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Hanan & Irina
We have wanted a child in our lives for what seems like eternity. Each subsequent disappointment has served as a stepping stone to our ultimate purpose: to adopt a baby whom we will love as our own. The struggles we faced have only strengthened our bond with each other and our families. Undoubtedly there will be other challenges, but one thing is certain; our child will be loved with every fiber of our beings.
Our Favorite Vacation Spot
Every year we travel to Israel to visit our families. While Hanan was born and raised in Israel, Irina also has quite a bit of family there. Her grandmother, uncle and cousins live there, immigrating from Russia around the same time we immigrated to the States. Usually we take 1-2 weeks to travel around and visit everyone. Our families are sprawled across the country, including Jerusalem and the Golan, so it's never boring. We usually try to plan our trip around major family celebrations so we can participate in the festivities (and oh, what festivities!)
When we're not flying off to Israel, hiking in the mountains has always been our favorite vacation. We went hiking in Yosemite for our honeymoon and have been back a few times since then. We always manage to have the most beautiful adventures on these trips, and cannot wait to strap our little one to our chest while we scale the mountains together as a family.
More recently we have also started to enjoy the white sands and crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. A beautiful beach vacation is not to be underestimated! We definitely try to get to the beach at least once per year - it's good for the soul.
Qualities We Love, Admire and Respect in Each Other
Irina About Hanan: Hanan thrives on social interaction and is brilliant at bringing people together. His philosophy is "there's always room for one more." He is a planner and very organized, which is why he balances Irina perfectly! It is also how we end up hosting the majority of family get togethers at our house. Aside from this, Hanan has a natural sense of curiosity about the world and the people in it – as soon as a question pops into his mind, he'll set out reading about that topic. He's charismatic, funny, and thinks outside the box – a true role model for any child.
Hanan About Irina: Irina is one of the most patient people you will find. She is gentle and soft-spoken and can always find a common tongue with any child. She is an amazing listener and will sympathize with you all day; that is, despite her being able to see the other side of every story. She is naturally nurturing which was what fueled her into her medical career initially from an early age. Irina wanted to be a doctor ever since she realized being a ballerina was unrealistic!
Our Professional Lives
Irina is an eye surgeon. She is passionate about her work and has completed many years of training to get to this point. There is nothing more gratifying than restoring a person's sight. Irina plans to instill in our child the meaning of hard work, dedication, and sense of purpose.
Hanan is a self-made man. He moved to the States when he was 25 to work for his friend's perfume store. After learning everything there is to know about the market he went on to open his own business and has built a chain retail stores all over Ohio. He is now working on manufacturing his own line of perfume and cologne.
We have both worked very hard in our professional lives and aspire to be greater every day. That being said, both of us share a very keen sense of work-life balance. While Hanan's schedule is probably most flexible, we both know how to "unplug" and focus on each other at the end of a long day.
Our House and Neighborhood
We live in a suburban single family house in Ohio. Our neighborhood sometimes reminds us of "Pleasantville," with white picket fences and green manicured lawns. We've become friends with many of the families that live around us, having each other for dinner, and walking our dogs together in the evenings. We see some of our neighbors on a weekly basis at our neighborhood synagogue, which cultivates an amazing sense of community. Every summer we look forward to the "block party," which is a giant pot-luck and a time to get reacquainted after the winter. Our favorite part of living here is how safe we feel in the neighborhood. In the summers, we see kids riding their bikes to the community pool and to get pizza. There are sidewalks that connect the entire town, so in the summer we often walk to the center, "downtown," to get dinner and walk back.
We've really been blessed to find our home, which we purchased with the intention of filling it with children. It is a large house with four bedrooms upstairs, a sprawling open floor plan, and a backyard with a deck where we spend our summers. It caught our eye because of how sunny it was inside, with a whole wall of windows in the kitchen and family room. Our favorite thing to do on a weekend morning is drink coffee and read in the bright kitchen. In the summer we sit with our coffee on the deck.
Our Extended Families
Irina's extended family is very close and consists of her parents and older brother, who has always been her best friend. He has his own family and three unbelievably adorable children, with whom we spend the majority of our holidays. Irina's parents live in a neighboring city in Ohio approximately an hour and half away, but that doesn't stop her mom from cooking soup and driving it over for us to enjoy during the week! Irina's parents often drive up for the weekend; we go out to restaurants, watch movies, and simply hang out.
Hanan and his five siblings were raised in a large vivacious Israeli family that was always finding occasions to celebrate - someone's wedding, birth of a baby, a cousin's bar-mitzvah. Between his brothers and sisters he has 24 nieces and nephews. When Irina first met them in Israel shortly after we became engaged, she instantaneously felt part of the family, immersing herself in endless jokes, laughter, celebrations, and lots of barbecues! We now go at least once a year for a couple weeks to Israel and Hanan's mom stays with us for a month every year during the Jewish high holidays. She cooks piles of yummy Moroccan food; needless to say our house fills up quickly with guests!
From Us to You
The courage and selflessness involved in even considering adoption is overwhelming; we cannot imagine what kind of emotion is flowing through you at this very moment. We have, and always will have, the utmost respect for you and the difficult choice you are making out of pure love for your baby and the desire to give him or her a stable, comfortable life. You will forever remain on a pedestal in our eyes and the eyes of your child because you took this leap of faith and put your baby's best interest before your own. Not many - in fact, very few - can say the same about their own decisions.
Irina was born in a small town in Belarus, a country which was at that time part of the Soviet Union, or as some like to call it Russia. She immigrated to Ohio with her family when she was just 5 years old. She was raised with her grandparents playing a huge role in her upbringing, as her parents forged ahead to get jobs and learn the language in a country that was not yet their own.
Hanan was born in a small city in northern Israel, also a child of immigrant parents who had come to Israel from Morocco. Akin to the melting pot of America, Israel is considered a melting pot of the world's Jews. While the customs and foods in his own family resemble the traditions of Moroccan Jews, Hanan was exposed to cultures from all over the world growing up.
We have been married for six years, and we can't remember a time when we weren't trying to have children. It was always such a given that we would one day have kids; it never occurred to either one of us that difficulties could arise and that it would not be in our cards to have a biological child of our own. The most recent miscarriage was by far the hardest - we were forced to not only grieve the loss of another baby, but also the complications from a 2nd trimester miscarriage. It took us two years to finally recover both physically and emotionally, but that experience only brought us closer together and more determined to become parents. To say that we live for the silver lining of our cloud would be an understatement. We turned devastation into a means to strengthen our own marriage and relationship. We forced ourselves to communicate better, love harder, and hope again.
And you, dear birth parent, are the embodiment of that hope. We have longed for parenthood for so long and it is your gift to give - both to your unborn child and to us. We already have so much love in our hearts for our future child. While we both are very happy in our relationship and our lives, there's a palpable piece missing. We have scaled many physical and metaphorical mountains in hopes of bringing that missing piece - our child ?" into our lives. Every family celebration, Jewish holiday, hike in the park, beach vacation, Friday night Sabbath meal, we are yearning to share with our child. We vow to unconditionally love this child with every fiber of our beings and provide all that we are able to, both emotionally and materialistically. We promise our child will be raised with a keen awareness of where he or she came from - he will know about the courage and love his birth mom exemplified. We will remain in touch with pictures and letters for as long as you would like to be a part of our lives. These will serve as a testimony to your birth child's happiness but also a permanent validation for the pivotal choice you are preparing to make.
We cannot wait to meet the beautiful little human you have created.
Much love always,
Hanan & Irina
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