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Cathy
Dear Brave Lady,

First, I want to thank you so much for giving me a chance. I cannot begin to imagine the difficult decision you are making. It is deeply personal and emotional and I have so much respect for the tough choices that lie ahead.

This is something that only you can decide, but I sincerely appreciate the chance you are giving me to show you who I am.

Through this book, I hope you will learn more about me, my family, and the type of life that someone with my life experience will bring to the life of your child. I have a few mottos but the one I live by is simply this: Always do the right thing, even if it is hard.

With love,
Cathy

My Adoption Story

I have known for a long time that I wanted to build my family through adoption because I have a lot of love to give. I know the decision to adopt a baby being a single lady can be a bit unusual, but I have a large support system, I can work from anywhere in my job, and I believe in quality over quantity. I am not necessarily single by choice - a few years ago, my fiancé died. Since then, I decided to take a break from the dating life but NOT from working on myself, healing and moving forward. I think that my strength of character, personal drive and capacity to nurture and take care of others makes me a person who will provide your child a wonderful life and environment to grow up in. I would also be making my parents first time grandparents and they too are so excited for me to be going on this journey! In fact, my entire family will be thrilled to have a new addition that just means that your child will grow up surrounded by endless love and support.

My Promise to You

I think about my own upbringing and how it will influence my approach to parenting your child. I was raised in a southern, Christian household. My extended family is humble and unassuming, mostly farmers, teachers, or church leaders. My parents gravitated to scientific-related work (the first in their families) and that is where my interest in science came from. From them and my extended family, I learned a lot of valuable lessons about always making an effort in everything I do, having a positive attitude, being passionate about what I care about, being prepared, having a strong work ethic, and being curious about things. My sister and I were brought up in a family where we had a set of chores to take care of and I think this taught us a lot about responsibility. All of these things gave me my foundation and I believe will guide me in the way I raise your child. Even if situations are difficult, I will find a way to reach out and connect with your child. I want them to have choices. I want them to be free to explore what interests them. I want your child to have the space to be whomever they want to be. Because I did. And I would pay it forward with your child as well.

Most of all, I will always love your child unconditionally, no matter what challenges we may be faced with. And I will honor you in all that we do, making sure that your baby knows what a beautiful and selfless woman you are for making a difficult choice because you love him/her with all of your heart.

About Me

I am Cathy from New Jersey, by way of North Carolina. If you hear my friends talk about me, they will say I am a riot (not the person you run from, but the person who knows how to have a good time!). I am a southern gal living in a northern state with her mom and I am also the younger sister! I am an avid reader. I am a cellist (I have been playing since I was 4 years old) and a so-so pianist (I can pick up a tune and play by ear).

I am patient. I am compassionate. This comes out in my work as a cancer researcher. I am curious. I like puzzles and while I am usually trying to figure things out, I am also very practical. And if I can't figure it out, I don't beat myself up - I just adjust the plan.

Growing up, I played in 3 orchestras, was a gymnast and I ran track. I was very good at discus throwing - so much that I broke the farthest throw distance record twice at my high school and became 2nd in the state of North Carolina for discus throwing. Who knew, lol?! The busier I was, the better I did in school and I ended up going to college at Duke University on a partial academic scholarship.

Prior to the pandemic, I would travel quite a bit for work. I have traveled to many places all over the world for work because the fight against cancer never stops. My favorite place so far was Shanghai, China. In some ways, it is just like New York City; in other ways, it is completely different. I tend to explore a bit when I travel, and it is always interesting to me to see how other people live. I am so grateful for all of the opportunities I have had in my life.

In all seriousness, my friends would describe me as a great and loyal friend. I am the person that my friends come to talk things through, think about a course of action, or get a practical opinion about something. I am the person who checks in on others regularly. I am invested in the people around me and if you allow me to raise your child, I will bring this same love, investment and commitment to him or her as well.

My Home

Because my mom and I are both southern gals at heart, we decided a long time ago to live in the suburbs of New Jersey instead of somewhere like New York City. We live together in a single-family, three-story home that sits on a quiet tree-lined street with other older homes. Our home is a mixture of my mother's creativity (she is a retired pharmacist who loves to paint) and my desire for things to be matchy-matchy.

A typical day for us starts with coffee and conversation in our eat-in kitchen. The kitchen area has tons of pictures of our family because our ancestry and family history are important to us. We have traced our family origins back to the 1700s and it is incredibly fascinating to learn more about our family members.

