We’re back!

Long time no see! We’ve had a busy spring, with lots going on. We missed you, and we’re back.

Most important: we’ve said this before, but we remain in the official book of waiting families at our adoption agency, Children’s Home/Lutheran Social Services. You can also find our profile online here! Our goal for this blog is to share a slice of our life together with you, so that if you’re a mom or birth parent making an adoption plan you can consider our family. If you reach out to us here we can connect you with CH/LSS and our profile to learn more.

In case you missed it above, here is the link to our online profile: https://chlss.org/pregnancy-services/waiting-family-profiles/?family-post=carson-and-jamie

Lots of highlights from the last few months: in April we escaped a dreary northern Minnesota “spring” to take our nephew Luka on a tour of New Orleans. We picked him up in South Dakota and squeezed in some prairie hikes and a visit with friends in Sioux Falls. Then we flew south with Luka and basked in heat and humidity for three solid days. We trekked around the French Quarter on a ghost tour; we crossed Lake Pontchartrain for a tour of the Honey Island swamp, complete with alligators, racoons, and warblers; and we ate lots and lots of good Cajun food.

We came home to another month of dreary weather, but six weeks later leaves and flowers finally popped. We’ve been hiking, biking, camping, and gardening, and in general spending as much time outside as possible. We’ve spent time with friends and practiced our dad skills. We can’t wait to do the things we love with our own family.

Hiking in the Northland!

Lots more activity coming up this summer — more time with friends and family, especially, and also a big job change and some well-earned time away from work! We’ll keep you updated. We’re excited to be on this journey, in life and in adoption, and if you’re thinking about adoption for your child we’d love to talk more about ways we can grow our families together.

Winter, cont.

Signs of spring are hit and miss around here. We’re enjoying the warm days when they come — last weekend we had sun and 50-degree temps! — and hunkering down on cold days like today, when the sun is shining but the air temperature is a shivery 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

We don’t let cold weather keep us entirely indoors, though. Carson has lots of experiencing hustling students outside in all conditions, and over the last few weeks we’ve explored ice floes on the beach and otherworldly trees in the middle of empty woods. This is definitely the kind of experience we’ll share with your child too, if you were to choose us to be adoptive parents.

Duluth’s beaches in the winter are all floes.

This is also the season when sap runs in the maple trees in our back yard and we turn it into maple syrup. Prime syruping conditions come when the daytime temperatures are warm but the nighttime temperatures are still below freezing. We put taps in three of our trees, and then spend one or two days a week boiling it down over a wood fire. Bart frolics around us while we stoke the fire, play games, and talk about our week.

The process.
The product.

In other news, we are now *officially* in the book of waiting families in the offices of our adoption agency, Children’s Home/Lutheran Social Services. It was hard for us to decide which pictures to choose and how to describe ourselves — we are bad at self-promotion! But it is so exciting to think that birth parents can finally see us there. If that’s you, and you’ve come here to learn more about us, welcome! Please reach out; we’re excited to hear from you!

Mexican adventure!

It’s been a while! This time we had a good reason for the delay: since our last post we’ve been preparing for, and then enjoying, a 10-day trip to Mexico with our friends Carly, Mischa, Taryn, and Wayde. Carly and Mischa brought along their toddler, Wendell, and modeled how to combine good parenting, global adventure, and relaxation. We’re excited to add another kiddo to this mix.

Just so beautiful.

We have been friends with this crew since our days in Madison. Jamie, Mischa and Taryn trained together at the University of Wisconsin to become family physicians. We took our very first trip together to the Boundary Waters in September 2012, and since then we’ve made a point to travel together every year.

This time we met in a little town north of Puerto Vallarta called San Pancho and sat tight for a week. We lounged in the pool, strolled on the beach, and read a bunch. We spent a day watching whales and blue-footed boobies around the Islas Marietas at the mouth of the Bahia de Banderas. We drank margaritas and ate a lot of tacos. We played “guncle” to Wendell.

At the end of the first week Carly and Mischa had to fly back but we were able to take a few more days with Taryn and Wayde to explore Guadalajara, a city in the Mexican highlands that’s steeped in history and culture. We ate more delicious food, saw some incredible churches and murals, and took a tour of tequila country.

Now we’re back in Minnesota, a little bit tanner, and feeling restored and excited for the spring that’s around the corner. Right before we left we also got some fantastic news: we made it to the top of the wait list and we’re now invited to submit a profile for our adoption agency’s book of waiting families! So we’re putting a profile together, and feeling even more prepared and excited to start meeting birth parents. If that’s you, or if you know someone considering adoption, please reach out to us at carsonandjamieadopt@gmail.com. We can’t wait to take trips like this as a family!

