Kellyn and Kyle, and Jabori

(This couple has recently been selected for placement in summer 2018 but are open to being matched to another!)

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Dear Mom,
What an emotional experience you must be going through. First choosing to make an adoption plan, then having to choose a family for your baby. If it helps, we have also had an emotional experience with the ups and downs of adoption, being matched and then having the adoption fall through. It took us almost a year to open our hearts to adoption again, but we are ready. Our hearts, home, and extended families are ready to welcome your little one. In fact, we have two of everything already! We will be there for you with support through the entire process. After all, you will be the mother of our baby, something we can’t do without you. We want you to know that we welcome any level of involvement in the process.
We are quite familiar with bringing a child with an existing family into our lives. Our son, Jabori, came to live with us at eight years old; he is now 14. We’ve worked through him being away from his mother, but also being able to regularly see his family by making frequent trips to Chicago. He has a great pediatrician, and I would make sure your little one had the best care by Dr. Holman as well. He can’t wait to have a little brother or sister. He’s definitely is a hit with his one and three year old cousins.
We wish you peace of mind through this process. Whether you choose us or another one of the great families at Greater Hopes, please know that what you are doing will bring joy to many people who will give unconditional love to your baby.

Kellyn, Kyle, and Jabori
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Our Story (cliff notes version):
It was our mutual interests that sparked two close friends in Chicago to set us up on a date. We hit it off right away talking of travels, singing, and eventually having a family, but there were hurdles. The early stages of courtship were during Chemotherapy Treatment for Kyle’s mother. While Kyle was often traveling back to Michigan, it was hard to schedule times to meetup. Kellyn promised he’d be there for Kyle through the treatment and eventually we got to the couple stage. Fast forward to when Kellyn’s father had cancer. Kyle was very supportive through all treatments, even having Tim (Kellyn’s dad) live with us in Grand Rapids so he could have better treatment. The two cancer situations solidified our bond, knowing how hard the toll took on both of us and that we could count on each other for anything. As soon as the Supreme Court ruled we could legally marry, we got engaged.

In the meantime, Jabori came along. We knew him from a Chicago mentoring program when we lived in the city. Shortly after moving to Grand Rapids, Jabori came to stay with us on his mother’s wishes. His short term stay has turned permanent. We spend most of our time involved with Jabori’s extracurricular activites, mostly sports.

In early 2017 Kyle and Kellyn married in a very small ceremony with their parents. Shortly after we were matched to have twin babies (boy and girl). They were born at the end of April, but the adoption fell through. After some deep heartache, we focused our attention on our wedding party. The summer was spent planning and in September we had the great pleasure of pronouncing our love to our dearest friends and family. The love that day was spectacular.

That brings us to today. With the New Year, we welcome a year of calm, business growth, and a renewed commitment to health and fitness (we love Orange Theory Fitness). With any luck, we will get our new kitchen and go on our dream honeymoon to Italy. All will be put on hold of course with the addition of a new baby.

Describe your current occupation(s).
Kyle owns his own business, Recover Massage, and is a full time Licensed Massage Therapist. While highly rated and busy, Kyle hopes to grow the business to a larger location with more therapists. One day he hopes to have his own destination spa in the Grand Rapids area.
Kellyn is a Senior Account Executive at FOX17. Kellyn works with small and medium local businesses helping them achieve their goals. He loves seeing their dreams become reality. The job itself comes with great perks such as a flexible schedule and tickets to both concerts at Van Andel and Meijer Gardens and Griffin’s Hockey games, which we love to go to.
We both are driven individuals and take pride in our jobs.

What is your anticipated employment plan following placement?
Should we be lucky enough to be selected, we both plan to take off two complete weeks to be at home with the baby/ies. After that Kellyn plans to take 6-9 more weeks of FMLA. Kyle will use that time to transition his patients to evening and weekend only. Once FMLA time is done, Kellyn will return to work full time with adjusted hours 7-4 and Kyle will see his patients in the evening. Kyle will stay home with the child/ren during the day. Our neighbors are expecting a newborn this summer. When she goes back to work, we plan to hire a nanny for all kids that will care for the kids in home. Appletree and Rainbow are also an option if needed, but we prefer smaller in home care. Both Grandma’s are ready and at hand to help in a pinch!

How do you describe yourself?
Kellyn: It is hard to describe oneself. I am a hardworking professional by day, and hardworking parent by night. I work hard to provide for my family. Once I am home, I do my best to make sure my family is fed nutritiously and cared for. I take both jobs seriously, but seldom am I serious doing them. I am fun loving, enjoy laughter above all things, and try to make good in the world, either in work (helping a business thrive) or at home (helping Jabori and his friends grow into great humans).

husbands Kyle is on the left, Kellyn on the right.

Kyle: Loving, caring, nurturer by nature. I don’t like to see people in pain. I always want to help people at any cost, thus my profession as a massage therapist. My greatest joy is to help someone overcome an obstacle that they have been working toward for a long time. Nothing makes me happier than hearing a client’s success story.

Jabori: Funny, silly around friends, athletic. I am great with little kids. For some reason they just gravitate toward me.

