Gladney Center for Adoption

6300 John Ryan Drive Fort Worth, TX 76132.

817-922-6000
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Stephen + Samantha

Hi! We are Stephen and Samantha! We are so excited to welcome a baby to our family! Our hearts and home are ready to love, care for, and raise a child.

Our Story

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Our story begins in 2017, when one of Samantha's high school athletes kept pestering her about needing to jump into the dating pool. She reluctantly agreed to create a profile on an online dating app, and the rest is history. We "matched" on the app and quickly started to get to know each other through conversation. Stephen knew things were headed in the right direction when Samantha agreed to a date. Our first date consisted of dinner and a college basketball game. We were both looking for something serious, so early in our relationship we talked through all the big topics--our faith, our desire for children, our goals in life.

A mere four months after meeting, we were already touring wedding venues and looking at rings. As they say "when you know, you know." And we both knew. Six months after we met, with the unconditional support of our friends and families, we were engaged. On a beautiful April evening, surrounded by loved ones in a rural setting in North Texas, we tied the knot. For our honeymoon, we went on a cruise through the Mediterranean. In addition to the typical honeymoon rest and relaxation, we had the opportunity to visit many biblical sites, such as Jerusalem, Galilee, and Bethlehem, allowing us to grow in our faith together as a couple. Every day together is a new adventure, and we hope that one day you may be part of that adventure.

Our Why

We have always dreamed of having a family and being parents. As with most couples, we logically assumed that this would mean pregnancy and the birth of a child. However, after a long period of trying to conceive naturally, we started to seriously discuss other options.

Adoption was something we talked about early on in our relationship as a way to grow our family. We assumed this would mean adopting children after having biological children. However, as is often the case, our plan and God's plan didn't align. This required prayer, but through meaningful engagement with Him, we realized that this is what God has called us to all along. We are so excited to answer His call.

As we opened up to more and more people about our adoption plans, we began to realize how many people have been touched by adoption. It seemed like everyone we would tell about our adoption plans were either affected by adoption themselves or had a close friend or family member that was. Hearing their testimony was incredibly helpful and solidified our desire to be adoptive parents to a beautiful child.

Meet Stephen

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I grew up in Oklahoma and Texas, but have also lived in Arizona, New Mexico, Iowa, Indiana, and Kansas. Growing up I was involved in sports (basketball, soccer, baseball, and football), piano, scouting, and my church's youth group. These are all experiences I want to make available to our future child as I believe I learned incredible lessons from all of them that formed me into the person I am today. After high school, I earned a bachelor's degree from Texas Christian University, a master's degree from the University of Notre Dame, and a doctoral degree from the University of Arizona. Like my dad, I am a college professor. Teaching is the most rewarding part of my work. I love seeing that "lightbulb" go off in a student's head when they finally grasp a difficult subject. I cannot wait to put this passion for teaching and learning to use as a parent.

"Stephen and I met on an online dating app, we also lived about 30 minutes from each other and I had a busy job as an athletic trainer; I had a schedule full of all sorts of practice and games. Because of the craziness of my job, we went on our first date in November, second date in late December, and our third date in January. . .it was crazy. But the fact that Stephen rolled with the punches and understood the complexity of my job was amazing to me. I knew on our first date that I was going to marry him. I actually told him, "I'm not looking for a boyfriend, so I hope you're ready for this," and he was! We texted daily, usually all throughout the day, we had hard conversations about what our morals are, our families and how important it is for our families to mesh together and get along, and our want to grow a family. I made sure adoption was an option because it was something that was always on my heart and we both agreed it was something we would pursue one day. Stephen is the funniest, wittiest person I know. He's also the smartest and I love that he knows so much about so many things, his love of learning shines brightly! He is kind, thoughtful, and beyond caring. I cannot wait to see him be a daddy, because I know he's going to love that little one so much and share his passion for learning with them, and be a great papa bear!" - Samantha

