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Gabriel & Jonathan

Gabriel & Jonathan

It’s not uncommon to see Jonathan working outdoors atop a ladder with the sound of Gabriel’s oboe coming from the house. Our personalities compliment each other perfectly with Gabriel’s calming reassurance balancing Jonathan’s plan for the worst mentality. Jonathan tends to fight the storm with Gabriel calmly riding the waves.

One literal storm we weathered caught us on top of a rock formation in West Virginia with a group of friends. Jonathan saw a storm headed in our direction and got to work setting up a repel line to get people safely off the rock. While he worked frantically to organize people and gear on the ground, he looked up to see Gabriel calmly repelling with a smile on his face, enjoying the moment while the storm raged around him.

One literal storm we weathered caught us on top of a rock formation in West Virginia.

Our foster experience brought out our strengths and commitment to care for each other and a child. During the early months, we took turns sleeping on the nursery floor, so the other would be as rested as possible for work. We weren’t able to rely on people for respite due to the pandemic, so we really had to give our all to each other and the child. Throughout that time, we all felt cared for and loved by each other. Our lovely friends and family were there for support as much as they could be, dropping off supplies and necessities for the baby and meals for us during that first crucial week when we were exhausted.

our adoption hopes

Gender:A Boy
Ethnicities:Any Race and Ethnicity
Age:Newborn to 6 Months
Total of:1 Child

a snapshot of us

We Live In:Kalamazoo
Our Faith:Nonreligious
Pets:No Pets
Kids Already:No Children Now
Child Care:Family Member Child Care, Stay-at-Home Parent

Our Story

We met 13 years ago at a Big, Gay Thanksgiving gathering organized by Gabriel and a mutual friend for young people who didn’t have a home to go to or couldn’t celebrate with their families.

Gabriel was preparing most of the food, and Jonathan was dropping off dessert on the way to his own family gathering. When Gabriel answered the door and introduced himself, all Jonathan could think about was finding a reason to see him again. A baking sheet was purposely left behind to make that happen.

As we got to know each other, we found many common interests (family, nature, music, movies) and shared personal goals. Our love grew as we shared more of our lives and continued to work on self-improvement.

A marriage ceremony was held in Michigan in 2011, and we were legally married in California in 2013 though it would be another 2 years before it would be recognized here at home.

We have always found a lot of joy being around children including our 17 nieces and nephews and friends’ kids. From early on in our relationship, we talked about starting a family by our 10-year anniversary.

We had a great experience caring for a newborn through the Michigan foster system, but the temporary nature of fostering led us to Greater Hopes. We are so excited and wait with open hearts for our family to grow.

All Jonathan could think about was finding a reason to see him again.
It always feels like a treasure hunt with the thrill and excitement of finding something.

Our Relaxation & Fun

We love to attend community events, concerts, plays, Renaissance Fairs, and movies together and with friends. We also like to go on hikes and road-trip around the Midwest.

One of our favorite activities is visiting antique shops. It always feels like a treasure hunt with the thrill and excitement of finding something new and old.

We wonder and make up stories about who these items belonged to and how they ended up at the shops. Sometimes we discover the real stories are much better than we imagined.

Jonathan is an active rock-climber and will travel to southern river gorges to camp and climb in the warmer months. He also loves backpacking and canoe trips in northern Michigan.

He’s enjoyed showing Gabriel around Wisconsin, where he grew up, especially the Wisconsin Dells. Gabriel had never been to a water park before Jonathan took him to one of the largest in the nation, Noah’s Ark.

One of the first slides he went on was several stories high where you’d enter a tube with a trap door. Once the tube closed, you could hear Gabriel scream as the floor dropped from beneath him, and he sped down making a full loop before coming to a stop. We haven’t tried that slide again.

Jonathan enjoys gardening, and Gabriel is a great cook using produce from the garden for meals in the summer months and making delicious meals all year round. We like to share regular meals and movie nights at home with friends.

Jonathan enjoys baking and makes a variety of cookies and cakes around the holidays. For one of our most memorable Thanksgivings, we decided to cook a full meal to take to our dear friend who was 83 at the time and was spending the day home alone.

