Dear Birth Mother,
We know you are making one of the hardest decisions of your life when you select an adoptive family for your child. While we can't truly understand all the emotions and feelings you are experiencing, we want you to know we respect the decision you are making. As you read through the profile below, we realize that we might not be the perfect fit for you and your child, and that is okay. However, if you feel we are the right couple to be blessed with your child, please know we will love your child unconditionally, and provide for him or her to the best of our abilities. We have been truly blessed in our lives and would love the opportunity to share our blessings with a child of our own. May God bring you peace in your decision.
Dan and Ashley
"Don't wait until you retire to do the things you want to do. Make a plan and do them."
This is the advise my father's parents told my folks when I was a young child. My parents fully embraced this advice and added a twist to it. They taught my brother and me that life isn't about things, it's about experiences. Don't get me wrong, we had plenty of toys to entertain us, but my life has been shaped by experiences. My parents treated life as an adventure and this is a trait that I fully embrace. I'm not certain if telling you the natural progression of my life will help you understand me, so I thought it best to tell you about the experiences that shaped me into the human being I am today.
The Jump Rope
I was born the youngest of two children in Wichita, Kansas. My brother and I were raised in a house of love, patience and humor. The earliest example I can remember of patience shown by our parents was when my parents went to Builder Square and bought a really long piece of thin rope. My father tied one end to the basketball goal and on the other end one of my parents would turn the rope until their arm became tired. This allowed my brother, me, and all the kids in the neighborhood the opportunity to jump rope until we wore ourselves out.
I can remember many summer evenings a line of kids down our driveway, each of us waiting for our turn to run into the turning rope and see how many jumps we could get before our legs would tire out. Meanwhile, my parents would stand there and patiently turn that rope.
When I was six, my family was transferred up to Seattle, Washington for a year. The move was a big change for our family, but we treated it as an adventure. Every weekend, my parents packed us into the little red Toyota Camry and we did every touristy thing there is to do in Seattle and the surrounding community. We visited the Pike's Place Market (pictured above with the pig), we hiked Snoqualmie Falls, and toured the Butchart Gardens in Canada. I fully remember my 7th birthday was celebrated at the top of the Space Needle. More often than not, most of these activities were done in the rain.
We were so busy, I can remember my brother and I asking our parents one weekend, "Can we just stay home this weekend?" Little did I know that those opportunities presented to me as a child would shape me and be wonderful memories. To this day, I love the smell of rain and any time I travel to Seattle for work, I always have to stop by the market to visit the pig.
Camping and Boating
I can't remember what age I was when my parents purchased our first boat for the family. What I can remember is all the summers we would camp out at lakes all over Kansas and spend our days on the water. My parents patiently pulled us behind the boat on tubes and water skis. In the beginning, we could each bring a friend camping with us. However, the older we got, more of our friends came camping with us.
Cooking breakfast with my dad over an open campfire is one of my favorite camping memories. On the last night of every campout, my mom would make spaghetti. She would take all the left over hot dog and hamburger buns and turn them into the best garlic bread you have ever tasted.
When I was nine years old, my parents sent my brother and me to summer camp for one week. I was so nervous when my parents dropped me off that I cried. The week I was at camp, I played hard and had a blast. When my parents came to pick me up, I cried because I didn't want to leave.
Camp became an annual event. Every summer thereafter, we spent at least two weeks at camp. We met up with our friends every summer for horseback riding, swimming, outdoor cooking, camping out under the stars, arts and crafts, archery, music, and silliness. Camp introduced me to people from all over the world (our staff was international), it instilled a courage in me I had never known before, and gave me life-long friends. As a college student, I went back and became a camp counselor for a summer.
My After-School Job
My family placed a heavy importance on education. School came first and if you kept good grades, you could play sports or get an after school job. I worked in an old-fashioned malt shop inside a movie theater. Some nights I waited tables. Other nights I was a soda jerk, creating ice cream sundaes and old fashioned sodas.
This opportunity gave me an incredible network of friends from different schools. As our restaurant was located inside a movie theater, we were allowed to watch movies for free. On nights before the opening of a new movie, the theater would have a midnight viewing for the staff. My parents allowed me to watch the midnight movies, only during the summer time. Midnight viewings were always on Thursday nights and school always came first.
When I graduated from high school, we took a family vacation to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico. This was the first time my family had stayed at an all-inclusive hotel, let alone in Mexico. We spent entire days playing in the ocean and relaxing on the beach. One day, we rented a car and drove to Chichen Itza, ancient Mayan ruins. This trip sparked my family's love of Mexico and my love of the Spanish language.
