Michelle and Thom

Thank you for taking the time to get to know our little family! We are so excited to be on this adoption journey and can only imagine the wild rollercoaster of emotions you must be going through. We want you to know that first and foremost, we respect you and whatever decision you make. We are so passionate about making sure this open adoption journey feels right for YOU. We would be honored to be part of you and this child’s life, as we have so much love we want to share. We believe open adoption can provide the best possible outcome for everyone involved and we would love to build a lifelong relationship with you and your family in order to provide as much love, connection, and community for this child as possible.

We will always do our best to show our authentic and true selves. We hope we can meet in person sometime soon to answer any questions you may have. In the meantime, we are sending so much love and compassion and positive vibes out into the universe in the hopes that they will find you and bring you peace, clarity, and strength.

With love and gratitude,
Michelle and Thom

Our Story
We met in the summer of 2008 through mutual friends and started dating 10 years ago when Thom finally convinced Michelle to give him a chance. His patience and persistence paid off and we have been together ever since. Pretty early in the relationship, Michelle was presented with the opportunity to adopt a dog. Thom encouraged this decision and Thumper became our sidekick. She became the common thread that bonded us even further. The three of us became a family.
We both are still in awe that we’ve been so lucky in love to find our person this young in life. Thom’s patient, calm and comfortable energy is still the best balance for Michelle’s humorous and exuberant nature. We’ve had lots of time to learn about each other, to pursue meaningful careers that we enjoy, and to have grand adventures full of travel with family and friends. We have supported each other through moves out of state, family deaths and illnesses, and our more recent struggles with infertility. We feel so full of love and excitement about the possibility of growing our family and can’t wait for this next chapter in our lives.

Our Careers
Michelle currently works at two social services agencies, working directly with survivors of domestic violence and children involved in court ordered parenting time. In both positions, Michelle loves being able to play a small part in creating a safe space for children and families to grow and heal on their own terms. Thom works as a Financial Analyst for a network of public charter schools. He is passionate about education and grateful to work in a field that positively impacts our community.

Thom will be able to take up to 12 weeks of family leave following placement. Once he returns to work, his job offers great flexibility in terms of assisting with childcare duties as needed during the week. Thanks to Thom’s stable income, Michelle will be able to stay home to care for our child full-time after placement, while continuing to pursue her Master of Social Work degree.

Fun & Relaxation
On a typical Saturday, Michelle would head to yoga and return home to a yummy breakfast Thom prepared of homemade granola and fruit or heuvos rancheros. We would then take our dog, Thumper, for a walk down to our community nature center and come home to veg on the couch with a good book and some solid dog snuggles. In the evening, you could find us playing board games at a friend’s home, checking out one of our favorite bands at a local venue, or just watching some of our go-to shows on Netflix for a relaxing night in. We both love and appreciate the outdoors and try to go camping near Lake Michigan with friends or family as much as possible during the summer months.

We currently live rich, full lives and after much reflection and conversation, we decided we want to share and expand our love and our lives by adopting. We can’t wait to take family dog walks and camping trips, read Harry Potter before bed, and make sure our children are provided with as much love and support as possible. We hope that you’d like to be part of our family and build a life-long relationship with this child through open adoption in whatever way feels right to you.                   

Family & Friends
We both come from a nuclear family of four and have remained extremely close with our parents and siblings over the years. Both of our parents are recently retired and live in West Michigan so we are lucky enough to see them regularly. We love going on family vacations, spending holidays together, seeing live music, watching our dogs wrestle, or even playing a rousing game of Cards Against Humanity or Scrabble in one of our homes. We each have one brother, and both are excited to compete for the title of Coolest Uncle. The whole family is excited about and supportive of the idea of adoption and is ready for the family to grow. Everyone is eager to babysit often and the grandparents can’t wait to spoil their first grandchild!

We have created such a strong and loving community in West Michigan, that we couldn’t imagine raising a family anywhere else. We have the seen the “it takes a village” mentality in full force and have loved being a part of our friends’ growing families. We hope for a strong extended community (that includes our child’s birth family in whatever way feels best for them) so that this little one will have as much love and support as possible throughout their life.                

Home & Neighborhood
We live in a two-bedroom home in a quiet, urban neighborhood 2-3 miles south of downtown Grand Rapids, close to Garfield Park and Garfield Nature Center. We have a large fully fenced-in backyard for our dog to patrol and we love to sit on our three-season porch during the warmer months and watch her chase the squirrels. Our neighborhood feels safe and friendly and we love that it is full of young and diverse families, with the sidewalks often bustling with strollers, bike riders, and chalk art.
We acknowledge that as our family grows, we may need to move into a larger home, but plan to stay in the Grand Rapids area as to remain close to our family, friends, and community.

Our Views on Discipline
We believe the role of discipline in a child’s life is to keep them safe and ultimately, teach them how to be responsible and successful adults in our society. By providing proper guidance and offering positive and negative consequences, children feel safe to grow and learn from their mistakes. Discipline can also help children learn to manage their own emotions, particularly negative emotions like anger and frustration. More importantly, we will try to determine the reason for misbehavior and facilitate open conversation with the child about how to deal with certain feelings and emotions in a healthy way.

Our Values and Beliefs
Our family values include honesty, respect, love, tolerance, curiosity, communication, compassion, and social justice/equity.

We both seriously value the role of education in society and in our own lives. We believe that it is important to live life with one’s “student” hat on and to try and remain open and curious to new ideas. We were both encouraged to make career and educational choices based on our own views and what we believed would make us happy and we plan to pass this along to our children as well.

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