Waiting Families | Joe and Erin | LSS of Wisconsin
LSSWis - Lutheran Social Services (LSS) of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan

Lutheran Social Services of
Wisconsin and Upper Michigan


Joe and Erin



Family Information

Full Names: Erin & Joe

Erin, 44

Education:  M.S. Environmental Studies, University of Wisconsin- Madison; B.A. Business, Miami University- Ohio

Occupation: Water conservation (rivers, lakes & wetlands)

Joe, 43

Education:  M.S. Zoology, Southern Illinois University- Carbondale; B.S. Biology, Loyola University-Chicago

Occupation: Fisheries Biologist (vocation), Fitness trainer/running coach (avocation)

Number of Years Together: Married for four / Together for seven

Children: None

Religion: Catholic (non-practicing)

Child Care Plans:  A minimum of three months at home with the baby - both Erin and Joe at home for the first four weeks, then at least one of us home every day for another eight weeks. After that we plan to use a licensed child-care center a few blocks from our offices where many of our friends’ children are enrolled.  It’s a good center and a great location because we’ll both be able to drop in during our workday.

Pets and Names:  Whistler (dog), Fearghas (cat)

Ethnicity:  Erin’s ancestry is Irish, Scottish, and Russian. Joe’s family is Irish and Polish.

Home/Neighborhood/Community: We live just inside the city limits in a quiet, diverse neighborhood with many children. Our home is just a block from a large lake and also a public park with a playground, tennis and basketball courts, and public gardens.  A swimming beach and a small number of shops and restaurants are within walking distance, with many more a short bicycle ride or drive away.

Years lived here:  14

Family Traditions: We both come from big families - Joe has six older brothers, and Erin has three older sisters.  Erin grew up in Maryland, and Joe grew up in the southwest suburbs of Chicago (Orland Park). Our families are spread out in great destinations around the country: Atlanta, New York City, Chicago, San Diego and smaller towns in Pennsylvania, Michigan, West Virginia and Alaska.  Despite the distance, we still manage to see everyone regularly. Family-related travel in 2014 included trips to Alaska, Chicago, California, and West Virginia. We have 16 nieces and nephews, including four who are adopted.  We love spending time with all of them as they grow, and we take lots of trips to celebrate graduations, sweet sixteen’s, and other milestones. Two years ago, we spent a week with family in New York City in December. Christmas in New York is just as wonderful as it seems in the movies!

Thanksgiving is Joe’s favorite holiday. Growing up, his family got together with his aunt & uncle’s family for Thanksgiving in Milwaukee, where the gatherings were big, fun, and loud. Those raucous gatherings still happen today, often with four generations at the table, and remain a highlight of our year.

Christmas and New Years are Erin’s favorite holidays. We hang lights and wreaths on the house and pick out a tree. A few times we even used trees from our yard.  Erin has a collection of family ornaments that we use, and Joe adds new ornaments to our collection every year.  We continue Erin’s family’s tradition of hanging stockings on Christmas Eve and finding them (miraculously) stuffed Christmas morning.  Joe’s family opened presents on Christmas Eve, and he’s still not used to waiting that extra night. We both take off work between Christmas and New Year and always complete a big winter-themed jigsaw puzzle during that time.

Vacations: We love to travel, especially to places where we can learn about other cultures. Big trips in the last few years have included Mexico (2010), Greece (2012), Alaska (2014), and Costa Rica (2015).  Because Erin misses the coast we make a point of visiting the ocean at least once every two years. Closer to home, we spend at least one long weekend a year canoe-camping on the Wisconsin River and like to get our boats out on the water as much as possible (we have a canoe, a kayak, and a fishing boat). Joe always travels with a fishing pole and camera; Erin travels with a camera, a journal, and books.  We really look forward to sharing adventures and seeing the world through a child's eyes.

Other traditions: We play a lot of games, together and with friends, - Yahtzee, cribbage, Boggle, and Euchre are mainstays. Joe has a tremendous capacity for play – indoor or outdoor - and enjoys playing softball and soccer and also competes in track meets.  Erin often joins in, but also reserves time for music, writing and other creative pursuits.  Even so, we are both very active.  We’re happiest with dirt under our nails from time in our gardens.  We plant flowers to attract birds and butterflies and grow lots of fruits and vegetables. We both love to cook and are known among our friends for throwing great, family-friendly parties. We even catered our own wedding celebration – a day-long feast for 100 people in our backyard!  To mark special occasions such as our wedding day, important anniversaries, and someday, our adoption, we make and hang homemade prayer flags.

Photo album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/9523648@N02/albums

Family Favorites


Adoptive Mother

Adoptive Father


The Artist’s Way

To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hobbit





Mango, Avocado, Dark Chocolate

Peaches, Strawberries, Grapes

TV Show:

Grimm, Modern Family

Grimm, iZombie


Singing/Song-Writing, Cooking, Gardening

Softball, Running, Fishing, Cooking,
Growing fruit trees











Walking on the beach, canoeing/kayaking

Going on adventures


Adoption Preferences

  • Ethnicity: Open to any child
  • Ongoing contact: Open to all forms of contact.  We hope for an open adoption and to also know you like family, but we will respect and accept your preference on this.
  • Open to states other than Wisconsin

Issues we are open to discussing:

  • Drug or alcohol use prior to knowledge of pregnancy
  • Alcohol use during pregnancy
  • Clinical depression in birthparents

Letter to birth parent(s)

Dear Birthparent,

We're Joe and Erin and we're happy to be working with Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin to build our family through adoption.  

We have been together since 2008 and married since early 2011. We live in Madison, in a little house with a big backyard, and share our space with a sweet dog and a large orange cat.  We’ve come to a good place in our lives to be attentive and loving parents and to provide a happy, stable home for a child. 

We have many interests and hobbies –music, sports, fishing, paddling, travel, gardening – and are eager to share these activities with a son or daughter and his or her friends. We also believe that it is important to give children room to explore, learn, and grow, in whatever direction they feel called, and are equally excited to help him or her explore the interests or talents that come from you.  

We will work hard to make sure your child understands that your decision to place him or her for adoption was a tremendous act of love.  For your child, for you, and for us, we also hope for an open adoption and to know you like family, but we will respect and accept your preference on this.  In either case, your child will always know his or her story and how much he or she is loved.

We’ll end there except to say that you can learn a lot more about us, our family, the things we like, and our lives together, by taking a look at our portfolio.  We hope you will, and wish you the best of luck with everything.


Erin & Joe


For more information contact:  Laura Nedeau-Owen, (608) 277-0610,  laura.nedeau-owen@lsswis.org

6737 W. Washington Street
Suite 2275
West Allis, WI 53214

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© 2016 Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan