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Ben & Katie

Ben & Katie

One of the things that we love to do is have people over. Each year we host a Christmas brunch for our friends and their kids.

We have Christmas music playing, the house decorated, and a fire in the fireplace. Adults and kids are spread out through our living room, dining room and kitchen and we have brunch together.

We provide coffee, a couple breakfast casseroles, and baked french toast and others bring other treats to share.

We have a kids table set up and after eating, the older kids go to our playroom and play while the younger kids color at the kids table and the adults talk and laugh together.

This tradition highlights our love for celebration and having people over.

We love this time of celebration and laughter amidst the business of the holiday season. We work together to prepare everything, host, and make sure everyone is enjoying themselves and that the kids have things to do.

This tradition highlights our love for celebration and having people over, our joy in spending time with both our friends and their kids and how we work well together.

our adoption hopes

Gender:Any Gender, including an Ambiguous or Transitioning Gender Child
Ethnicities:Any Race and Ethnicity
Age:Newborn to 3 Years Old
Total of:1 to 2 Children

a snapshot of us

We Live In:Grand Rapids
Our Faith:Christian
Pets:No Pets
Kids Already:No Children Now
Child Care:Family Member Child Care, 

Our Story

We were set up on a blind date by my some mutual friends, had our first date at a local brewery and immediately connected. We had great, easy conversation, laughed a lot, and had a similar way of looking at life.

Ben said to a friend later that night that we’d be married in a year. We were married exactly a year and a half later on October 26, 2012.

We love being married. We love to run errands together, have people over, watch shows, travel (even if it’s just a day trip), cook together, spend time with family, go to the beach, laugh and relax.

We communicate well as a couple, working through disagreements with lots of understanding of the other. We’ve been through a lot as a couple, losing a child a few years ago through a stillbirth when Katie was 20 weeks pregnant. During this time, we became even closer and supported and cared for each other well.

Ben said to a friend later that night that we’d be married in a year.
We love to relax on the beach and play in the water.

Our Relaxation & Fun

For relaxation, we like to be in our cozy home and go out with friends. In the winter we enjoy being near our fireplace watching TV, reading books, having our friends and family over for meals, or going out with friends.

We like to go for walks and Ben runs in the summer. Both of our families have cottages up north near Lake Michigan and in the summer, we spend a lot of weekends on Lake Michigan. We love to relax on the beach and play in the water. We love to kayak and paddle board.

These are places of relaxation for both of us. We also like to travel, camp, and go to movies and concerts with our families and friends.

Our Family & Friends

We love our family, our friends and their children. We love hanging out and will often host our friends and family or go to their houses. We spend a lot of time with both of our families.

Most Sunday afternoons are spent relaxing with Ben’s family either up at the cottage or at our home. In the winter we love to sit by the fireplace and play board games or watch movies.

We also like to vacation together going camping or staying at a beach house down south. We are intentional about being involved in the lives of Ben’s two nephews often having them sleep over or attend whatever event they have going on.

Katie comes from a large family. She has 6 siblings–3 adopted and 3 biological. All but two of her siblings are married and she has two nephews (3 and 2 years old) and a niece (born in December 2019), we love spending time with all of them.

Every summer Katie’s parents organize “family Olympics”, a day filled with simple games like corn hole, water balloon toss, and other fun and silly competitions.

We like to spend time with Katie’s sister and her husband who live in Ann Arbor. We make regular trips to Ann Arbor to visit them and spend time in Detroit with them and go to at least a couple Detroit Pistons games each year.

We spend a lot of time with our friends and they are a huge source of joy and support. We love to have meals with them, play games, babysit for their kids, vacation and camp together, and love to celebrate together–birthdays, new homes, baptisms, and new babies.

We are very close with our friends and rely on each other for care, support, advice, and love living life with them.

Every summer Katie’s parents organize “family Olympics”, a day filled with simple games like corn hole, water balloon toss, and other fun and silly competitions.
There is lots of room in our home for kids to play.

Our Home & Neighborhood

We moved into our current home near Martin Luther King Park in 2017. Since then we have fallen in love with the neighborhood.

Ben loves to run through the neighborhood and both Ben and Katie love taking walks during the spring, summer, and fall. We love going to the parks and restaurants around us.