Meet Samantha

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I was born in Texas, we moved to Florida for five years, and then we moved back to Texas and I've been here ever since! Growing up, I tried all the sports (t-ball, softball, tumbling, swim team) and freshmen year of high school landed on horseback riding. I was also involved in Girl Scouts through 8th grade and with my church youth group. I was in the athletic training program all throughout high school and knew that was what I wanted to do for my career. I went to Texas Christian University and received my bachelor's degree in athletic training (Stephen and I overlapped a semester at college but never met). After college, I went to work at a local high school and fell even more in love with athletic training. While working as an athletic trainer, I pursued my graduate degree part-time, earning a master's in Special Education, Low Incidence Disabilities and Autism and have a passion for those with special needs. When we got married and decided to start a family, we both agreed I would stay home and I cannot wait to be a stay at home mom and get to see each and every day through my children's eyes!

"I remember the first time I met Samantha, we had been talking for a few weeks via text after meeting through an online dating app, but we were finally meeting at a restaurant for our first date. After awkwardly almost hugging another girl who came into the restaurant who I thought might be Samantha, she arrived. The two things that immediately caught my attention were her beautiful hazel eyes (that were trending toward green that day) and her radiant smile. From that day on, I was absolutely and unconditionally in love with Samantha. Samantha is one of the most caring people I have ever met. When we met, she was working in sports medicine at a local high school. All of her athletes loved her and would come to her not only for their medical issues but for advice on relationships, family, work, etc. because they knew she would listen with compassion. Another thing that I quickly noticed about Samantha is that children are drawn to her. Whether it is children of the coaches she worked with at the high school, friend's kids, children at church, or our various nieces and nephews, they all flock to Samantha. She has a natural ability to engage with kids and make them feel welcomed and loved. I cannot wait to see these traits in work in Samantha as a mother." - Stephen

Our Home

Our home is situated on nearly two acres in a suburban town in North Central Texas. The focal point of our house is the open concept kitchen, living room, and dining area. We were drawn to this home because this large common space facilitates community, where family can come together and unwind after school/work, eat meals together, work on homework, and then curl up on the couch and catch up on TV or watch a movie. Our home has four bedrooms, so there is plenty of room to grow our family, while still having guest rooms for visits from grandparents and other family. We also have a large backyard, with plenty of room to play and space for our garden. Finally, we are in the process of building a pool and outdoor kitchen, which will provide many memories for years to come.

Our neighborhood includes a mix of retirees, empty nesters, and families with children. There is very little traffic through the neighborhood, which allows for a safe environment for kids to ride their bikes and for families to take walks. In the summer, the neighborhood hosts outdoor movie nights and, in the winter, almost everyone decorates for Christmas. Our house is a short walk from a lake and we cannot wait to one day walk with our children down to the lake to feed the ducks.

Traditions

We both enjoy ALL holidays and we are known to decorate well before each holiday. We may or may not decorate for fall in August . . . we just love being able to fully enjoy each season/holiday to the fullest! Christmas is the most extravagant, Samantha LOVES Christmas and all that it involves. We have a tree in the office, a tree in the living room, and then real tree in the family room. Oh, and a small flocked tree in our bedroom. Needless to say, our home becomes a winter wonderland. We rotate each holiday with family and love the quality time spent with everyone.

Our Promise To You

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We are grateful that God has called us to be adoptive parents and that He has given us the opportunity to connect with you. We do not take for granted the difficult decision you are making and we promise we will do everything we can to honor this decision and make sure your child knows they have many who love them, including you.

We promise to raise your child in a loving, Christ-centered home. We will always sit down at the table as a family for dinner, bake sugar cookies at Christmas for the neighbors, take camping trips as a family, and let our child know how much they are loved and how lucky we are that you picked us! Your child will be surrounded by our family and friends who are committed to loving, encouraging, and nurturing your baby so that he or she will grow up to achieve everything that God has in store for their life.

Throughout their life, we know your child will have questions. Some of these will be the same questions that every child has; however, we know that many will be unique to being an adoptee. In answering these questions, we promise to always be honest and open. Likewise, we want your child to grow up being comfortable with who they are. As such, we promise to provide your child with the opportunity to learn about their family traditions and culture. We know we will not be perfect, but we can promise you that every family decision we make will be a decision centered on God and filled with love.

With love and admiration,

Stephen & Samantha

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