Jamilah and Ryan

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We appreciate you taking this time to learn about us as you find your path through this challenging time in your life.  We trust that you will make the best decision for yourself and your child, whether you decide to parent, to place while keeping in touch with the adoptive family or to place without an ongoing relationship.

Please feel free to ask questions if you would like to know us better.  What we hope you learn about us is that we are loving, kind, trustworthy people who seek to live balanced, healthy lives and make the world a better place.

Our Relationship: We met in 2007 when Jamilah was waiting tables at Applebees while she attended massage school. Ryan and his friends would often come in after their softball games and Jamilah would serve them. We began dating the following year and from that first night at a coffee shop Jamilah knew that we would marry, which we did in 2009. We are very supportive of one another, affectionate and relaxed together. We have many different interests but we find a way to connect over them and seek out activities that we both enjoy. We adore each other and let each other know through words and actions how much we appreciate and love one another.

How do you describe yourself?
Jamilah is caring, intelligent, creative, active, organized, hard-working, positive.
Ryan is fun, hard-working, creative, good listener, smart

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We have Fun! Together we enjoy going for walks, trying new foods, cross-stitching while watching comedies or sci-fi and playing games with friends. Ryan loves to play cooperative video games, watch thrillers, listen to live music and learn about Japan. Jamilah loves to golf, cook, read, do crafts and is passionate about spiritual growth and healthy living.

Family and friends: Ryan has lived in Grand Rapids since age two and Jamilah grew up in the Chicago area where half of her large family still reside. We travel often to visit family and enjoy holidays most often here in Grand Rapids with Ryan’s parents and sister whom live nearby. We have friends ages 20-80 and enjoy learning from them as we have adventures together.

Our home: We value creating a safe, fun, nurturing space in our home. We both take a lot of pride in our work and we work hard so it is important for us to be able to just relax and enjoy being home.  We always have lots of food on hand, as Jamilah loves to cook. We spend a lot of time at home pursuing our hobbies, listening to music or our bedtime ritual of drinking a cup of tea while watching a comedy on the couch together.  

We live in a quiet, friendly neighborhood in Grand Rapids. Our house is on a cul-de-sac and came equipped with a basketball hoop and playset. We often see animals in our yard such as deer, turkeys, groundhogs and cats. We love to walk and have met many of our neighbors because of this. At this time we are very happy with our home and neighborhood and plan to continue living here. When we retire someday, we hope to have a winter home where it is warm!

Employment:
Jamilah: I am a licensed massage therapist and own my business in downtown Grand Rapids. I work part-time and I also teach yoga. I enjoy working in the wellness industry and being part of a team that supports one another and encourages each other to grow and learn. In 2018 I will begin writing a wellness blog from home as well.

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Ryan: I work full-time as a data analyst for an international accounting firm. I have been with the company since 2001 and have been lucky to have had many opportunities to move within the firm to new positions and new challenges. I enjoy close friendships with several co-workers.  

Our childcare plan: Ryan will continue working full-time and has flexibility in his schedule to take time off or work from home. Jamilah is self-employed and can take time off as needed. She will continue working part-time when Ryan or another trusted adult can be home. Our friends and family are very excited to welcome a child into our lives and many have offered to baby-sit when the time comes.

Our values: Honesty, being supportive, helping others, kindness, showing and telling others that we love them, doing our best, eating healthy food, being active, connecting with others, taking time for play, taking responsibility for our actions, learning new things and finding beauty every day.

Education: We are both very passionate about learning and education.  As curious people we are always researching and trying to learn more about the things that interest us.   

Discipline: We believe in giving children age-appropriate choices and then allowing them to deal with the consequences of their choices. For example, a small child may have the choice to get into the car with her feet on the ground (by herself) or with her feet in the air (getting picked up and placed in the car), to eat dinner with nice manners at the table or to leave the table and wait until the next meal to eat. We will not shame, put down, scream at or hit our children.

Special information to share with the child’s family: We feel blessed to be on this journey.  We did not think we would be parents because Jamilah was unwell for many years. She was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2015 and treated successfully for it and we feel we  have a new lease on life because of this. We have had many wonderful opportunities for travel and learning, families who love us and a great community of friends. We are pursuing our dreams and feel well equipped to handle what life throws our way. We hope to have an ongoing relationship with the birth family of our child, but if that is not what you want, we will support your decision.

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For more information about this family, call or text our on-call worker at 616.451.0245, or email cathyr@greaterhopes.org