There is lots of room in our home for kids to play. We’ve intentionally created spaces in our home for kids. These spaces get used often by our friends’ kids and our nephews. We love it and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Our Views

In disciplining a child, we believe in unconditional love because this is what we’ve experienced from our own parents.

Natural consequences are best. We believe that kids are going to naturally make mistakes and poor choices from time to time. And we believe it is the role of the parent to lead and guide them to learn from those mistakes.

As children grow, the consequences will change but they will remain consistent. More importantly, we want to recognize the good and potential in every child and foster and encourage that through praise, encouragement, and patience.

Faith plays a large role in our lives. We both grew up in Christian homes and our church community is important to us. We try to live in a way that reflects the love and grace we’ve experienced through God and through our friends, family, and community.

We attend Sherman Street Christian Reformed Church and have been involved with various things in church included helping with vacation Bible school and nursery, leading a group for LGBT+ people and their families, helping to organize a sexuality series, being part of a pastoral search, a pastoral support team, and being members of a small group.

We rely on our church community for support and try to support those in our church when they are struggling. Our faith compels us to love others in tangible, practical ways and it compels us to work towards justice through systemic change and questioning the status quo.

We do this in our church life, but it also permeates into all other areas of our lives including work, home, the organizations we are involved with, and our family life.

In considering education for a child, we recognize that every child learns differently. We will work to understand the best ways our child learns and to find a school that will fit his or her needs as well as additional services as needed.

We live near both public and private schools and are open to traditional education or more self-directed learning through things like Montessori schools.

Our faith compels us to love others in tangible, practical ways.
Hearing the stories of success and the impact we are having in families and children's lives is amazing.

Ben's Career

I am the Director of Family Preservation Services at D.A. Blodgett St. John’s (DABSJ). I’ve worked at DABSJ for almost 13 years in a variety of roles. I’ve provided family and individual therapy for children who have experienced trauma, depression and anxiety, among other things.

Over time I moved on to more administrative roles and found that I enjoy management. I now oversee a division that supports children and families through mentoring, therapy and case management services.

Each day brings something different but hearing the stories of success and the impact we are having in families and children’s lives is amazing.

I plan to take at last 2 weeks off of work and after that will have some flexibility in my schedule to be at home more. I will be very involved in child care.

Katie and I have already discussed rotating feeding and changing throughout the night. Katie and I tend to be very egalitarian in our roles and our plan for child care will be no different.

Katie's Career

I completed my Master’s degree in Social Work through Western Michigan in June of 2019. In my last year of grad-school, I interned at Calvin College’s counseling center and enjoyed working with college students as a therapist. I look forward to utilizing the knowledge and clinical skills learned at Calvin.

I currently work at Inner City Christian Federation as the Volunteer and Stewardship Coordinator and get to work with lots of great individuals and groups. I love my work and the mission of ICCF which is to provide, safe, affordable, beautiful housing for all families and individuals.

I plan to take off 3 months of work for maternity leave and then hope to go down to part-time work.

As Ben said, while I will likely be at home more, we plan to share parenting and child care work. We also have family members (my mom and Ben’s sister) who will likely provide part-time childcare on a weekly basis.

I love my work and the mission of ICCF which is to provide, safe, affordable, beautiful housing for all families and individuals.
We just want to say

We want to thank you for considering adoption and for taking the time to look at our profile. We are in awe of your strength, courage and the selfless love you have for your child.

We have been considering adoption for some time but made the decision to pursue adoption through Greater Hopes in 2019. Katie’s parents adopted three of her siblings 10 years ago and it has been an amazing gift, making her family complete. We are hopeful and excited to have the opportunity to grow our family in this way.

We hope for peace and strength for you during this time and if you think we might fit into your adoption plan, we look forward to connecting. Thank you!

Ben
 and Katie

Ben

Year of Birth:  1981
Education:      Master’s of Social Work
Occupation:   Director of Family Preservation Services
Family Background:

My family came from the Netherlands 4 or 5 generations ago, so yeah, we’re Dutch. For me this means working against some stereotypes like being cheap! In terms of Dutch traditions, we don’t participate in many these days but I certainly enjoy the Banket my sister occasionally makes around Christmas time.

For my family growing up, some of our annual traditions were things like cutting down our Christmas tree the Saturday after Thanksgiving with a group of families or camping at Holland State Park over the 4th of July with close family friends. After my brother passed away, we would get together with his close friends on the anniversary of his death to share good memories, eat good food and drink good drinks. Now that my mom has passed away, we are working to create new traditions in the same vein.

