Jessie, Travis, Kellan, & Macksen
It’s a funny thing, to feel such immense gratitude and love for people you’ve never met. But as we sit here, struggling to find words to tell you who we are as a family, to describe the life we would provide for an adopted child and the values we base our lives on, we feel overcome by gratitude and awe. You’ve given the world something rare and precious, and there are no words to thank you properly for that gift.
There are four of us in our busy little family so far—our founding members are Jessie, a high-school biology and chemistry teacher, and Travis, a recent graduate of dental school who’s finally embarking on his dream career as a dentist. Even before the two of us got married, we’d always planned on a big family. Both of us grew up with siblings, and we love the noise and the joy that comes with a lot of kids under one roof. Today the two of us serve jointly as team captains, event coordinators, activities directors, referees, cheerleaders, entertainers-in-chief, playmates, and, above all, teachers and dream-stokers. Our junior roster so far consists of our two boys: Kellan, now in first grade, and four-year-old Macksen. They adore and irritate each other like only brothers can, and they keep their dad and me running at top speed all day long. They are smart, stubborn, sensitive, athletic, forgetful, sleepy, messy, hilarious, and infuriating at random intervals. They exhaust and enchant us in ways we could never have imagined.
Sometimes parenthood does scare us a little. There are plenty of days when we get frustrated and disappointed, and we don’t always know what to do when one of our kids hides on the playground at recess instead of going inside when the bell rings, or refuses to eat vegetables, ever. But for every moment of frustration and worry they cause us, there are a hundred more that bring joy, amazement, and wonder. Kids are so different from one another, and one of the great rewards of this job has been discovering those differences—the talents and preferences and moods and fears and hopes that are unique to each kid. What does each one need? What makes each one light up? What dreams will they chase?
And even as we’ve dealt with fertility issues over the past few years, we can’t shake the feeling that our family isn’t done growing yet. We have so much more love to give! When Jessie followed in the footsteps of her parents and became a teacher, it was because she felt called to help kids, to encourage their learning and their passions and their individual gifts. When Travis decided to become a dentist, it was because he knew that career would give him the time and the resources to be the best father he could possibly be. Becoming parents is the hardest and the best thing we’ve ever done. We don’t have all the answers—we’re still learning how to do this job, and we will be learning for the rest of our lives. But we know one thing for sure. We are committed to raising more kids, because in our hearts we believe it’s what we were meant to do; it’s what this family is built for. And we don’t just see adoption as a way for us to fulfill our own sense of purpose as parents. We see it as a way to build connection and community far beyond the walls of our own little home, a way to touch the future and change the world.
What we want for our children is what we would wish for all kids: that they have a community and a family that support them as they grow, that they are unafraid to ask questions and search for true answers, that they listen to others and learn from those who are different, that they be a part of a better future. As their parents, we want them to be able to dedicate their lives to the problems they think are important, and we want them to have someone who will listen to them. We want them to be safe, and happy, and brave. We want them to respect the truth, to work hard, and to be kind. We want them to ride bicycles in the sunshine and build snowmen in the backyard with their brothers and sisters. We want them to carry love forward, and we want them to fill the world with it.
As we write this, Kellan and Mack are screaming with laughter in the backyard, armed with Nerf swords and Ninja Turtle armbands. The sandbox under the swingset is cool in the shade, and the sprinkler makes rainbows in the late summer air. We’re all still waiting for everyone to arrive, and we might still be waiting for a long time to come, but we keep reminding ourselves not to worry—everything happens in its own time, after all.
Thanks so much for reading these words. Our fondest thoughts go with you and your baby. Be well.
Travis, Jessie, Kellan and Macksen