Life is amazing sometimes, isn't it? We love life and all its different phases and stages.
Sometimes life is about joy. Through everything in life we try to have joy and recognize our blessings and that they come from God.
Sometimes life is hard. For us, growing our family is hard. We have known since before we were married that the only way for children to come into our family would be through adoption. This brings us to this letter. How do we write something to encourage you to get to know us better? Well for us it was another one of those hard things, but on to the more interesting stuff.
Sometimes life is all about timing. We were married on April 3, 2007 in the Salt Lake City Temple. We met about a year before that. Ashley had been attending her home ward while finishing her degree at the University of Utah. Daniel had been in a Weber State student ward for almost four years when Ashley transferred in. Shortly after meeting we began to date. It quickly seemed like marriage was a probability. There was a small chance we could have been married sooner but Ashley was set on getting married when the tulips were in bloom at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, and they were. In the years since our marriage the tulips haven’t been in bloom on our anniversary. The timing was right.
Sometimes life is about companions. One of the surprises that happened shortly after our marriage was Lacy, our big black dog. After six weeks of marriage Daniel conned Ashley into looking at the rescue puppies available at the local Petco. Daniel loves dogs, but his mother is mildly allergic and didn’t allow them in the house. So when we found a big sweet puppy, we owned a house, and Ashley wasn’t opposed, we got a dog. Right after we got Lacy, Daniel had to leave town for a few days for business and Ashley was left home all alone with the task of training a puppy all by herself. There were ups and downs, but by the time Daniel returned home Lacy was trained, and Ashley was in love. The following year it was a different story when Ashley convinced Daniel that they needed a terrier; the kind of dog Ashley had grown up with. Lacy then got a little brown friend named Winston.
Sometimes life is about friends. We have been blessed to have great friends. Many of our friends got married about the same time we did. We often host dinner parties and game nights. From a friend’s Thanksgiving for twenty people to our annual tradition of fondue for the season premiere of The Big Bang Theory each fall, we make it a point to stay in contact with our friends.
Sometimes life is about fun. While often the day to day aspects of life can take over and be overwhelming, we try to have fun. Ashley’s family goes to Bear Lake to spend time at her grandparent’s condo each summer. While there we play on the beach, go for ATV rides, play games out on the big lawn, Daniel goes golfing, and we play card games and board games. Ashley also tries to go backpacking once a year with whatever family members and friends are interested. While backpacking isn’t Daniel’s thing, he is supportive. Ashley hopes to teach Panda about backpacking and packing when the time comes.
Sometimes life is unexpected. After being married for four years Daniel had an opportunity with his work that sent us to Xiamen, China for eighteen months. This wasn’t planned, but was life changing for us. We were able to meet great friends and learn from another culture. It also allowed us to visit both Disneylands in Asia, Hong Kong and Tokyo, adding to the two in the US we've been to. Paris and Shanghai are the only Disneylands left for us to visit and we will get there. Just ask Ashley!
Sometimes life is about faith. Daniel served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Tucson, Arizona. Ashley served a church history service mission on Temple Square in Salt Lake City. We think it is important to be active members and to always be worthy of a temple recommend. Whenever we travel we try to visit the local temples. We believe that one of the best things we can do for Panda is to help him develop faith and a testimony in Jesus Christ. This is what has sustained us through the difficult times and taught us to appreciate the blessed times in life. It was through faith that we were led to Panda.
Sometimes life is about change and growth. When we were presented with the chance to adopt Panda, we stepped out and changed our lives by becoming parents. This change allowed our family and our love to grow. We are looking forward to growing our family again. This has also meant personal growth and learning. Panda has taught us so much. Change can sometimes be the best thing in life.
Life is always about family. We think family is one of the most important things in life. We make it a point to spend time with both sides of our families. Daniel has three older sisters, a younger brother, and 13 nieces and nephews. On the first Sunday of each month we gather with Daniel’s side of the family to have dinner and to celebrate the birthdays of the month. Ashley has two younger brothers and a younger sister who has a baby, who live on the East coast. When possible we get together with Ashley’s side of the family to have Sunday dinner and talk and play games. We have regular Family Home Evening and we make time to have fun family outings with Panda. Spending time with our families is one of our favorite things.
As we have participated in the Adoption community we have grown to love and appreciate birth parents, especially Panda's birth-mom. We believe in doing what is best for him and as such we want to participate in an open adoption. The level of openness is something we plan on working on with you. Relationships are living organic aspects of our lives and having healthy relationships is very important to us.
Thank you for reading a little more about us.
May you be inspired to do what is best for your child.
We hope to be part of it.
Daniel, Ashley, and Panda