Hikes, dogs, and Encanto

Whoops, time got away from us and it’s been more than two weeks since our last post. We’ve been busy! But we’re trying to update this as often as we can; we hope to keep a running depiction of our life together so that a birth parent who comes across this page will see the life we hope to share with a child. If that’s you, welcome!

Our friends shor and Zohar visited from the cities for the last weekend in January. On Saturday we went for a hike up and down Chester Creek with a big group of friends. Chester Creek is a Duluth city park that’s near the center of town but feels like a remote wilderness, with waterfalls cascading under scenic bridges. Hiking up and down the banks of the creek is one of our favorite things to do. This time we got to practice hiking with a kiddo, and seeing the ice formations through the eyes of a five-year-old was a magical experience. We can’t wait to start going on hikes like this with our own family.

Saturday night was movie night and if you know anything about Encanto, you know that kids are obsessed with it and we don’t talk about Bruno.

We don’t talk about Bruno.

Then Sunday was Beargrease — the annual sled dog race that starts in Duluth and ends near the Canadian border in Grand Portage. The race commemorates John Beargrease, an Anishinaabe man who delivered mail by dog sled along the North Shore in the late 1800s, and whose descendants are community leaders today. We showed up early to meet the dogs, and as excited as we were to see them — they were more excited to see us. We got lots of dog kisses. When we got home Bart was jealous.

These are the calmest dogs we found.

All that, and Jamie still got to church on time.

Growing green things and getting dirty

Carson’s turn at the ol’ blog! 🙂 Even though it’s very sunny out today the windchill is still below zero, so let’s think about warmer weather and the return of something we love to do – grow plants! Gardening has always been an important and fun part of my family history. When I think about what excites me about parenting, exploring the outdoors and getting dirty with kids tops the list. What’s a better way to do that than to garden? Even though some would say it’s a bit early to start planning – I’ve busted out the stash of old seeds and am starting to dream up our next bounty of crops. We have a great big backyard, but because it is heavily shaded and very wet soil, we have rented a community garden plot not too far from our house. Here’s a few shots from years past…..

I’ve started planting flowers in the garden too, like those cute lil sunflowers.
Bed prep with lots of poo
Started these babies from seed in our sun-room
Zukes anyone?….anyone? please take them
and so it begins again….


Jamie here. Last week I mentioned an upcoming bike race, and yesterday was the big day. Maybe “race” is not the right word and I should be calling it an event, or just a ride; it wasn’t timed and there was no one else there. But it did have a name. Anyway, conditions were perfect, and our friend Shawyn and Jamie rode together and finished (most of) the course in record time (we set the record because we were the only ones who’d done it.) While Shawyn and Jamie were riding Carson was showshoeing with Shawyn’s wife Laura.

It was an ideal northern Minnesota day, the kind of day we can’t wait to share with a child. Every time I finish a ride, or a ski, or a hike or a paddle, I remember how much I love being outside, no matter the weather. Biking is such a great way to see the woods, and to get as far away from civilization as quickly as possible. And Duluth and the North Shore are such amazing entry points to the outdoors. When we moved here I’d never been on a mountain bike, but it didn’t take long for my cousin Sarah to loan us bikes and take us out on the trails with her kids, and now we’re hooked. I guarantee you there will be more biking pictures to come!


This is Jamie. It’s 1 degree outside! One single degree. But it’s beautiful out the window, and we’re staying warm inside doing the things that keep us sane through the winter. We’ve got a fire going, I baked some bread. We’re getting ready to go to a friend’s house for dinner and we’re bringing a spinach-in-yogurt side dish that’s from Julie Sahni’s cookbook and is classic Conniff cuisine. I thought a lot about going for a bike ride in the snow but I chickened out. I’m riding my fat tire bike in a race next weekend, and haven’t gotten a single solid ride in this season, so… we’ll see how that goes.

This is the first time we went fat biking, with friends in Wisconsin in 2019. It was just as fun as it looks.

Today we created our Facebook page! It’s exciting and makes us a little nervous to embark on this path so publicly. Both of us are private people and it doesn’t come naturally to share so much so widely. But then we imagine someone coming across that page and learning more about us and reaching out to talk about adoption, and we know it’s the right thing to do.

To old friends who are checking out this page for the first time: welcome! Don’t make too much fun of us if we come across as a little earnest. This is serious business! But you can make fun of us a little. If you do that, please also follow and share this page. Like our posts, comment, do whatever it is people do on Facebook and blogs these days. Keep us in mind if you hear of colleagues, friends, or family members who are pregnant and considering adoption. You may have heard or read about how challenging this process can be for everyone involved; your support can help. Message us here, or email us at carsonandjamieadopt@gmail.com, if you have questions or want to share ideas. Thanks for being here, we love you.