So surrounded by pictures of our ancestors, my mom and I have the funniest conversations early in the morning - what we dreamed about the night before, what the day looks like, and what are we eating for our next meal! In my family, we bond over food and my mom and I have a deal - if she if she cooks, then I clean and vice versa. Mom was raised on a farm in North Carolina, so she is always making food that she calls "country-food" and she taught me everything she knows about cooking. The heart of our home is definitely in the kitchen. We worked hard to make sure our home was as welcoming as possible and all of our friends and family love gathering here for casual get-togethers and many celebrations.

Living in NJ means we are also close enough to easily get to New York City which is a great place to take in a show or concert. We also live less than 2 hours away from the shore if we want to go to the beach. Although our town is small, we are lucky to live right around the corner from a park where kids can play, people ride bikes, jog, exercise, and have picnics. It is a diverse neighborhood where many of the homes are around 100 years old and are considered historic. It is nice to see people around here taking care of their homes and modernizing them but still keeping the history. It is a safe neighborhood, and there is a community spirit that you see when we have block parties or music festivals in the park. Most importantly, the schools here are top rated and this is another reason why we chose to live here.

MY LOVED ONES

I have a huge family. On my dad's side, he has 5 siblings, and my dad's mom had 8 siblings (who all have kids too). On my mom's side of the family, she has 2 siblings, but her father had 6 siblings (who all had kids too)! So I have A LOT of cousins. Like most families, the pandemic really put a damper on our get-togethers so we started using Zoom to stay connected. This helped us to not feel like we were missing out because we were able to see each other and catch up on a regular basis. Before the pandemic, we would travel to each other’s homes for major events - we shared a lot of laughs (and food!).

I also have a large group of friends who I have known forever. One of my best friends lives in Switzerland, and we catch-up once a week via Zoom as well (and my sister joins too!). We love getting together for dinner about once a month in person and hope to get back to those traditions now that things are getting better with the pandemic. We have been known to take shopping trips to the outlet center when everyone was in town - those are fun memories!

MY FRIENDS I LOVE

We also enjoy traveling together. The last vacation we went on was to London, England (it was my first time). We had a ball because my friend from Switzerland used to live in London while she was in nursing school. There is nothing like exploring a town with a local!

My tribe of family and friends have been 100% supportive of my desire to adopt. We are very close and they have expressed their desire to also be a part of your child's life. I say you can never have too much love!

Even though my parents are divorced, we are all still very close. Growing up, I remember both my mom and dad each making me a priority. Over time, I grew to believe what they told me - that they were not divorcing their kids. Soon, I was able to adjust and build my separate relationships with them. I was able to put things in perspective. But I never will forget the lesson they taught me - despite what is going on, your child is always the priority. So I can promise you, that your child WILL be the priority in my life regardless of what is going on.

TRAVEL ADVENTURES!
HOLIDAYS & TRADITIONS

Holidays and birthdays are a big deal for us. We equally celebrate the big things and the little things. We celebrate just to say we are proud of you. We like to get together because we enjoy being around each other. During Thanksgiving, we spend the holiday with my father's family in North Carolina with the entire extended family. My mom and my stepmother are friendly too! During the Christmas holidays, we alternate travel between Louisiana and Florida. And pretty much every year, we take a photo with all of the cousins - one serious and one silly!

Closer to home, mom and I have some great traditions. Wednesdays are takeout dinner days. On Fridays or Saturdays, we eat seafood. Sunday mornings before church, we always eat fish and grits. A lot of our family time is surrounded by food and just being together.

I know that if you allow me to raise your child, he or she will also be part of these traditions, and we will create some new ones together as well. Because being together and enjoying ourselves is something that is important to me and my family, and hopefully, will become important to your child as well.

Conclusion

Dear Brave Lady,

Thank you for taking the time to get to know me. My promise to you and your child is that they will know that they are loved unconditionally and will be welcomed into my family with open arms. I will do my absolute best to provide your child with a happy home life with free-flowing affection and opportunities to explore who they are and what they would like to be. If you allow me to raise your child, they will know how your courageous choice was made because of your love for him/her. I will support them and have their back, ALWAYS.

I am here to answer any questions you may have and hope we can take this journey together.

With love,

Cathy