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Shelby & Kendall

Shelby & Kendall

“Found the tomatoes!” Shelby says dropping the plastic carton in the cart. It’s a Saturday afternoon and we’re doing our weekend grocery run. “What’s next?” I glance down at the shopping list. “Bok choy. Where would that be?” We scan the produce section of the store and I notice a young man with curly hair by the crate of lemons.

I nudge Shelby and nod towards him. “Sixty percent Joel.” He follows my gaze and a big grin spreads across his face. “Nice!” The Sixty Percent Game is a running challenge in our house. The goal is to identify someone in a public setting that resembles a person we know. They don’t need to be a dead ringer; just a moderate (60%) match.

And, hey! She’s right by the bok choy!

Now it’s Shelby’s turn. He surveys the store and zeroes in on a lady to our left. “Okay, okay – sixty percent Aunt Claudia.” I turn, spot a stylish lady with blonde hair over by the wall of produce, and chuckle. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought my aunt was paying us a surprise visit. Shelby looks a bit closer at the leafy greens behind her.

“And, hey! She’s right by the bok choy!” We both laugh and make our way over to the vegetables. It’s just another weekend chore we’re checking off the household to-do list, but when we tackle them together, even the most ordinary activities — life’s simple little moments — become precious.

Our Story

We met at college while acting in a play. Shelby — always up for a challenge — stepped in at the last minute when a family emergency called a cast member away the week of the show. Shelby jokes that he noticed Kendall backstage in her costume (a wedding dress) and thought, “Dang, that girl looks good in white!”

After, Shelby took a job at the campus café where Kendall worked and “just so happened” to work the same shift she did. One thing’s for sure: if we could find love over a sink of grimy dishes, we can find the joy in just about anything!

It may sound cheesy, but from the very beginning, we both felt there was something special about our friendship. It felt like we had known each other our whole lives. Seven years later we are still each other’s best friend and you bet we still do the dishes together.

Shelby — always up for a challenge — stepped in at the last minute...
You’ll likely find us cooking together in the kitchen while listening to a podcast or belting out our favorite songs.

Our Relaxation & Fun

When off-the-clock, you’ll likely find us cooking together in the kitchen while listening to a podcast or belting out our favorite songs. Shelby’s the innovative, resourceful chef who loves to experiment. Kendall’s the methodical cook who takes the extra minute to make sure the veggies are diced evenly and sets a timer so the rolls in the oven don’t burn. Between the two of us, we always find a way to personalize a recipe and make a great dish our own!

We also love making music together. Kendall plays the guitar, piano, and ukulele. We both love to sing. Kendall hopes to teach our child to play the piano one day. Other hobbies include hiking — our goal is to visit one National Park a year — reading (our bookshelves are practically overflowing), painting, board games, volunteering at our church, and playing with our sweet little pup, Holly.

Holly is less than 10 pounds fully-grown, hypoallergenic, and just the most loving little companion. She grew up around infants and toddlers, so she’s absolutely fabulous around kids.

our adoption hopes

Gender: A Boy or A Girl

Ethnicities: Any Race and Ethnicity

Age: Newborn to 2 Years Old

Total of: 1 to 3 Children

a snapshot
of us

We Live In: Georgetown Township

Our Faith: Catholic

Pets: Dog(s)

Kids Already: No Children Now

Child Care Plan: Stay-at-Home Parent  

Our Family & Friends

Family is the most meaningful thing in our lives; that’s why we’re so excited to grow our own! We see our families often through the year. Kendall’s family lives in Michigan and Shelby’s family is from Ohio and Indiana. We’re close with our siblings and cousins, and get-togethers involve lots of laughter and lively discussions.

A few of Shelby’s cousins (and some of our friends) are adopted, and we’ve really valued listening to their perspectives on their adoption experiences. Our parents don’t have any grandchildren yet and they’ve been extremely supportive of our choice to adopt. They can’t wait to embrace their future grandchild with open arms and open hearts.

We have many wonderful friends here in West Michigan, most who have infants and toddlers of their own. We love having them over for dinners, game nights, or Sunday brunches. We also have two godchildren under the age of two who we see quite often. We treasure each opportunity to play with them, make them belly-laugh, and read them stories.

A few of Shelby’s cousins (and some of our friends) are adopted, and we’ve really valued listening to their perspectives on their adoption experiences.
We live next door to a preschool with a large playground and down the street from our local library.

Our Home & Neighborhood

Our home is over 100 years old and full of charm, warmth, and character! We have a good-sized, fenced backyard and Kendall’s dad (always the handyman) can’t wait to turn our conventional playset into the castle, pirate ship, or playhouse of his grandchild’s dreams.

