Our Family

Hello! My name is Joy. I need to tell you that my life is very blessed, especially with the gift of my sons. Until I was a mom, I never understood what unconditional love was; now I do. I always wanted to be a mom to a large family and that dream has started to unfold. I would call myself a loving, energetic, fun, motivated, caring and passionate person, who enjoys being independent and hopes to pass those traits onto my children.

I was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and eventually raised in a northern suburb by two wonderful parents who provided me with a home filled with love, stability and happy memories. When I was twelve, my paternal grandparents moved in with us and lived in an “apartment” addition off of our home. For many years I was surrounded by a wonderful extended family all under one roof. I learned a lot of life lessons during that time from my parents and grandparents respectively on what it means to be a good parent. I strive daily to be a good parent and provider for my children, as my parents and grandparent were before me.

In High School, I worked hard on my academics, but I was also involved in the pep band, concert band, marching band, cheerleading, softball, and helped manage the wrestling team. In college, I majored in sociology, history and art (I couldn’t make up my mind which area to tackle, so I took on all of them). In 1991, I was able to study aboard for a semester in London, England which was a fantastic opportunity. I will never forget how that experience positively challenged and changed me.

In 1993, I married my college sweetheart and was married for 5 years. Unfortunately, after a devastating loss of a baby to miscarriage and than the death of our premature infant son, my husband and I would slowly grow apart. We were approached by a friend of a friend in 1997, who was pregnant and heard of our losses. A short time later, we were in the delivery room when Ethan was born. We were overjoyed to be able to adopt him. Even after our separation, my former husband and I still co-parent Ethan together, having a very amicable relationship. Ethan’s father, step-mother, and family are a very important part of our lives even today. Ethan’s step-mother provides after school daycare for the boys if needed. Should something ever happen to me, they have agreed to become my children’s guardians.

I enjoy scrapbooking, photography, reading, and traveling. I love to spend time outside in my gardens or doing projects around the home. These activities often include the boys too. Last year we even laid laminate flooring throughout the upstairs of our house. It was a great accomplishment and I still smile every time I see it and think, “We did that!”

I have been a self-employed quality systems specialist (consultant) for over 10 years. Because of this, I am able to work part-time and yet provide us with a financially stable lifestyle. Being my own boss has wonderful perks. Not only I am able to work from home, but I have the flexibility to take time off for the children and even schedule my work around the boys’ school vacation time.

My oldest son Ethan works hard in school and plays harder in sports. Ethan amazes everyone with his athletic abilities. He loves playing baseball and started pitching last year. He also enjoys being in Cub Scouts, especially when they do Archery or BB guns. In school, Ethan loves math, gym, and playing touch football at recess. At the family cabin, he loves fishing, exploring and “rock picking.” Ethan has achieved his blue belt in Karate and is moving up the ranks quickly. He has such a positive attitude of life. I am really proud of his hard work and “don’t ever give up” attitude. Ethan is always the first one to befriend anyone who seems to need a friend, which makes me extra proud of him. He has a very strong heart and incredible spirit.

When Ethan’s birthmother had another child in 2001, I did not hesitate when asked to adopt Andrew as well. Andrew is a very sweet and busy addition to our family. He brings unbelievable joy into our life and is always smiling. His favorite activity is Karate. He has achieved his purple belt (currently ahead of his older brother and loving it). At this rate, he will be a black belt by age 10. You can tell the pride and joy he gets out of going to Karate just by watching him. You can go six days a week to Karate if you want and Andrew probably would if his ride (that would be me) would take him. At the cabin, Andrew also loves to fish and rock pick too. Andrew joined cub scouts this year and loves those adventures like his big brother. Andrew has such a wonderful attitude and always seems to look on the positive side of life. Andrew’s smile and laugh always remind me to stop and enjoy life. My heart is filled with pride as I see him grow and discover life. What an amazing kid!

I could not imagine my life without the boys…we are truly blessed.

On summer weekends, we spend a lot of time at the family cabin. We love to fish together and even found a “favorite” spot on the lake to catch rock bass (we work on a “catch and release” program). We also love to visit state parks and “rock pick” for agates or any rock that catches our eye. In the winter, we love to go sledding and build snowmen together or just snuggle in for a good movie together on the couch. We try not to let life be too busy that we forget that family is the most important part of life.

Our family would not be complete without talking about our pets. Our family dog, Titan, is the largest of our animals weighing in at almost 100 lbs. I call him a marshmallow and he is great with the kids. I also know he would be a great protector as well. We also have three cats (Kayla, Cricket, and Jack-Jack). They think they run the place and we just let them think they do. I think that pets help teach the kids how to be responsible (for their care), but our pets also teach us so much about unconditional love too.

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