Oh, hello, we are Susanne & Justin. To the courageous heart reading this letter, thank you for taking the time to read our profile. First things first: We are overwhelmed by you, by your strength and your courage, and by the tremendous, fierce love undoubtedly necessary to consider making an adoption plan for your child. We are two Midwesterners somehow turned New Yorkers. We met in graduate school and fell in love over books, coffee, long walks on chilly nights, conversations about the importance of family, and much quiet time together studying. While we have always considered our family of two whole, we have long awaited welcoming our first child. Since before we were married, we knew that would happen through adoption. After eleven happy years together, we eagerly, hopefully, and joyfully anticipate growing our family through adoption. You’ll read so many of these profiles. Whatever you decide to do, we want you to know: you are strong and courageous, even when you may not feel that way. You can reach us toll free by calling 1-800-626-4324.
Midwest Roots, New York Life
After twenty-two years as a South Dakota farm girl–growing up in the house where her parents live today, only two miles from her grandparents–Susanne moved to Nebraska for graduate school.
After twenty-three years as the son of a pastor–having lived in Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota–Justin also moved to Nebraska for graduate school.
That’s how we met.
Since we’ve been married, we moved several times for Justin’s job: first, to Minnesota where he worked at a church developing programming for children and families; and then to Connecticut so Justin could attend seminary and become an ordained pastor. Susanne’s work as a journalist and university administrator created stability for our family through these transitions. Now, we’re settled in New York.
Working in a church means having a ready made community, and the people are welcoming and kind — they also love to party. So church keeps our social life busy, but at heart we’re homebodies who love nothing more than quiet time for reading, lazy Sunday afternoons, a good walk in a quiet forest, and Friday night pizza-and-movie dates. So we make space for those activities — they keep us grounded.
In her downtime, Susanne reads, bakes, and runs — training for the occasional half-marathon (which is mostly a good excuse for a family trip). Justin collects music and plays video games and board games. We both love to cook. As a child, Susie honed her top-notch baking skills under the watchful eyes of her mother and grandmother. Justin mostly lived off Doritos and Hot Pockets until he discovered a love for cooking during his internship year of seminary.
A Little Bit About Susanne, by Justin
When I first met Susanne, I was astounded by her ferocious determination and intense intelligence, all filtered through her gentle care and very loving heart. She finds the best in people. She’s faced micromanaging bosses, long-distance telecommuting, a jealous coworker or two–but she always gracefully handles challenging situations.
Susanne may seem quiet to people who first meet her, but this is simply part of her humility. She doesn’t need to be the biggest voice in the room–but when she says something, everyone listens. In our personal lives, Susanne has a true gift for making a house into a home. She runs half- and full marathons (don’t ask me why). She cooks like you wouldn’t believe. She often makes up silly songs about the dogs. She teases me when I deserve it and says, “If I didn’t make fun of you, how would you know I loved you?” She Snapchats every weird filter every day. And she always thinks carefully about the needs of others. She will be the most incredible mother a child could imagine.
A Little Bit About Justin, by Susanne
Justin is a teacher — one of those really amazing, once-in-lifetime teachers who can take a comment or a thought, no matter how absurd or off-the-wall it comes across, and connect it to the topic at hand in a way that makes whoever said it seem brilliant. He’s also a storyteller and a playwright, and he has this ability to reframe the commonplace in ways that transform the way one sees the world.
Justin has this knack for drawing people in and putting them at ease — be it the crew of ninety-year-olds he visits at the nursing home or the toddlers at the church preschool he entertains with such classics as Llama Llama Red Pajama and Those Darn Squirrels. Justin brings light and life with him into a room; he makes people welcome — and when they talk, he listens. He’s interested – always interested – in learning more about things, about people, about life.
He’s also funny. He loves nothing more than a good fart joke, hiding plastic cockroaches in my towel, teasing me about the romances I buy for my Kindle, which is connected to his Amazon account — or dressing up as a royal prince, for tea parties with our nieces.