We live next door to a preschool with a large playground and down the street from our local library. The proximity of schools, parks, and churches has drawn many families to the vicinity, including our good friends and their little boy who live right down the road.

We love Hudsonville because we’re not far from the excitement of Grand Rapids but just a short 20-minute drive to Lake Michigan. It’s the perfect in-between for our family! Hudsonville like much of West Michigan is historically Dutch but has become increasingly diverse as the excellent schools and family-friendly community draws people in.

Our Thoughts On...

Education

We greatly value education — and not just in terms of formal schooling. We’re passionate about awakening our child’s sense of wonder and curiosity from a young age! We believe fostering a child’s love of exploration and learning leads to their long-term fulfillment, whether they pursue a formal career, trade, or serve their community in another capacity.

We hope to model this passion and curiosity for our little one since we never intend to stop learning ourselves! We believe stories are hugely important in shaping a child’s moral and social values, helping them better understand their world, and awakening their imagination. Kendall’s mom often piled the kids on their bed to read stories before bedtime, and it’s one of her favorite childhood memories.

We can’t wait to share some of our most cherished childhood stories with our child, like The Wind in the Willows, Winnie the Pooh, and The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

Correction & Discipline

We believe effective discipline must be loving yet firm. Children thrive in a dependable environment, and defined behavioral boundaries give them the clarity and confidence to safely explore their growing world. We think positive reinforcement, playfulness, and warm interactions are crucial for bonding and play a big role in encouraging good behavior.

We plan to implement Dr. Thomas Phelan’s disciplinary strategies outlined in 1-2-3 Magic. We like his approach for a few reasons: 1) it’s non-corporal — aka, no spankings — 2) it integrates the way kids’ brains develop at different ages 3) it associates a child’s choices with consequences, whether those consequences are good or bad 4) it teaches parents how they must act while disciplining for the most effective and constructive results.

As hopeful parents, we recognize that no child or parent is perfect, but we are resolved to model grace, mercy, and forgiveness for our child to the best of our ability!

Our Faith Views

We are Catholic Christians. Our faith plays a central role in the values we live by and the people we strive to be. It has taught us the importance of recognizing the inherent dignity of each person, what it means to love unconditionally, and the value of forgiveness. It’s also given us a heart for service and a desire to help those in need.

Our faith has grounded us during some of the most difficult times in our life; family cancer diagnoses, the deaths of loved ones, and our own struggles with infertility. We do have close friends and family members of other Christian backgrounds and family members with no religious affiliation whom we love and deeply respect.

It has taught us the importance of recognizing the inherent dignity of each person and what it means to love unconditionally.
I recently learned to play a song on the recorder to keep my coworkers laughing during a team meeting!

Shelby's Career

I work as a senior actuarial analyst for a health insurance company. An actuary is kind of like being a “future accountant”. I use data and financial theories to analyze risks and make financial recommendations. Basically… it’s a lot of math. I love my job because it’s challenging, encourages me to keep learning, and provides a great deal of financial stability for our family.

I also value the leadership opportunities it gives me. During Covid, we’ve had to get pretty creative with employee engagement activities to keep our remote team connect from afar. I recently learned to play a song on the recorder to keep my coworkers laughing during a team meeting!

My employer gives me 6 weeks of paid paternity leave (with the option of up to 6 more weeks FMLA) once a placement occurs so we can bond with the baby. Afterwards, I’ll return to full-time employment.

Kendall's Career

I work as an administrative assistant for the Diocese of Grand Rapids Catholic Cemeteries. The idea of working at a cemetery may raise some eyebrows — mine included when I saw the initial job posting — but it’s been extremely rewarding. I love that I can devote my time to serving others and that my role is more of a ministry than a job.

Having gone through challenging times in my own life, it’s deeply fulfilling to help families navigate tough times of their own and guide them through the practicalities so they can focus on what matters most.

Once a placement occurs, I plan to be home full-time with our child.

I love that I can devote my time to serving others and that my role is more of a ministry than a job.

Shelby

Year of Birth: 1994
Education: Bachelor’s in History and in Latin
Occupation: Senior Actuarial Analyst
Family Background:

My family is predominantly German and French, with some Scottish and Jewish ancestry. We’re always ready for a challenge, whether it’s a family board game or something more cooperative like a puzzle. Our ultimate collaboration is to prepare family-style meals together. Some of our favorites include making a “mess” of chicken wings or Coney Island style hot dogs using a special coney sauce recipe passed down from my grandparents.