But there are other traditions that were more ingrained in our life, like eating together every night or going to church twice on Sundays (now it’s just once!). A favorite as young kids was that on Saturdays we would eat homemade pizza and get to watch TV while we ate–“Greatest American Hero” was a favorite.

As we hope to add a child to our family, Katie and I work to create our own traditions. Recently we’ve begun to have breakfast for dinner every Friday. So many family traditions have created fond memories of my childhood and we can’t wait to do the same with a child of our own!

Katie

Year of Birth:  1984
Education:      Master’s of Social Work
Occupation:   Volunteer & Stewardship Coordinator
Family Background:

Like Ben, I am also ethnically Dutch. My family immigrated from the Netherlands 4-5 generations ago and so there are now very few Dutch traditions or cultural practices we follow (except for a couple of baked goods that my grandma makes at Christmas). However, one hidden cultural norm that I try to work against is the norm of avoiding conflict. I try to be aware of this norm and try to instead bring things up when it bothers me, work through it, and then move on.

In my family of origin, spending time together was an important–both with my immediate and extended family. We would often get together with extended family once a month or so to celebrate birthdays or holidays. In my immediate family, we had dinner together almost every night and hospitality was also an important value, so we would often have people over for dinner or for Sunday lunch. Mealtime was always hugely important growing up and was a way to connect as a family and to welcome others.

A favorite annual tradition was that each summer growing up, we would rent a cottage on Lake Michigan up north for two weeks and throughout the two weeks, extended family and family friends would come up to visit and spend time with us. During these two weeks each summer, we would go out for ice cream regularly, spend time playing in Lake Michigan, do lots of arts and craft activities, play card and board games, go hunting for frogs, have fires and roast marshmallows, and go for day trips to see different sites up north. It was one of my favorite traditions growing up and we hope to do something similar when we have kids.

We would like to have an open relationship with you. We believe that having you as part of the child’s life growing up would be a gift to the child and an important part of their identity formation. We imagine doing things like celebrating birthdays together, getting together for meals, having play dates, or whatever else you are open to.

We would also imagine this would mean ongoing communication–sharing pictures, texts, and phone calls regularly. We are very flexible about the particulars of what this would look, based on your hopes and expectations–how often we see each other, what types of things we do together, and expectations regarding communication.

The most important thing to us would be that the child will have some sort of positive relationship with you and that communication is open and honest between us and you.

However, while an open relationship would be our ideal, we recognize that for some birth parents, it could be hard or painful to have an open relationship with their birth son or daughter. Each adoption situation is unique and we feel it’s important to navigate this together, openly and honestly.

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 would like to have an open relationship with you. We believe that having you as part of the child’s life growing up would be a gift to the child and an important part of their identity formation. We imagine doing things like celebrating birthdays together, getting together for meals, having play dates, or whatever else you are open to.

We would also imagine this would mean ongoing communication–sharing pictures, texts, and phone calls regularly. We are very flexible about the particulars of what this would look, based on your hopes and expectations–how often we see each other, what types of things we do together, and expectations regarding communication.

The most important thing to us would be that the child will have some sort of positive relationship with you and that communication is open and honest between us and you.

However, while an open relationship would be our ideal, we recognize that for some birth parents, it could be hard or painful to have an open relationship with their birth son or daughter. Each adoption situation is unique and we feel it’s important to navigate this together, openly and honestly.

Just one more thing...

We would like to have an open relationship with you. We believe that having you as part of the child’s life growing up would be a gift to the child and an important part of their identity formation. We imagine doing things like celebrating birthdays together, getting together for meals, having play dates, or whatever else you are open to.

We would also imagine this would mean ongoing communication–sharing pictures, texts, and phone calls regularly. We are very flexible about the particulars of what this would look, based on your hopes and expectations–how often we see each other, what types of things we do together, and expectations regarding communication.

The most important thing to us would be that the child will have some sort of positive relationship with you and that communication is open and honest between us and you.

However, while an open relationship would be our ideal, we recognize that for some birth parents, it could be hard or painful to have an open relationship with their birth son or daughter. Each adoption situation is unique and we feel it’s important to navigate this together, openly and honestly.

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