Sometimes things happen that we didn’t plan on that change our lives forever. Often these things aren’t easy. But we’ve found that it’s how we handle our experiences that make all the difference in the world. While we can’t always change what has happened, we can work to help something good come from it.
Hello, we’ve waited a long time to introduce ourselves to you. My name is Erika and my husband’s Mike. We’ve never done anything quite like this before, so I guess we’ll jump in by telling you a little about ourselves…
We met 9 years ago when I moved back to the small town I grew up in. It was easy to fall in love because we’re both in the news business—he’s a newspaper editor and I’m an investigative journalist. We also enjoy cooking, gardening, boating and swimming at our lake. While we’re financially comfortable, we aren’t wealthy. Yet our creativity and ingenuity help us live a very nice life. Mike is a master carpenter on the side. He built the addition to our house and has handcrafted our fireplace mantels and the kitchen island! I enjoy making movies as wells as my own soaps, lotions, lip balms etc. for fun.
We’ve both been married before and so waited to make sure this time was the right, forever person. I have a nearly adult son, Kaleb, from my previous marriage, but always wanted several kids-similar to the family I grew up with. I was adopted as a two-year-old and grew up with a great family. It didn’t take long before my parents gave me a little sister and a little brother. We thought that was all there would be. Unfortunately, my family was in a car accident on our way home from vacation when I was 9. My 6-year-old sister and best friend was killed. I was in the ICU for a week. Words can’t express how deeply that hurt. Forever changed, we healed the best we could. As an adult, I found a way to make sure she isn’t forgotten, by legally taking her first name as my last name. I can’t change what happened, but I can honor her memory. Eventually my parents had 2 more daughters and I got 2 sweet little sisters-now grown with families of their own. I also eventually find my birth family, discovered I have 3 additional siblings, and have had a good relationship with them as well.
I’m originally from Minnesota and have worked all over from the Midwest to West Virginia, DC, and Mississippi. Hey, journalists get around! My work has also taken me to places like Peru, London, Hong Kong, and most recently Venice. Often my family gets to come with me!
Mike grew up in Des Moines, Iowa. He’s an expatriate through and through, lol. He knows anything and everything there is to know about the great state of Iowa. His grandparents were Italian immigrants and his dad, their youngest child, was the first “American” born in their family. So Mike grew up on a steady diet of meatballs, pasta and southern Italian food. His mom used to joke that she had him helping her in the kitchen before he could see over the stove. He’s a middle child, with one older sister and a younger twin brother and sister. They of course are all grown with families of their own—mostly nieces save one nephew. His parents have both passed.
Mike moved to our little town to work for the local newspaper. The glacier fed lakes, prairies, and forests captured his heart and he’s been here ever since. We met through one of my high school friends who happened to work for him. We married at a hidden waterfall—one of my favorite places in the world. (You can see pictures of it in our profile.)
Starting a family hasn’t proven as easy as we thought it would be. There’s been infertility, a miscarriage and international adoption stopped in its tracks under this latest administration and new state department rules. We’ve also fostered for 7 years and helped 15 children. Many were only temporary or went to relatives. As you may be aware the foster system is extremely broken. After witnessing several heart-breaking stories and being told the laws weren’t there to protect kids, I single-handedly lobbied our legislature to change some of those laws. In 2017, the legislature unanimously voted for my bill and the law changed, because I wasn’t willing to sit by a watch any longer!
Mike & I were fortunate in another way that year, when we finally got to keep one child. We adopted our son Rollie in August that year. He’s the sweetest, funniest kid. He’s super mechanical, very inquisitive, and extremely loving. We’ve fostered a few older kids since he’s been in our home, but unfortunately the older children haven’t been good fits. Rollie recently asked what we’ve all been thinking, “Why can’t I be the big brother?”
Besides being adopted and having adopted, we believe that adopting is a beautiful way both to show love and get love. Life has shown us over and over that family is made through bonds, not blood. As a child, I always wondered about my family, but never dared to ask, because I loved my mother so much I didn’t want to hurt her, make her think I didn’t love her, or would forsake her in any way. I was just curious and wanted to understand that other missing piece of me. I think my family did it the right way. I always knew I was adopted, but it was just a matter of fact origin story about the day they got me. I was never introduced to anyone as the adopted kid or ever explained by any of my extended family as the adopted kid. My parents always told me, it was a great gift and very loving thing for my biological parents to do. Their deep loving never made me question or doubt any of my parents. In fact, it made me know it was all right to love them all.
Because of my experience, that is how we would approach raising your baby. As previously explained, I’ve miscarried and we’ve lost children raised as our own. We understand how difficult this is. We would be extremely honored if you were to entrust us with another little life to love. If there is anything we can do to make this easier or make your more comfortable, we’ll try to help. We’d be happy to have an open adoption, respect your privacy, or do something in between such as pictures or annual updates. Whatever you choose. The only thing we ask is that only serious parents contact us—ie those who are ready to commit to adoption. If you do change your mind, please don’t string us along. Let us know as soon of possible so that we can continue our search and realize the dream of our family.
With every good wish,
Mike and Erika