Kendall

Year of Birth: 1994
Education: Bachelor’s in History with minors in Classical Education and Spanish
Occupation: Administrative Assistant
Family Background:

My family is mostly Italian and Slovak, but we also have some German and English roots. We believe you don’t have to be blood to be family, and we love bringing friends and loved ones into our traditions. The more the merrier! We love to gather for good food and good music, and our summer bonfires are legendary. We constantly pass the guitar around the fire singing everything from oldies and classic rock to folk tunes. Other traditions include yearly trips to Frankenmuth around Christmas and a gingerbread house decorating contest.

We just want to say

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for taking the time to look at our profile! We are truly so sorry that you find yourself in the midst of such a difficult situation! No matter what you choose for yourself and your child, we think you are an incredibly courageous and loving mom. If you think we may be a good fit for you and your precious little one, we would be humbled and grateful for the opportunity to meet you.

If you decide you’d like to continue your adoption journey together, we want you to know that you will always be your child’s first parent. That you will hold a place of love, honor, and respect in our hearts and in our home. Together with your child, we will pray for you often and by name.

If you are open to it, we would love for you to continue to play a special role in your child’s life and in our family. We believe there can never be too many people in a child’s world to love them, encourage them, and help them understand the beauty of their unique story. We believe in approaching open adoption with open minds, open arms, and open hearts.

All the best and with all our love,

Shelby
 and Kendall
Completed Educational Sessions
  • Behavioral and Emotional Needs of Adoptive Children
  • Child Separation, Attachment, and Bonding

Our hope is to build a lifelong relationship of trust with you. We believe you are an essential part of your child’s story and, if you are open to it, we would love for you to continue to play an important role in their world and in our family! If you live nearby, we envision having you over for dinner or joining us for fun family outings like a beach day or visit to the zoo.

If you live further away, we’d welcome setting up times to talk to your child on the phone, facetime them, or visit. We would love for you to join us for your child’s baptism, recitals, soccer games, birthday parties, graduations, or other milestones in their life. As we said before, there can never be too many people in a child’s life to love and encourage them, and we want our child to grow up loving every part of their one-of-a-kind story, including you and your loved ones.

That being said, we are sensitive to the fact that comfort levels may not be the same or could change over time. We are 100% committed to respecting any boundaries you feel you need. And, no matter what your comfort levels may be, we want you to know that we will always strive communicate in a spirit of openness, honesty, and kindness as our relationship evolves. Whether that means interacting often or encouraging you from afar, we truly want to support you at every step of your journey!

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

Our hope is to build a lifelong relationship of trust with you. We believe you are an essential part of your child’s story and, if you are open to it, we would love for you to continue to play an important role in their world and in our family! If you live nearby, we envision having you over for dinner or joining us for fun family outings like a beach day or visit to the zoo.

If you live further away, we’d welcome setting up times to talk to your child on the phone, facetime them, or visit. We would love for you to join us for your child’s baptism, recitals, soccer games, birthday parties, graduations, or other milestones in their life. As we said before, there can never be too many people in a child’s life to love and encourage them, and we want our child to grow up loving every part of their one-of-a-kind story, including you and your loved ones.

That being said, we are sensitive to the fact that comfort levels may not be the same or could change over time. We are 100% committed to respecting any boundaries you feel you need. And, no matter what your comfort levels may be, we want you to know that we will always strive communicate in a spirit of openness, honesty, and kindness as our relationship evolves. Whether that means interacting often or encouraging you from afar, we truly want to support you at every step of your journey!

Just one more thing...

Our hope is to build a lifelong relationship of trust with you. We believe you are an essential part of your child’s story and, if you are open to it, we would love for you to continue to play an important role in their world and in our family! If you live nearby, we envision having you over for dinner or joining us for fun family outings like a beach day or visit to the zoo.

If you live further away, we’d welcome setting up times to talk to your child on the phone, facetime them, or visit. We would love for you to join us for your child’s baptism, recitals, soccer games, birthday parties, graduations, or other milestones in their life. As we said before, there can never be too many people in a child’s life to love and encourage them, and we want our child to grow up loving every part of their one-of-a-kind story, including you and your loved ones.

That being said, we are sensitive to the fact that comfort levels may not be the same or could change over time. We are 100% committed to respecting any boundaries you feel you need. And, no matter what your comfort levels may be, we want you to know that we will always strive communicate in a spirit of openness, honesty, and kindness as our relationship evolves. Whether that means interacting often or encouraging you from afar, we truly want to support you at every step of your journey!

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