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This week's Chicagoans: Sheila Quirke and Jeremy Hornik, hopeful adoptive parents

"Ever since open adoption has existed, hopeful parents have tried to reach out to expectant mothers by placing ads, leaving flyers. Now we have social media."

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Sheila: Jeremy and I met because I put an ad in the Reader in 1996. I got about 140 voice mails, and it was so overwhelming that I didn't respond to any of them. But I did take notes on their messages. Then a friend asked me to a show. I realized that the guy onstage I thought was darling—"I think he left a message!" I found my notes, and sure enough, he was like number 114. We got married in 2001.

Jeremy: We had a daughter in 2005, and a son in 2009. That same year, our daughter died of cancer. Then we had three miscarriages. It was too much to go through these grief events again and again. So we decided to try to adopt. We are hoping for a domestic open adoption.

Sheila: I used to work with older adults, and there were some women in their 80s and 90s who had adopted. Back then, they would tell their priest, doctor, or lawyer, and a child would be found. These days, there's a marketing component to it. I'm ambivalent about that; I don't think we can convince an expectant mom that we are the "ones." We just have to put out there who we are and hope somebody connects.

Jeremy: Ever since open adoption has existed, hopeful parents have tried to reach out to expectant mothers by placing ads, leaving flyers. Now we have social media.

Sheila: Last week, I created a Facebook page, Sheila and Jeremy Want to Adopt. We got 1,500 likes overnight. That's great, but it still needs to lead to one connection. Without that, it's just another Facebook page. This sounds preposterous, but we shot a family video for YouTube. You tell people this is what you're doing, and you can see the smirk in their eyes.

Jeremy: Like, "You're making a TV ad about yourself?"

Sheila: But if you don't know how you're going to find your child, what have you got to lose? We were dying last night with the idea that we met through the Reader, and what if a birth mom is going to read this there and say, "Wow, these people sound fantastic"? The fact that we can giggle about that—to me it's confirmation that, despite the sadness in our life, we still have so much hope. That has been preserved.

Sheila and Jeremy Want to Adopt from Bum Bul Bee on Vimeo.

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