What role does religion play in your lives?
We identify as Christian, but are not strict on our religious schedule. We tend to make it to church around holidays with family. We do follow the teachings of Jesus: Kindness, doing well unto others, helping the unfortunate. Kindness and helping others plays a larger role in our life than an organized religion.

Describe your relationship.
We met almost nine years ago through mutual friends in Chicago. Dating was difficult at first, because Kyle’s mother was going through chemo for breast cancer, but Kellyn was patient enough through that tough time to wait. We liked each other because mutual tastes and interests, but grew to love each other by seeing the compassion each had for family and community. We moved in after dating for a year. A few years into the relationship, we both felt the need to return home to Michigan. Kyle to be close to his growing nieces, and Kellyn to be close to his aging great aunts. Family is very important to us.

Soon after we moved, Jabori came to live with us. We knew Jabori though a mentorship program in Chicago, and when his mother was unable to care for him, she chose us. Jabori has been with us five years now. Although he is technically not adopted (permanent guardianship), he is our son and a lot of our life revolves around him. We keep active with following Jabori’s sports. He keeps us committed to our fitness goals. Our favorite times together are family movie nights and breakfast the next morning where we talk about the movie and our favorite parts.

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What do you do for fun or to relax?
During the warm months, Jabori and the rest of the neighborhood kids are always outside playing. There are two big block parties for everyone. We spend time at neighbors’ homes sharing meals and having bonfires. We ride bikes or walk to our local downtown district and get ice cream and walk around Reed’s Lake. We spend quite a bit of time at the family cottage, where we swim, boat, tube, and ski on Cobb Lake. In the colder months, we spend a lot of time indoors by a fire and enjoy movies together, with the occasionally board game or puzzle. We try once a year to take a big vacation. Sometimes that is Disney, other times that is a trip to see distant relatives. Our favorite thing to do is take cruises. A lot of free time is taken up by watching and sometimes traveling to Jabori’s sports activities. Jabori is involved year round with sports like Football, Basketball, and Lacrosse.

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What are your views about discipline?
We believe that children learn right and wrong by example and experience. A child must have clear discipline that is agreed upon by both parents. Discipline is a great way to educate a young mind, to help them grow into healthy adults. Discipline should be a learning experience, not a shaming or hurtful (emotionally, physically, or mentally) experience. It is an opportunity to not just teach right and wrong, but stronger values like compassion, empathy, hard work, and dedication.

What are your feelings about education?
We both believe education is important for success and personal growth and development. It is important to use education to figure out strengths and weaknesses and to conquer both. Self-growth of knowledge can be limitless. That being said, not every learning style fits for each person. We both strive for knowledge and personal growth, but found a four year university not the best fit for our path. We will encourage our children to learn with open heart and mind and assist them in finding the path of learning that best fits them. East Grand Rapids is a great school system and we have been very involved in Jabori’s education there. The school has many extra supports for Jabori, and has educated us on how we can best help him with his K-12 education.

Describe your family’s values.
We live by honesty, kindness, respect, and having fun while doing it. We value time with our family and our extended community of friends; fellowship is you will. We strive to have an open door policy and welcome new and old friends into our home.

Describe your home/household and neighborhood, and any plans you may have for the future.
We live in a 3br 2 bath house in East Grand Rapids with nice size backyard. When we bought our house, we couldn’t have asked for a better neighborhood. The kids all play outside most days. The adults get together for barbeques during the summer and campfires in the fall and winter. There isn’t a thing we couldn’t ask our neighbors for (and we probably have). EGR is a great place for families. We have tons of parks for the kids to play, a private pool in our neighborhood, and a great school system. If we do move, it would be within EGR. Although, we love our neighbors so much that we would strongly consider an addition to the house before moving. Currently Kyle is in construction mode finishing the basement and laundry room. This summer we hope to start on a kitchen revamp.

Describe your relationships with family and friends.
We have very close friends both near us and far. We have a strong support system nearby made up of family members, neighbors, and friends. We continue to grow our friendship base and community through Jabori and parents of his friends in East Grand Rapids. We have very close friends that live in other cities that we visit and have facetime dates with. We love people and learning about different cultures. This last summer we made a new best friend from Australia while she was doing a brief work stint. We met her of all places at a local restaurant. She sat right next to us, and our love of food sparked the conversation.

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Family continues to be our closest form of relationship. We are very close with both Kyle and Kellyn’s family. We spend summers at the lake with Kyle’s family. Many weekends are spent having playdates or Sunday lunch with Kellyn’s family. Jabori enjoys having cousins on three sides to play with. He has Kyle’s two nieces that are similar in age. Kellyn’s younger niece (3) and nephew (2) love Jabori. We try as much as possible to get Jabori to see his biological family as well. He is very close to his six month older cousin and aunt.

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Describe your use of alcohol, tobacco and medicine.
No tobacco or smoking of any other kind. Social use of alcohol 1-2 drinks/week. Medicine only as prescribed by doctor.

What special information would you like to share about yourselves with a parent considering adoption for their child?
Our first date included a conversation of our mutual desire to have a family. Physically that is impossible for us, but we know that the right birth mother will come along and bless our family. We have so much love to give, both our families have love and support to give, and our friends insist that we will be the best parents. We would be honored to be considered as a forever family.

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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