Dear Birth Parents,
We are writing to you to introduce ourselves and to help you get to know us. We understand that this must be an extraordinarily difficult time for you and we have the highest degree of respect for you and your decision. We have such gratitude and thanks for you as we know without your sacrifices we would not be able to have another child. We will cherish and raise your child with the love equal to that which we would give our own flesh and blood.
Our names are Michael and Celia and we live in Maryland. We have a loving and happy marriage. Our lives are surrounded by a wonderful family, our beautiful adopted son Rocco and our German shepherd named Ruby.
Michael and I met on a trip to France. It turned out we were both from Maryland. We quickly became friends on the trip. We both love family and our closest friends are our parents, brothers and sisters, cousins and nieces and nephews. Michael gained immediate approval from my sisters when his first meeting was participating in the family chili cook-off. Two years after we met, we were married!
Michael is a brave, loyal and loving Husband and Father. He is an Assistant Fire Chief for a large metropolitan department and previously was a sworn Police Officer. He goes out every day to help keep people safe and loves what he does. Michael specialized as a SWAT Medic, HAZMAT specialist, and Arson Investigator. At work, keeping the men and women he works with safe is his top priority. The firefighters and police officers with whom he works have a very special bond and they look after one another like they are family. His friends at work love and respect Michael greatly.
In addition to having a very exciting career, Michael is accomplished on the saxophone, has several degrees and loves to cook! Michael worked his way through high school, college and graduate school. He was a summer camp counselor during high school and loved to work with the kids at the camp. In college, he was a Resident Assistant and a DJ for the college radio station with the call sign “Jazz Master”. (That is always a fun one to pull out when I want to tease him!). Michael began his Fire Fighting career at age eighteen. Even with the heavy demands of his work, he managed to earn many degrees. He is a voracious reader and is always looking to learn new things and better himself.
Michael is the eldest of two boys. He has a very close relationship with his brother Jeff, who is in the Air Force. Although Jeff is now thirty-two, he is still Michael’s little brother and Michael is always looking out for his personal growth and wellbeing. Michael had a very close relationship with his Grandparents growing up and they were an integral part of raising Michael to be the honest, hardworking and brave man he is today. Sadly, Michael’s father with whom he was very close died when Michael was 25. Michael misses him dearly and will often tell happy stories of his Dad coaching the baseball team, cooking or taking the family to a favorite park where they would watch planes landing at the airport.
My husband was the answer to many, many prayers that I find a loving, generous and kind man to spend my life with. Michael keeps me laughing during the good times as well as the hard times. He has a huge heart and is always thinking about how to take care of his family. Michael is as wonderful a father to our child Rocco as he is a husband to me. He interacts with Rocco in such a loving way. They read books together, go to get their hair cut and watch cartoons together all the time. Michael often talks about Rocco’s future and his desire to provide a good example for Rocco and future children.
Celia is the youngest of nine siblings. Due to her strong family upbringing, she cherishes the institution of family and longs for really nothing more than to do it fulltime. She is smart, dedicated, and funny and when she sets her sights on something, watch out! Celia has worked hard in her lifetime and has earned everything she has ever accomplished. After college, she worked during the day and completed an extremely vigorous MBA program at night to advance her career which really speaks to her determination and work ethic and now works in consulting and sales. Even though she has been extremely successful professionally her work does not define her; nothing trumps family for Celia.
My relationship with my wife can only be described as a blessing. She is, and will always be my better half! She inspires me to believe in myself more than I ever could, supports me when things don’t go the right way, guides our marriage with her unconditional love and compassion, and is a fierce advocate for anything that has to do with our family. She sacrifices for me and knows that our marriage can withstand any hardship that may be dealt, even one as great as not being able to have biological children. While extremely difficult for us, it undoubtedly has made us stronger and has drawn us closer. Her instincts with our son Rocco are incredible and she loves Rocco as if he were her biological child. Whether it be at bath time, going for a wagon ride around the neighborhood, or picking out cute outfits for him to wear her beautiful love for Rocco is infectious! Her eyes light up at any mention or sight of Rocco and I know it will be no different moving forward.
