Brooke + Chris
We're Brooke and Chris. Thank you so much for taking time to read our story. We can't imagine how hard these moments must be for you. But please know, you aren't alone. We've been praying for your peace on the journey, whichever direction you take. We pray that you are increasingly surrounded with kindness, support and clarity. And without a doubt, you have 2 people in us who want every single good thing that you want for your baby. We're cheering you on and praying for you and your sweet little one. Chris and I hope your tomorrow is filled with only the brightest days and your biggest dreams. We're on your side and we are for you.
Chris opened his email and he suddenly got the biggest smile: "We've been accepted into the adoption program!" We were both so excited and grateful to begin our family. We'd been trying to have a baby for over 12 years. We faced so many surprising problems that even stumped our doctors. It's definitely been hard, but as with all storms in life, there's also goodness hidden inside: We were strong in our marriage before this hard journey, but now we're an unbreakable team because we know how to turn to each other for strength. We knew our families loved us, but now we know they'll rush to stand with us in tough times. We'd talked about adopting long before we ever tried to have a family. Chris' family has a rich history of fostering and giving children safe and loving homes. Three generations of his family have expanded their families in this way! We couldn't be more humbled to be part of the beautiful world of adoption.
"Hi! I'm Brooke!" Chris had a strange feeling that this pretty girl at his law school locker with the big smile would become very special to him. He asked around and found out that she was smart and really friendly. Chris asked her out and she said...no. Dangit.
A few months later, Brooke watched her roommate drive away in a U-Haul truck and thought, "Well, now who am I going to hang out with?!" Now that her best friend graduated and moved out, Brooke needed to find new friends. She thought, "What about that Chris guy? He's really cool. And definitely cute!
Chris hadn't stopped thinking about Brooke. So he was shocked when out of nowhere, she asked him to hang out to watch movies. Apparently, Brooke's roommate had taken the only tv when she moved out. We had the best night, laughing and talking, and watching 3 movies before saying goodnight.
We hung out more and more. Then one snowy day, Chris drove Brooke to her car. We sat in the car and talked...and talked...and talked....in the freezing cold...with no bathroom breaks for...12 HOURS!! From that conversation, Chris knew without a doubt that Brooke was the girl he would marry. Brooke later told a friend, "I've never felt more myself with anyone else. Being with Chris feels like...home." We dated for 1.5 years and then got married. Marriage is the rest of your life with your favorite person on earth and that's exactly what we both got. We're also SUPER grateful that Brooke's roommate took that tv.
"Bro...your girl is tight. If you weren't my boy, I'd be asking her out." My best friend had just met Brooke and seen a glimmer of what makes her so special. She has an almost regal quality. She's strong but also has a huge heart. When I'm taking things too seriously, she cracks a joke to make me laugh. When I'm down, she has a wise word to lift me up. In times of grief, she's a calming presence with loving arms.
I'm a pretty laid-back guy (aka "Cool Chris"). Sometimes I can move too slowly. But Brooke balances out my laid-back personality perfectly. She always has a sense of purpose and direction and is not afraid to step out on faith.
Brooke is passionate, especially about the people she loves. She has 6 best friends from college (including 2 lawyers, 3 PHD's, 1 doctor, and 1 top executive). They've been on the same group text for decades, supporting each other through all of life's highs and lows. Recently, one of her friends was extremely stressed. Brooke surprised her with a plane ticket and sent me to a hotel so they could have a girl's weekend. Her friend said, through tears, "You don't know how much I needed this and what it meant to me."
Brooke makes me want to be better as a person. I call this the "Brooke Effect". When Brooke graduated law school, one of her cousins said the same thing. Tearing up, Brooke said she had no idea he felt that way. But that's the Brooke Effect: without even knowing it, she makes you want to be your best.
My Dad once said, "Brooke, if I could magically create a husband for you, I don't think I would have done as good as Chris." Chris is a very special human. He's deeply genuine, caring and reliable. He is truly the most selfless person I've ever known. I see our personalities in how we walk: Chris has a smooth, chill pace and I'm always quickstepping. I used to end up yards ahead of him. To fix that, I now hold his hand: it's my favorite place to be, hand in hand with him for life.
Chris is exceedingly loyal and understands the value of relationships. He's had the same best friend since kindergarten and is often the one planning meetups with his friends. I love how he honors his mother in every way, recognizing all the extraordinary things she's done for him.
My Dad set the standard very high for a husband and a father. Chris exceeded all of my expectations. He's all that I could've hoped for and more. He and I laugh together...A LOT! And in the times when I've cried (hard), he wraps his arms around me. Most people can't admit when they're wrong. But Chris is an amazing example of true strength: making the hard choices after having open conversations and, if need be, acknowledging when there's a better way.
At the pet adoption event, we saw the puppy that we'd seen online: he was the only blond of his grey siblings. The organizer handed him to Brooke and said, "His name is Noah...he's the smallest but he's got the biggest personality." Noah stuck out his tiny pink tongue like a puppy kiss. Chris said, "He's the one, isn't he?" Brooke nodded with a huge smile. In 8 seconds, we had both fallen helplessly in love. The organizer said, "I can tell this little guy is going to get a ton of love..."
Noah is now almost 10 years old. He's been a true joy of our life, loving and oodles of personality. He adores playing with kids and he lives for a belly rub. People think he's a puppy because of his high energy. And he's so smart...almost TOO smart! We can't wait for him to meet his new favorite tiny human.
We were driving around looking at new neighborhoods and we weren't having any luck. "I don't know if you're going to like this neighborhood, but my Mom thought I should show it to you," Chris said as he made a left turn into the subdivision. Brooke gasped. "This is....perfect." Huge trees lined the streets, kids on skateboards whizzed past, a couple was walking their 3 golden retrievers. There were lush green lawns and rolling hills. You could tell people really loved living there and took care of their homes. From plumbers to the Fedex guy, everyone who visits our house says the same thing: "Man, I never knew this neighborhood was here. It's so...peaceful and beautiful."
We have a 2600 square foot, one-story ranch house with plenty of space for a growing family. It's got 3 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, 2 large family rooms and another extra room. We've got plenty of space for toys, games and popcorn filled family movie nights! Our backyard is completely fenced in, which is great when kids are playing outdoors. Our neighborhood is super diverse, with all types of families, ages and ethnicities. Right down the street there's a brand new playground and there's an awesome community center less than 5 minutes away with classes and activities for kids.
Our favorite vacation is the beach: Miami, San Diego and Hawaii...we're total water babies! We'll pack a basket of snacks and drinks and you'll find us both on the beach until sundown. We love the sounds of the ocean and the feel of wet sand between our toes. Recently, we've been switching things up and just went to the beautiful mountains of Colorado. We also love a weekend getaway to a peaceful cabin. On vacation, Brooke loves exploring little shops and Chris wants to see the city's history. But the most important thing on every trip...FOOD!
Chris loves cooking. Brooke's Mom always asks, "Do you think Chris will make his famous cornbread and mac and cheese?" Chris will then whip out his "Chef Chris" apron and starts his kitchen magic. Brooke loves decorating and being creative. Both of us enjoy working out and staying healthy. Chris is an investigator by heart and enjoys mystery books and crime shows. We also enjoy programs with a big reveal at the end, like home renovation shows. Brooke loves learning and tries to read 1 book a week. She mostly listens to Christian music (and Christian rap when she works out!). Chris loves all kinds of music from Gospel, neo soul and jazz, as well as RB.
When my parents were dropping me off for my freshman year, I said, "Growing up, I would wonder what other kids' parents were like. So I'd pay attention to how other parents reacted when their kid messed up. How much emphasis they put on material things. How much they made a relationship with Jesus a priority. I think you 2 did the best job of anyone that I know. You were strict when it was needed. We knew we were loved unconditionally. You sacrificed for us. You taught us what was really important. And we had fun. You guys were amazing and I'm appreciative."
Family is exceedingly important to us. On my Mom's side, there are trips to the lake and backyard cookouts with grilled chicken, fried fish, hamburgers and tons of laughter. At my Dad's family reunions, there's stories over music, crab and peel-n-eat shrimp.
I really can't say enough about my parents. My Mom is kind and wise and my Dad is funny and creative. We love spending time with them. Last year, Chris and I drove to their house and spent a whole month there before flying to Chris' mom's house to spend a month there as well. My brother has 4 kids. He is an amazing father and husband and is wonderful with children, as he is a juniors tennis coach and professional.
I love hanging out with the kids in our families, like spending 2 hours in the pool with Chris' 9 year old cousin choreographing a synchronized dance routine. Or blowing bubbles with my 2 nieces for hours or the annual Connect 4 Tournament that I have with my 2 nephews. And all of the kids love Uncle Chris!
"...Each of today's graduates has sacrificed so much." When the speaker at my Mom's graduation said that, I suddenly realized how much my Mom had sacrificed to get her master's degree. She worked a full-time job while going to school at night. She also ran basketball drills with me and attended my games. I also thought about my Grandmother. Instead of being carefree in her golden years, she moved in to help my Mom. She cooked, cleaned and drove me to practices. I am deeply grateful for all they did for me and how selflessly they loved me.
I am an only child, but our house was usually filled with relatives. Our extended family would gather at our house for Sunday dinners and holidays. I grew up being very close to my younger cousins, who became like siblings.
My Mom and Grandmother taught me that family takes care of family. When I was 15, my aunt and uncle had a devastating fire. Without hesitating, we took them in and made it work with 11 people in a 1500 square foot house. Later in life, my Mom took custody of my 13-year-old niece who has having a tough time. My Mom raised her until she was an adult and truly changed her life.
My mom is warm and funny. My Grandmother, who's since passed away, was one of my best friends and my partner in crime! My parents divorced when I was 2 and my Dad moved out of state. I'm glad that our relationship has grown now that I'm an adult and I appreciate the male role models I had growing up. I absolutely love being an uncle, especially drawing and playing Uno with my 9-year-old cousin.
We've spent years of imagining what it'll be like to welcome our baby home. There's never been a better time for our miracle to finally happen. Chris now works from home and gets every other Friday off. This gives him the rare opportunity to spend so much more time with our family than most great dads. It also means we can travel absolutely anywhere, pretty much anytime. Chris loves his career and makes a fantastic living, which enables Brooke to be at home with our baby like Brooke's Mom did growing up and Chris' Grandma did for him.
The two of us have certain dreams for every baby: That every baby would have a safe home, filled with tons of warmth and oceans of laughter. For him or her to have everything they'll ever need. Unconditional support and the freedom to explore their interests and strengths to learn more about all the things that light up their heart. For every child to have the greatest protection and people in their corner who won't hesitate to fight fiercely on their behalf. And most importantly, a relationship with Jesus Christ, the greatest gift any parent could give their child and the source of absolutely endless love and eternal identity. If you do decide to pursue an adoption plan and choose us to be the parents for your child, there are truly no words to express what an honor and blessing that would be. We would prayerfully live each day striving to be parents who lived up to every dream you have for your baby.