Every other year after that trip, we would take family vacations to Playa Del Carmen and stay at different hotels. We found opportunities to snorkel with sea turtles, swim with dolphins, visit various ancient Mayan ruins, and learn about Mayan and Mexican culture at different eco-parks. To this day, we take multi-generational family vacations and most of the time, we come back to Playa Del Carmen.
The University of Kansas
After I graduated from high school, I enrolled in the University of Kansas. My original intention was to get a business degree, but after only a couple of years I changed my major. Eventually I earned my degree in Strategic Communications (Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations). My entire college career, I studied Spanish. I don't get to practice it much anymore, but I can still understand bits and pieces of it in music and from television.
In college, I held quite a few jobs, but one of my favorites was working as an International Student Orientation Leader. Every semester, we would receive a new group of students coming to KU to study. I was one of a handful of people that helped them acclimate to life in the U.S. and show them around the campus. I was fortunate enough to meet some incredible people, who I am still friends with today. Some of these friends came home with me for holidays to experience the holidays with an American family. This was always a learning opportunity for my friends and me. Foods that we would consider a holiday staple (deviled eggs at Easter) can be quite disgusting to people who didn't grow up on them.
Working with and learning from all these different individuals helped me build the courage to go outside my comfort zone. In the summer of 2005, I lived in Puebla, Mexico with a host family. Every week day, I attended class and every weekend, I travelled all over Mexico to sightsee. This made my love for Mexico grow even more and instilled a self-confidence in me I could never imagine.
Life After College
Once I graduated from KU, I moved back to Wichita to be close to my family. I took a job with an aerospace company and filled my free time with a variety of activities. I love to read and eventually joined a book club. I think reading is very important and it's a trait I want to share with my future children.
To stay active, I started training for a half marathon with a very dear friend. We traveled to Phoenix to walk our first half marathon. That sparked a desire in me to walk more races and eventually led to triathlons. To count, I've walked 7 half marathons and completed three sprint triathlons. I'm not fast by any means, but I definitely enjoy it.
After college, I realized that I needed a new hobby with my extra free time. I figured running was the best option since I only needed a pair of shoes! At first, it was torture to run a mile. Eventually, I got there and started to love it. Within a couple of months, I was running 5K/10Ks and started to look at longer distances. I set a goal to run the Wichita Half-Marathon. I had 4 months to train, but I made it happen. Once I finished I was hooked.
My next goal was to complete a marathon. Eventually, I was able to complete this goal and tried my hand at triathlons. This did not go so well at first. I had no problem swimming, but never had swam in the open water with a crowd of other people around me. Needless to say, I panicked. I found a life guard raft and hung on until everyone passed by, and then I swam the rest of the course by myself. I decided I couldn't let this get the better of me, so I set my sights on another triathlon with much better results. Through lots of training, I became comfortable with triathlons, and I started to increase the distances. Eventually, I completed a Full Iron Man Triathlon. The best part of this experience is that it allowed me to eventually meet Ashley.
We were participating in an adult swim class at the local YMCA in the early mornings. The class was held twice a week. Ashley was always the first one in the pool and Daniel was the second person in the pool. As Daniel walked out onto the pool deck each morning, Ashley appreciated the view. However, she was too shy to say anything to him; as he swam in the fast lane and she was in the slower lane.
Eventually curiosity got the better of her and she asked a friend if he knew the man she saw twice a week. Her friend informed her that he was a really nice man and thought they would be a good pairing. Their mutual friend mentioned to Daniel that there was a lady in his swim class that he needed to talk to, but Ashley had to stop taking the class due to her work schedule. They never made contact.
Fast forward one year later and Ashley's neighbors decide to have a party. The week before the party, they invited her and said that their best friends were bringing a friend who did triathlons. She accepted the invitation and showed up to the party. Daniel and Ashley started talking in their friend's kitchen and before they knew it, three hours had passed. It was like they had known each other forever.
After the first date, it was a whirlwind romance. They were constantly spending time with each other: cosmic bowling, excursions to the local zoo, attending hockey and baseball games, dates of miniature golf and training for races together. All of this eventually led to a proposal and surprise, surprise, the answer was "YES!"
Settling into married life we spend our time participating in various activities. We have a dog named Buddy. He loves to be petted and go on walks. He provides plenty entertainment and is very loving. Also, he might be just a bit spoiled.
We like to stay active. Therefore, walks in our local park are a great evening activity. We train for races together, but at different paces. We enjoy visiting the local zoo. We also love to spend time on the lake. If we aren't on the water at the lake, we enjoy spending time in the pool with our extended families.
We enjoy visiting other places and cultures to see what life has to offer. Whether it is a romantic trip to Washington D.C, an excursion to Walt Disney World to compete in a marathon, a multi-generational trip to Mexico, or the adventure of mountain biking down a volcano in Hawaii; we learn and grow with each of these experiences.