He has lived above his beautiful antique shop for over 50 years, and we set up his formal dining room table and chairs from the 1700’s and ate off plated that had been owned by one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, handed down through generations.

Our friend had a pair of exquisite silver candelabras well worth more than our cars that he had never used. Gabriel suggested that maybe now was a good time to finally light those candles, and he did.

Our Family & Friends

Gabriel’s family lives in Los Angeles, CA, and introduced Jonathan to many new rich traditions and meals with seasonings other than salt. We like to visit Gabriel’s family in Los Angeles once a year over Christmas and New Year.

Gabriel’s mother has taught us how to make empanadas de cajeta, one of our favorite desserts, and we always end up singing Christmas carols while Gabriel plays the piano.

For the other holidays, we tend to visit with Jonathan’s family who live in Michigan within a 30-mile radius. They’ve introduced Gabriel to typical Midwestern meat and potatoes family meals and how competitive word games and trivia can get.

Gabriel’s music and Jonathan’s rock-climbing have introduced them to friends that span the country, globe, and all age groups. We consider close friends our found family, and they are very important to us. Growing up without extended family nearby, the idea of found family has been familiar from an early age.

Our friends and found family have been a constant source of support, one that made our wedding possible. Many of our family members couldn’t participate in our ceremony, and our friends stepped into roles traditionally filled by parents.

They helped with invitations, decorations, set-up, and clean-up and made us feel completely loved and cared for on our special day.

...empanadas de cajeta, one of our favorite desserts!
We have a vegetable garden, lots of flowers in season, and a fully fenced in yard.

Our Home & Neighborhood

We live in an old neighborhood in Kalamazoo with sidewalks, a park, and lots of large trees a few blocks from a nature preserve with trails and a lake. Our neighborhood has a very eclectic mix of young couples with children and retired older couples as well as many races and ethnicities.

Our surrounding neighbors have all become friends, and we know several people throughout the neighborhood. We have a vegetable garden, lots of flowers in season, and a fully fenced in yard with a picket fence in front.

We love to take afternoon strolls with our neighbors and their dogs, enjoying the company of their families.

There’s an elementary school at the edge of the neighborhood where Jonathan’s late grandfather volunteered as a crossing guard after he retired, and where Gabriel teaches underserved students today.

We are a short drive from downtown Kalamazoo where we enjoy concerts, plays, and other local events. The Kalamazoo Promise means every child in our district has the opportunity for a full scholarship to any Michigan college.

Due to our mutual love of antiques and Jonathan’s pop art collection, our home décor is a cozy, eclectic mix. You’ll find furniture from the 1750’s and European oil paintings next to prints of Kermit the Frog or the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.

Our nursery is ready to go with bright colors, Muppet décor, and shelves full of books we can’t wait to read with our child. We also have a separate play room on our home’s second floor.

Our Views

We feel it’s important to understand the world we live in, and education and knowledge lead to a more informed and less fearful life. People learn in different ways, and we’ll find what works best for our child.

They may be drawn to a trade school rather than a university down the road, and that is fine. We plan to keep learning throughout our lives and will lead by example.

We’re fortunate to live in an area where the Kalamazoo Promise will ensure that our child will have a full scholarship to any Michigan school if they complete their K-12 education in the district.

Our belief system is the Mr. Rogers Philosophy of loving-kindness and caring for others. We feel his principles are a good foundation for every child: Be kind, give your honest self, believe in others, listening is where love begins, love people just the way they are, help others win too, and make the most of each beautiful day.

We don’t have a specific religious affiliation, though most of Gabriel’s family is Catholic, and most of Jonathan’s is Protestant.

We will teach our child to respect other cultures and religions through friendships, community events, books, movies, and music.

We believe discipline is necessary for healthy childhood development but do not believe in physical or emotional punishment for children. We will guide by example and stay on the same page as parents, so our child isn’t confused by mixed messages.

Our goal is to give our child the best start possible and put them on the path to becoming a happy, healthy adult with appropriate boundaries.

