after the adoption. In fact, we look forward to working out a level of contact which can work for all of us. This might include photos, emails, calls and visits. The way we see it, the more people to love a child the better. Birth parents and their babies will always have a special place in their heart for each other. We certainly don’t want to get in the way of that. We also know that some expectant parents need time to figure out what sort of open relationship they are comfortable with and we will wait patiently for the day they are ready. The invitation to establish contact will always be there.

 The cousins

Parenting

Jenilyn will be the main caretaker, except for two days of the week when we have a wonderful nanny caring for the children. We both work from home so we are around to help out. Plus we have breakfast, lunch and dinner together nearly every day.

We plan on cultivating our children’s interests, whatever they may be. We also plan on exposing them to the importance of volunteering, taking care of the environment, treating others with respect and kindness, and getting a good education.

We are a modern family; we like Christmas trees and Easter eggs and big Jewish family get-togethers. We have turkey on Thanksgiving and can watch 4th of July fireworks from our backyard.

Our children will learn the values that we were both raised with, like living by ‘the golden rule’ of treating others as you would like to be treated, respecting our elders and our family, and the sacredness of marriage and raising children.

 

Our Home & Neighborhood

Our kid friendly home is in a diverse neighborhood with 17 kids on the block ranging from 6 months to 19 years. We live blocks from the beach of Lake Michigan and our house is on a dead end street, so the kids can bike in the street safely. During the fall, Friday nights are packed with people cheering at the nearby high school football games. Within a few blocks from our house is a kid’s water park and the recreation center, which has a great indoor swimming pool and basketball court. There are summer music concerts regularly where children dance and eat ice cream. It is a small town feel, yet not too far from the big city of Chicago.

 On Our Front Porch

Personal Message

Thank you for taking the time to read our letter. We hope to meet and get to know you better. We would like to learn about your hopes and dreams for your child. Until then, we wish you peace and grace as you take your next step.

If you would like to speak with us about adopting your child or have any questions for us, please contact your case worker at AdoptHelp by calling 1-800-637-7999.