Where We Live
We live in a quiet neighborhood in suburban New York with a private playground and swimming pool. A short walk down the street, there’s a nature preserve with hiking trails. This is one of our favorite places.
In our light-filled home you’d smell homemade bread baking, coffee, and bacon. You’d hear music–bluegrass, Americana, jazz if we’re both home; heavy metal if Susie’s gone; hip hop, country, or Baroque if Justin’s away. You’d see colorful art and gorgeous curtains and books upon books: regency romances, old sci-fi, plays and poems. And you’d cozy into soft couches, perfect for company and Sunday naps with greyhound foot warmers.
The Livestock: Lev and Samwise
We have two retired racing greyhounds. Why greyhounds are awesome: they’re large dogs who curl into tiny dog bundles for naps; they love going to the dog park but hate to run there; they love hugs with kids; they’re so gentle they’re afraid of balloons.
Samwise’s favorite things: hugs, cookies, hugging Lev, hugging people, walks, hugging his dog sitter.
Lev’s favorite things: getting more cookies than Samwise, side-eyes at Samwise, dog park, alone time, Rocket Raccoon.
What We Do and Why We Do It
Susanne’s first job was as a journalist reporting on agriculture. When Justin’s return to school took them east, she landed a job at a university writing stories about students.
That’s one part of her job. The other part involves financial administration. She loves that she learns something new each day, and that her work helps students.
Justin’s the sole pastor for a Lutheran church. In the morning he might meet flooring contractors; by noon, bring communion to a hospitalized friend; by afternoon, discuss baptism with a new mom; by night, lead a Bible study. Whew! He thinks a wicked sense of humor is a minister’s best weapon.
Our Community Near and Far
We have friends and family scattered all across the United States, but we also maintain our roots at home with our parents. One thing we’ve learned moving across the country from our families is that you find home, community, and family everywhere.
Susie’s dad is a farmer and a horseman; her mother, a gardener and teacher. Her older brother is an engineer and married with four children, ages four to eleven. Family gatherings in South Dakota are huge, with 18 first cousins on her dad’s side alone — now most with their own families and children.
Justin’s dad is a pastor; his mom, a nurse. They retired to Texas; then his dad came out of retirement to lead a church in Florida. His brother is a corporate analyst and is married with one child.
Though we are geographically separated from our families, we remain close. We text daily and talk every week on the phone–though this takes ten minutes for Susie and an hour for Justin.
On this page you’ll also see many of our friends: other pastors, Susanne’s best running buddy, a theatrical theologian. Our friends are like our books: some are weird, some smart, some religious, some irreverent–but all with big hearts and filled with interesting stories.
Thoughts About Our Faith
Susanne grew up in a household where God was first; nobody worked on Sundays; and the family ate and prayed around the dinner table.
Justin grew up the son of a pastor, in a household where God was rarely mentioned; the family worked on Sundays (because church!); they always ate dinner together but sometimes forgot to pray.
With Justin’s job as a pastor, faith is a fixture in our life. Our church is our family here in New York. But as individuals, we’ve always had different approaches to faith and spirituality, and we’d want our child to cultivate her or his own spirituality, too.
A Note About Adoption
If you choose us to be the adoptive parents to your child, we will honor your decision and trust every day. We hope our adoption plan will allow a child to understand exactly where he or she came from. We believe it is important to discuss adoption with a child from the very beginning, and we want our child to grow up feeling proud of and empowered by his or her story — which would always have you at the center and foundation. We’re comfortable with whatever level of openness you’d like, whether it be exchanging photos, phone calls, letters, or emails.
We Wish You Every Blessing
We know you’ve read our profile while facing one of the biggest decisions of your life. We want you to know that you will make a good decision, the right decision. And we’re praying for you as you ponder.
If you have additional questions for us or would like to speak to us, please contact The Adoption Alliance by calling 1-800-626-4324.
– Susanne and Justin