We completed the Love and Logic training on discipline and continue to seek out new techniques as they are tested and developed.

Education and knowledge lead to a more informed and less fearful life.
Audience members always come to greet me afterward with big smiles, laughter, and sometimes tears.

Gabriel's Career

I have the honor of bringing fun, joy, and pleasure into people’s lives by playing music for my work. My job as a musician never gets boring, because every day, week, and month brings something different.

I get to perform large scale works with a professional symphony orchestra that can have over 100 people sharing a stage making music together.

The very next day, I might be playing music for a class of kindergarten students or explaining what an oboe is to an assembly for the entire school. Another day, I might be giving a music lecture at a University/College or be interviewed on the radio for an upcoming concert.

My career as a musician has taken me places I might not have had the opportunity to see otherwise. I’ve given concerts and participated in workshops throughout the USA, from the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles to Carnegie Hall in New York City. I’ve performed and given lectures in South America, Europe, and China.

I consider myself to be so fortunate with my job. Audience members always come to greet me afterward with big smiles, laughter, and sometimes tears. I’m always amazed at how deeply people can be touched and become connected through music, and I get to experience that every day.

Jonathan's Career

I work as a production scheduler at FEMA Corporation in Portage, MI where I’ve been employed for 18 years. My work involves planning production schedules to meet our customer orders and allows me to interact with many departments within our company and customers around the world.

I enjoy the challenge of the job and problem solving entailed. Some days require searching out clues when numbers don’t add up and arranging schedules to fit like a puzzle.

The people in my department get along great which makes for a more enjoyable work environment. You develop quite a few friendships working someplace for this long.

The company’s focus on stable, growth-oriented jobs has kept my career steady and interesting over the years. I’m thankful for the ability to work from home during the pandemic and appreciate the company’s focus on reducing risk to employees.

Some days require searching out clues when numbers don’t add up and arranging schedules to fit like a puzzle.
We just want to say

Thank you for taking the time to learn a little about us. We would love the opportunity to get to know you and answer any questions you may have about our family and plans for the future. We hope you feel supported throughout your decision whether or not adoption becomes part of your story.

We look forward to becoming parents and providing a fun, secure environment for a child to grow up in with a variety of experiences and adventures. Our cozy home is filled with laughter, music, and great food, and we already have a children’s library in the nursery full of books to read together.

We’ll work hard to give your child a firm foundation for healthy development.

Gabriel
 and Jonathan

Gabriel

Year of Birth:  1981
Education:      Bachelor’s of Music from Oberlin Conservatory, Graduate Studies in Music at University of Washington and Colburn Conservatory
Occupation:   Professional Musician: Principal Oboe, Music Teacher
Family Background:

My immediate family lives in Los Angeles, CA. My siblings and I are the first generation to be born in the U.S. For generations before, my family has been in Mexico, and our extended family continues to live there.

My family has a very close relationship, and we’d spend the whole summer traveling in Mexico during my childhood. We made the “rounds” in an attempt to visit with all our uncles, aunts, and cousins, but there are so many that we were never successful at seeing them all in one trip.

We spoke Spanish at home, because my parents understood the importance of being bilingual and maintaining a connection to our roots and cultural heritage.

Holidays were always fun and generally involved lots of food. At Christmas we would have traditional Mexican foods: tamales, tacos, posole or menudo (a delicious and spicy soup), fried plantains, yams, Mexican hot chocolate with cinnamon, as well as some of the more American traditions of roasted turkey and mashed potatoes.

On January 6 we celebrated 3 Kings Day. We would leave our shoes out by the door and small gifts of candy or coins would be left inside them.

For Halloween, we would dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating, but we also had a traditional Mexican Day of the Dead celebration. This occurred 2 days after Halloween, and Mexican families would honor their dead ancestors by visiting tombs or putting up an alter with pictures and placing small gifts of flowers, sweet breads, or treats.

I still remember the smell of freshly baked Bread of the Dead, a sweet bread with cinnamon and spices. Our Mexican version of the tooth fairy involved placing our tooth at a window, where a little mouse would come to leave us coins.

Easter came with more food, egg hunts, and baskets of candy, but my favorite was the confetti eggs. We would sneak and crack the confetti eggs on each other’s heads for a laugh.

One year I remember being very sneaky to get a confetti egg on my dad’s head, but it turned out to be a hardboiled egg! I was little and couldn’t tell the difference so everyone burst out laughing. He eventually got there after moaning for a bit.

Jonathan

Year of Birth:  1978
Education:      Bachelor’s of Business Administration from Western Michigan University
Occupation:   Production Scheduler
Family Background:

Jonathan’s family is of European descent, originating in Germany, France, and Scotland. We gather for family meals at major holidays and birthdays with Easter egg hunts for the nieces and nephews in the spring and trivia and other games for the adults.

Family favorites at meals include mom’s homemade strawberry jam and ice cream pie. We all get together on Christmas Eve, so my siblings can spend Christmas day with their kids.

Growing up in a small town in Wisconsin, we never had much money, but my parents still made sure we had full Easter baskets which they’d hide that morning. My siblings and I each had a hand-knitted Christmas stocking my mom made, which would be full on Christmas morning.

We still have our stockings, and she has made many more over the years for the grandchildren and spouses. We’d normally travel to Michigan to visit family during Christmas, but I always wanted to be at home with our own Christmas tree and decorations.

I spend an entire day decorating our home for the holidays now to create a cozy, festive atmosphere. I have very fond memories of the Christmas Eve services at church as a child, where the only light came from candles and the large Christmas tree.

We look forward to expanding our family to include people important to you and baby, and our open adoption plan will take your wishes into consideration.

We’re good about staying closely connected through regular conversations. Facetime, and shared pictures and meals. Having you as a part of our child’s life will be important for their healthy growth and identity development.

We look forward to spending afternoons together, going on walks, going to museums, parks, birthday celebrations, and other outings.

An open relationship is ideal to us, but we understand it could be difficult for some birth parents. We will work this out together with openness and honesty.

OUR COMFORT LEVEL WITH DIFFERENT ADOPTION OPTIONS

Meeting together before placement:  
Meeting your family members:  
Exchanging phone numbers:  
Following each other on social media:  
Supporting your adoption counseling:  
Being with you for your prenatal visits:  
Discussing baby names with you:  
Shopping together for baby’s needs:  
Inviting you to see the nursery:  
Being at the hospital during delivery:  
Caring for baby when you are ready:  
Inviting you to workshops, picnics, etc.:  
Keeping you up-to-date with photos:  
Keeping in touch by written messages:  
Keeping in touch with phone calls:  
Keeping in touch with video chats:  
Getting together in person:  
Sharing your photos, gifts, etc. you send:  
Including you in some family photos:  
Introducing you to our extended family:  
Inviting you to some family events:  
LEGEND
Very Comfortable
Mostly Comfortable
Unsure
A Bit Uneasy
Not Comfortable

We look forward to expanding our family to include people important to you and baby, and our open adoption plan will take your wishes into consideration.

We’re good about staying closely connected through regular conversations. Facetime, and shared pictures and meals. Having you as a part of our child’s life will be important for their healthy growth and identity development.

We look forward to spending afternoons together, going on walks, going to museums, parks, birthday celebrations, and other outings.

An open relationship is ideal to us, but we understand it could be difficult for some birth parents. We will work this out together with openness and honesty.

Just one more thing...

We look forward to expanding our family to include people important to you and baby, and our open adoption plan will take your wishes into consideration.

We’re good about staying closely connected through regular conversations. Facetime, and shared pictures and meals. Having you as a part of our child’s life will be important for their healthy growth and identity development.

We look forward to spending afternoons together, going on walks, going to museums, parks, birthday celebrations, and other outings.

An open relationship is ideal to us, but we understand it could be difficult for some birth parents. We will work this out together with openness and honesty.

To Learn More About This Family
Call or Text: 616-451-0245
(616) 451-0245
(616) 451-0245
Greater Hopes
2453 28th Street SW
Wyoming, MI 49519