Rocco is a bright-eyed, happy, loving and highly curious little boy. We got the exciting call 17 months ago that Rocco was being born. We rushed to the airport, got on a plane and we were there for when he came into this world! Ever since that day Rocco has been a blessing to our lives as well as our extended family. He has filled our home and hearts with overwhelming happiness! Every day, we get phone calls, Face Times and texts from his grandparents, aunts, uncles and little cousins wanting to hear about all the stories of him growing up. Rocco loves play on the swings at the park, finger paint and attend his music class and story time at the library to play with other children. He is always the happiest child in the room. He will be an excellent big brother to our child.
Ruby is a smart and loving German shepherd. She loves to play ball, run really fast in the yard; go for long hikes in the woods and most of all, take naps. She keeps track of where everyone is located in the house and prefers for the family to be together at all times.
Our home is in a small neighborhood with over 45 children including five adopted children. We are surrounded by farms with cows, horses, donkey and even Llamas! Just 5 minutes from our house, we have a large park with baseball fields, tennis courts and walking trails as well as a community center and library which Rocco takes advantage of every week. The librarians know Rocco by name when he visits every week for story time. He also goes to music class close by which he loves and gets to interact with other children. We have tons of fun restaurants around us too. Our county schools are consistently ranked among the top in the nation and many people migrate to our county for this important reason! We live 35 minutes outside of both Washington DC and Baltimore and this allows us to enjoy tons of cultural events at museums and theaters as well as visit many sporting venues such as the Orioles, Ravens, Nationals and the Redskins.
Some of our favorite traditions are “Dance Offs” and the “Frozen Turkey Trot”. “Dance Offs” are usually after a family dinner at Celia’s sisters house. If the weather permits, they are held outside with the music turned up loud and we all bring out our best dance moves. Michael and Uncle Chris usually rival the rest of us. The “Frozen Turkey Trot” is held at Thanksgiving. This is where our nephew Ted drives us to the Atlantic Ocean on Thanksgiving morning and we all run into the freezing water and run back out just as fast! The rest of the day is spent watching the James Bond movie marathon and cooking Thanksgiving dinner.
One other tradition of note we should mention are our annual vacations with family. Celia’s parents always spent the summer on the island of Nantucket when they lived in Washington, DC. Celia’s mom would spend the summer with all the children and Celia’s dad would commute back during the week and spend a few dedicated weeks there for summer vacation. Her parents fell in love with the island and island life and were fortunate enough to be able to retire there. For Celia, this is where she called home for much of her young and adult life. Now we spend a few weeks every summer there with her parents, which makes for a great relaxing vacation.
We take walks on the beach, go on bike rides, read, try some new recipes, picnic, and have an extremely relaxed time just being with family. This year we were able to take Rocco to the swings at the beach, walks up to the lighthouse and bike with him on the back of the bike to get ice cream at the market. We are looking forward to showing our child all the fun experiences the island brings.
Every Christmas we also get together with Michael’s family which included Nan (grandmother), Uncle Gary and his wife Michael’s brother and sister-in-law and Michael’s two cousins Morgan and Taylor. Christmas has always been a happy and special time for the Marino family and each year as the children were growing up Nan would gift a themed ornament which she picked out specially for all the kids the summer before at various Christmas shops. Of course, this was in addition to all of the other regular gifts from doting grandparents and plenty from Santa too! We try to keep traditions alive on Christmas and have themed food such as Italian Sausage and Peppers and Lasagna – as our heritage has always been an important value that was passed down. Michael also goes over the top and finds the best tree on a local tree farm to cut down by hand and decorate. In addition, our home is lit with gratuitous amounts of Christmas lights that adorn the front of the house!
The opportunity to love and nurture a child from birth is a tremendous gift you will be giving us. We can’t wait for when our days are spent helping our child with homework, music lessons, sports games, dances etc. In addition to giving our child many experiences, we want our child to have a strong faith in God, a good education and most importantly, a loving family environment.
This must be so very difficult for you and we will be forever grateful and mindful of your sacrifice to us. In a manner that is consistent with your desires and wishes, your child will know about you and we look forward to meeting you. If you like, we will also send photographs and updates throughout the years. We would be humbled and honored for you to consider us for this privilege. We have included some of our favorite family photographs for you.
Celia and Michael