Ryan & Leslie /adoption-family/ryan-leslie 2036

Ryan & Leslie

We already love you and your baby and we haven’t even met you yet.

Maybe it was Leslie’s rocking’ blue hair, or maybe it was our wonderfully snuggly puppies that got you to click into our page here – but we couldn’t be more thrilled that you did!  We have so much love that we are ready to share!  Thank you for taking a moment to get to know us.

Before we tell you our story, please know how much respect we have for the decision you are considering.  You humble us with your generosity and strength!  You are creating an amazing future for your little one by considering adoption.  Ryan’s mom was adopted, so without this wonderful gift – he wouldn’t be here to be a part of this story.  Thank you, we appreciate you, we believe in you.

Our Story

We met in college at Eastern Illinois University auditioning for the same theatre scholarship.  There was an instant connection between us!  We shared everything – friends, classes, hobbies, jobs – it only made sense that we would be married in the very theatre we met in 1 week after graduating!

We started our life together in a little apartment in Evanston, IL in spring 2008.  We got misc. jobs to pay the bills which turned into successful career paths.  Although performing, comedy, and the stage started as a top priority and main story point for us, the plot changed.  We found our attraction to always be to each other and our home and family; so over time – we leaned more into the careers and our fun!  We were blessed to be able to buy a house, go on fun vacations, see shows, and bring in snuggly/ furry friends to our family.

In 2016, Leslie started to feel funny and in 2017 she was formally diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  We knew this was a turning point for us, the story was shifting, and the plot thickened.  This didn’t have to be a bad thing!  It would just be different.  We got proactive, made major changes in our careers and our home life.  We counted our blessings as her symptoms developed – her MS is very treatable and manageable.  Feeling that we “got lucky”, we formed Team LadyPenguins Fundraising to support the National MS Society.  We wanted to give back in our little way to share love and support with the people not as lucky as us.

Medically, we could probably have a biological child, but at this point, that just doesn’t resonate with us.  There are certain risks with that due to the MS, but more importantly, we feel called to adoption.  We have an incredibly open mindset which puts us in a great position mentally and spiritually to love any child.  We are natural parents and caregivers (just ask our college friends who have been calling us mom and dad for over 15 years now).

Our relationship has faced many challenges and we continue to pull positivity from them.  We really feel like this is the best time in our lives to become parents and that we are ready for this next chapter.  We cannot wait to give our child great opportunities to be great.  We cannot wait to share our Midwest personalities and share our warm and loving hugs.

-About Us-

Ryan is currently a software application administrator who works remote!  As is typical in the tech world, days are flexible which is an amazing gift when starting a family.  Changing diapers and rocking kiddos during conference calls is understood – especially in a post COVID/ virtual world.  Ryan currently loves pushing his fitness goals and when he isn’t training, he is Adventure Racing!  He also likes to explore creative outlets like small construction projects or even getting back on stage to do a community theatre show!  But his #1 priority will always be family – pets included!  Ryan cannot WAIT to be a daddy.

Leslie is an incredible partner at home and manages to not only keep our house in order but also spends time as a nanny for an Autistic teenager.  You would never tell she has a disability and often even her closest friends will forget.  If she isn’t working, giving time to the local children’s theatre, or exploring her own creative outlets – she enjoys a relaxing night with her dogs, cat, and big silly husband.

Together, the tall guy and the brown eyed girl love to try new things.  That is food a lot of the time, but what better way is there to immerse yourself in something different than to eat another culture’s delights!?  Our kitchen is constantly busy and that leaks into most of our family traditions – kiddo better like tasting yummy new things!


Our promise to you is to always keep doors open.  You may not be ready sometimes; they might not be ready sometimes.  But some day there may be a time when you and the child(ren) are ready to connect, and we will facilitate that.  We will happily have photos of you on the wall and will send you updates.  We have so much respect and love for openness because, without you there is no them.  We are all family once we commit to this and that can come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – and those shapes and sizes can change over time.  We will always enable positive relationships that are best for the kid(s).

Fun Facts

  • Really loves Superman, used to have a collection of memorabilia and has a Superman influenced tattoo.
  • Has a rich bass singing voice and usually ends up the villain in theatre as a result – even though he is such a fun and nice guy!!  Got to be Frollo in Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • Paid his way through college by sometimes working as many as 4 food service jobs a day.  Now he can grill amazing steaks, whip up creative cocktails, and can make breakfast for over 20 people at a time!
  • Has a hard time thinking about living anywhere but Chicago because of the food.  You can’t get pizza, hot dogs, beef, or cheesecake anywhere else like here.
  • Really likes cold leftovers – it’s kinda gross and we don’t know the origin, but our microwave doesn’t get nearly as much use as it probably should…
  • Received a Presidential Scholarship to college for her grades, meaning that the Honors Department paid for everything about her college experience other than food.
  • Really loves learning to cook foods from other cultures.  Some of her favorite dishes she’s learned include Argentinian empanadas, Indian tikka masala and naan, Mexican salsas, Italian handmade pasta, and French macarons.
  • Started playing Animal Crossing during the pandemic and it is now her favorite game ever.
  • Is an only child – and loves it!
  • Has named all her pets after musicians or songs since her first cat when she was three. His name was Sammy (after Sammy Hagar).
  • Is absolutely obsessed with coffee!  It’s her favorite drink / treat!

"Ryan & Leslie" Family Photos

  • Leslie's Mom and Dad
  • Leslie's Aunt Beth
  • Leslie's Uncle David & Aunt Connie
  • Cousin Josh, Uncle Ron/ Aunt Val, & Gill Family
  • Nanny with Nephews Tyler & Korbyn, and Niece Peyton
  • Garcia, our 13 YO Shi-Tsu
  • Jolene, our 3 YO German Pointer
  • Mya, our 13 YO Shi-Tsu (Garcia's Litter Sister)
  • Benmont the cat
  • Ryan's Dad, Stepmom Carla, Sister Brianna, Brother Michael and spouses
  • Ryan's Brother-Cousin Steve, wife Katie, kids Hudson & Barrett
  • Ryan's Mom, Brother Justin, wife Sara, and Niece Jenna
  • Ryan's Stepdad Tony, Mom & Sister, and the Abbate's
  • Sister Gina, husband Jim, kids Vincent & Sophia
  • Magical Moment with Brother Tony (Jr) and wife Connie
  • Playing Barbies with Sophia
  • Ryan's Sister Layla with Tony Sr & Jr and Connie
  • The original Team LadyPenguins Fundraising

Contact the Cradle

If you’re interested in learning about adoption for your baby, we can help. We’re available 24/7. All of your information is confidential.

To speak to someone now, call our 24-hour hotline: (800) 272-3534 or text us at (312) 800-1559 (answered 8:30am-8pm).

If you’d like us to contact you, please use the form below.

If you are looking to adopt a child, please schedule a call with an Adoptive Parent Counselor.

If you are an adopted person looking for information, please schedule an informational consultation with our post adoption department.

How did you hear about The Cradle?

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.