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Gretchen and Mark

Dear Expectant Mother,
Hi!  We are Mark and Gretchen and we want to thank you for reading our profile letter.  We understand that you are making an important decision, and we would be honored to support you through this life changing journey.  We would love to have the opportunity to get to know you.  If you choose our family, we promise that your courage, strength, and your sacrifice will never be forgotten.  Our families have taught us to always be there for each other – through thick and thin – and we’d like to be there for you, too!
Our Life Together
We met on New Year’s Eve over 10 years ago.  We were set-up by our families – and the whole group was in on getting us to meet – but they neglected to let us in on their plan.  Well, the plan sure did work!
Our families had been connected long before that night, as Mark’s brother and Gretchen’s brother were good friends since childhood.  Even though we grew up a few blocks from each other, we had never met before.  After dating for years, we were married in 2014, and everyone was thrilled to be brought together as one family.
We have decided to adopt because we both love children and feel as if we are missing a piece to our puzzle.  We have known for many years that Gretchen would not be able to carry a pregnancy, so we had always planned to build our family through adoption.
We enjoy going to the movies together, and having date nights outdoors, hiking and canoeing.  We love trying all kinds of food, and enjoy cooking together, too.  We also love attending sports events and taking vacations. We believe that opposites truly do attract. While Mark is quiet and logical, Gretchen is outgoing and passionate.  We believe that our balance makes our relationship very solid.
Meet Gretchen
I was born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and I have one older sister, one older brother, and one younger sister.  As a child, my favorite memory was playing outside with the neighborhood kids until the street lights came on. My family has many traditions, such as cooking traditional German foods and visiting relatives in Germany.  We love making elaborate family dinners together, and we’re a big sports-loving family. 
Since my parents moved to Michigan, we have enjoyed campfires in their backyard and tubing together in the winter.  My sisters, my mom, and I are known to have “laugh attacks”, where we laugh so long and hard that we end up in tears. I am proud to say that I am 10 years sober.  Through those difficult times, I had my family’s love and support.  I am open and honest about who I am and I love my family for helping me to become the person that I am today.
I have always known that I wanted to be a teacher.  My greatest passions are perfecting my Spanish skills and working with children.  When I was in college, I studied abroad in Madrid, and combined those two passions into one.  I received my teaching degree and went on to become a bilingual teacher.  I later decided to become a full time bilingual aide and tutor children in Spanish a few days a week after school. 
I work with kids whose first language is not English.  I also work with many students who have special needs.  I have taught Pre-School up to 4th grade.  I am a strong believer in teaching children more than one language from a young age, knowing it will open up so many opportunities. In summer, I continue tutoring and I also babysit for my nieces and nephews.  I love taking them to zoos, museums, farms, pools, nature preserves, and libraries.  They call our time together: Camp Gretchen!  It’s my favorite time of the year because I get to spend so much fun, quality time with family.
Meet Mark
I was also born and raised in the northwest suburbs of Chicago and I have a younger sister and a younger brother.  My dad was born in Italy and we grew up eating delicious, homemade Italian food.  My mom was well-known in our neighborhood for her fabulous chocolate chip cookies.  My favorite childhood memory is our entire family jumping in the car for a road trip last minute and deciding on a destination for a vacation.
After graduating college, I started working as a technology specialist.  I help design, install, and service audio and video systems and computer networks (basically, I’m the TV guy!).  I love overcoming a technical challenge of any kind and feel proud when a customer is delighted with my work.  On weekends, I help out at our family owned self-service car wash.  I take pride in working hard to support our family.
One of my favorite activities is spending time with my nieces and nephews.  I love taking part in their school activities.  Over the years, I have had the pleasure of attending many school performances, and as they’ve gotten older, it’s been fun to see how they’ve developed into athletes, artists, and musicians and discovered their individual passions and talents. 
Home and Community
We live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago in a charming downtown area with an amazing school district.  It’s a safe, welcoming community and we’re surrounded by friendly, helpful neighbors.  Our neighborhood has a beautiful library, shops, restaurants, and community events.  We both have family living nearby, making it easy to maintain strong family ties.  The train station is close by for easy trips into the city.  It’s the perfect area to raise a family!
Our promise to you:
We promise to love your child unconditionally and to raise him or her in a stable and safe home.  Your child will be given every opportunity to succeed in life, surrounded by our support every step of the way. Our home will be filled with lots of laughter and learning.  Our love – and your love – for this child will be front and center, and he or she will know how strong we all are together. 
We’d love to speak with you. You can reach us by email at: MarkandGretchenACFB@gmail.com or contact our adoption counselor, Tobi Ehrenpreis by texting her: 847-366-6351, calling her: 800-869-1005, or emailing her: tobi@centerforfamily.com.
With love and gratitude,
Gretchen and Mark


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