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Published November 2007
By The Cradle Staff

Brooke and James are among a proud group of Chicagoland families who completed a Sayers Center adoption recently. They met through a local running club and married in 2004. Even before they were married, Brooke and James discussed the possibility of forming a family through adoption. They sought advice from friends, including a couple in their running group who had adopted their son through the Sayers Center. In October 2005 Brooke and James attended “Adoption 101” at The Cradle, and by the end of May 2006 their home study was complete. Before moving to the next step of drafting a “Dear Birthmother” letter, they ran one more marathon together and took a last vacation as a couple, all the while imagining what it would be like to be parents. In December 2006 their profile was added to the Sayers Center waiting list, and the following March, they received a call that would change their lives forever.

Brooke and James’ counselor at The Cradle called to give them the good news that their profile had been selected by an expectant young woman from a town just south of Chicago. But the counselor had an even bigger surprise: the birthmother, Lisa, was carrying twins! While they were both thrilled (James’ sister had two sets of twins), their excitement was tempered. They had already experienced some setbacks in the process, including three previous presentations that didn’t work out. Meeting Lisa before the babies were born helped ease their concerns. Brooke and James felt an immediate connection to her. They marveled at Lisa’s maturity and at how thoughtful she was of their feelings during such a difficult time.

On April 23, 2007, Avery and Reese came into the world. Brooke and James were at the hospital and got to hold and feed the girls shortly after their birth. They asked Lisa to suggest names of women who were important to her, and selected middle names for the twins in honor of Lisa’s aunt and grandmother. Before Avery and Reese left for their new home on April 26, there was a loving entrustment ceremony at the hospital, with members of Lisa’s family and Cradle counselors in attendance.

The twins are a source of continual delight for Brooke and James. According to her mom, Reese wears a constant grin, has started to crawl and is very curious. Avery is a bit smaller and more cautious than her sister, but generally catches up within a couple weeks. The girls have been out east to visit Brooke’s family, and are regularly spoiled by James’ mother, stepfather and sisters, who live in the Chicago area. Brooke and James have also taken Reese and Avery to the town south of Chicago a number of times to see Lisa and her mother, and send updated pictures of the girls every month. They were very touched to receive a sweet e-mail from Lisa saying how glad she was that she chose them, and that her fears about placing her babies had been put to rest.

Adopting Avery and Reese, Brooke explained, has turned her into an adoption advocate. She and James live in a neighborhood with several other adoptive families, so that being adopted will seem entirely “normal” when the twins are old enough to understand. Becoming parents has also focused their priorities. Brooke and James have become self-professed homebodies who enjoy staying in to play with the girls, cook and entertain friends. They balance this part of their lives with their continuing roles as busy professionals and active volunteers. Brooke and James are grateful for the openness they share with Lisa and applaud The Cradle for the excellent adoption education and preparation they received. In fact, they’re already thinking about coming back!

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