Leah and Matt

First and foremost, we want you to know that we are sorry that you find yourself in this position. It probably doesn’t seem fair that you are expecting a baby at a time when you are not sure whether you can raise a child. We recognize that you have a big decision ahead of you, and we want you to find the path that is right for both you and your baby.

We believe that there is no limit to the number of loving relationships that a child can have and are firm believers that a child benefits greatly from open adoption. We also believe that through adoption, we will be expanding our family not just by one, but potentially by many. While circumstances often change, we would like to always keep the door open for relationships with you and your family. We think it is important that both families work together to build a relationship that is beneficial for everyone involved, but especially for the child.

We think that we would be wonderful parents and could provide an excellent life for a child. We invite you to learn a bit about our little family, and if you think that we might be a good fit for what you want for your baby’s future, then we would love to meet you and potentially start this adoption journey together.

A Little About Us:

I am a self-professed nerd and eternal optimist. I can be shy and a bit socially awkward, but once I get more comfortable with those around me, I become much more relaxed and open up. I can be a bit of a ham at times and enjoy making people laugh, be that with witty comments or with dad jokes and bad puns. I enjoy working to take care of our home as well as cooking and doing things for others. I am a creative person and really enjoy drawing, making music, and working with my hands. I have played the guitar for years, but my best music is made singing made up songs about our cats while cooking or doing things around the house.

I am a relatively quiet and introverted person, particularly in large groups. However, I grew up in a large and loud extended family, and the boisterous side of me comes out when I am around people I am comfortable with. I am empathetic and caring, and most comfortable with a small group of close friends and family. I am a nerdy engineer and am fascinated by how things work and amazed at the complexity of the world and technology that we interact with every day. I am one in a long line of stubborn women which leads me to fight for what I believe in and for the people that I love.

Our Relationship:
In 2009, we had both just graduated from different colleges in different states (Michigan for Leah, Indiana for Matt) and our first engineering jobs brought us both to the same engineering company in Pittsburgh. We quickly became friends over shared interests of football, humor, and being visitors to the strange land of Western Pennsylvania. After years of being just friends, something had started to change between us in 2013. Dinner outings as friends started to feel more “date-y” until we finally shared our first kiss after an evening of red wine and basketball (the Pacers lost). After that, it took very little time for us to start dating in earnest and fall in love.

Matt proposed in June 2016 by playing Leah’s favorite song on his guitar. We decided to move to Grand Rapids in order to be closer to family as we started our life together. We were married in July 2017 in a blast of a wedding at a barn featuring yard games, a Pittsburgh cookie table (it’s a “thing”), and lots of friends and family. We bought a very old house in June 2018 and have loved making it our own. While we are very happy with our home, our relationship, and our two kitties, we look forward to expanding our family and filling our home with even more love by adding a child through open adoption!

What We Do for Fun:
We spend almost all our time together and share many of our interests.  We love to spend our weekend mornings reading and drinking coffee and tea together.  We’re both really looking forward to sharing story time every night with our little one.  We watch lots of college basketball and football for both Michigan and Purdue (our alma maters).  We enjoy participating in local cultural events and make sure we attend a play, musical, or symphony at least a few times a year.  

We have two indoor cats that bring a lot of joy to our lives.  We wouldn’t consider ourselves “cat people” in the negative sense, but we do both have a shameful number of cat pictures on our phones.  We both love animals (Leah especially) and are thinking about the possibility of a dog in the future.

We started coaching a local middle and high school robotics team last year.  We’ve loved getting to work with the kids a couple hours a week and helping them build their robots.  Matt dove into his coach role and has dedicated himself to helping the kids learn the coding program to make their robots work.

Leah’s main hobby for herself is sewing.  Her Grandma taught her how to sew as a child and it has been her escape from stress and darkness in the world ever since.  She makes clothes, quilts, things for the home and does hand embroidery. She is very excited to start sewing all the cute things for her child and hopes that one day her child may want to learn how to sew so she can pass on the skill to another generation.

Matt enjoys still life drawing using mostly pencil, charcoal, or pen and ink.  He has a minor in art and likes to come up with new project ideas, even if he is slow to get started on them.  Matt is very excited to improve his finger-painting skills during art time with his future child. He also plays electric, acoustic, and bass guitar just for his own enjoyment and stress relief.  Matt also enjoys fishing and working on his old 1960’s Ford Mustang. Between the old car and the old house, Matt is having fun restoring old things to some of their former glory.

Our Family and Friends:
Family is very important to both of us.  Leah grew up surrounded by a large extended family, many of whom still live in West Michigan, and we spend time with them often.  We are very close to her parents and brother and they are very excited to welcome a baby and look forward to lots of visits and babysitting.  Matt’s parents and his older sister and brother live in Indianapolis. We visit them for weekend trips and holidays. To make up for the distance and keep up a close relationship, we talk on the phone and text regularly.  Matt’s sister and brother both married amazing people, and we consider them to be some of our best friends. Matt’s brother and his wife also introduced a new member of the family a year ago, a beautiful baby girl named Lily!

Having moved to Grand Rapids just in the past few years, we have a small but wonderful set of local friends.  We spend time with them regularly to play board games, go to dinner, or visit escape rooms. We are also developing relationships with the other families in our new neighborhood.  

Our Family’s Values:
There are many values that lead our lives and we hope to instill in our child.  Most importantly, we guide our lives with understanding, tolerance, and respect for those who are different than us or have a different path in life.  We always seek to demonstrate empathy and avoid acting in anger. We value a curious and open-minded approach to the world. We both like to excel and take pride in our jobs, but we prioritize family and friends over career advancement. 

Our Jobs:
Leah is an engineer and works on the design and development of new products for an office furniture company in Holland.  She loves that her job allows her to be hands on for the design, modeling, and testing phases of a new product. She works with a great team of supportive coworkers (many of whom are very excited for her prospective adoption) and has a regular 8-5 work schedule.

Matt is a mechanical design engineer and works for a hydraulics company 2 miles from home in Grand Rapids.  Matt is responsible for designing small hydraulic pumps and gets to help out with manufacturing, testing, and analysis.  He enjoys that his work allows him to get involved in a variety of engineering and science subjects, and that it offers flexibility and a good work/life balance.  

Our Employment Plan After Placement:
Leah plans to take 8-12 weeks of leave from work following the placement of a child and Matt plans to take 2-4 weeks.  After this leave, we will both return to work full time and our child will attend daycare while we work. If we have a child that has greater needs or does not thrive at daycare, Matt would become a stay at home Dad.  

Our Home:
In June of 2018, we bought an old house in Grand Rapids, near Heritage Hill.  Our home has 3 bedrooms, plenty of family living space, and extra rooms that we use as a music room and a craft room for our hobbies.  We have been working to create a nursery for our future child that includes quilts and decorations sewn by Leah and artwork by Matt. We are lucky enough to have a large (for the city) backyard that is fenced in where a child could safely play.  Our neighborhood mostly includes younger couples with and without children. We have a lovely park with space to run and new playground equipment just a few blocks away.

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