Big News: Introducing Malakai Vincent Parker Pfeifer!

We have some new developments that we have been patiently waiting to share…we have a new addition to our family! After waiting for nearly a year, we were selected by birth parents to adopt their baby. Finalization has not occurred yet (in WI it takes 6 months), but today was the court hearing to terminate the birth parent’s rights. We wanted to make sure that piece had taken place before making an official announcement! Here is how is all happened…

Match Story

It was a very normal fall day – October 27th 2022. I (Rebecca) was working on catching up on editing after a busy summer of photoshoots when I noticed there was a voicemail on our adoption phone line. It was from a birth center in Hudson, Wisconsin – they had received our letter and business cards. Back in January we had sent several hundred of these letters out to OBGYN’s and birth centers in Wisconsin, in the hopes of that our details might reach the hands of a birth parent that was looking to place their baby. Many came back in the mail as undeliverable and we hadn’t heard from anybody else, so we had moved on to different strategies like hiring an adoption consultant. Needless to say, I was surprised that the voicemail left by the nurse sounded legitimate (until then all of the calls to our adoption line were spam)!

The nurse was wondering if we were still in the process of adopting and said they might have a situation coming up. She said the OBGYN would call us that night after her shift ended. When Jason got home from work we anxiously awaited her call, wondering if this could be it but not getting our hopes up. We took her call together in the baby’s room, and sat in disbelief as she told us she had a patient who was scheduled for a C-section in 2 weeks who wanted to place her baby for adoption. She said both mother and baby were in good health. The birth mother had previously placed a child for adoption and told the doctor she wanted a closed adoption and did not want to select the adoptive parents, which is why the doctor was contacting us. We told the doctor we would reach out to our agency adoption counselor to see what our next steps would be.

Our adoption counselor replied and let us know that we would need to sit tight. Birth parent counseling has to take place to assure the birth mother has the appropriate support and resources during her decision. Our adoption counselor also told us that best practice would be for the birth mother to consider placing the child in the home with the other adopted sibling. The OBGYN and/or patient would have to reach out to our adoption counselor to get the ball rolling. So all we could do at that point was sit back and wait. We tried to stay cautiously optimistic, but those days that passed without hearing anything were hard. Finally, about a week later, the unknown was getting unbearable and we decided to call the OBGYN’s office, just to see if the patient had reached out to our adoption counselor. We left a message after eating lunch, and Jason was just about to leave to go back to work when I received a text and voicemail from our adoption agency who said they had exciting news! My heart started racing. We called the adoption counselor back on speakerphone in the driveway – the first thing she asked was if we were sitting down. That is when things started to get real. She said we were about to become parents! Hearing those words was indescribable. I sunk to my knees and couldn’t stop crying let alone get out words, so I’m really glad Jason was home with me to take the call – both to share in the incredible moment and because somebody needed to write notes and I could barely see!

The counselor said that the OBGYN & patient had reached out. Coincidently, the counselor worked with this birth mom on her previous placement. Because they had a history together working on the previous adoption, birth parent counseling went quickly. She confirmed that the birth mother wanted a closed adoption and did not want to look at other parent profiles or meet us. She also confirmed that the birth mom wanted to place this baby with a new family, not with the sibling who was adopted last May. The birth mother was scheduled for a C-section on November 9th, the gender was unknown, and there were no known health issues. The birth father was also consenting to the adoption. The adoption counselor told us this was a once in a lifetime situation, and said there was no reason not to move forward. We asked what needed to be done and she said would be sending paperwork to sign and information on retaining a lawyer, and that we should plan on being in Hudson for the delivery and 1 or 2 nights afterwards. We were in total shock!

The next week was a blur. We were so excited and started working on a list of names, notifying immediate family, wondering what the future would hold, and hoping all would go well! We were trying to get the house cleaned and caught up on work, and also needed to buy things like a stroller and changing table and diapers and formula! Despite being busy with a long to do list, it was the slowest week of our lives. The anticipation was almost too much to bare, and it was hard to sleep!

Hospital Story

After driving 4.5 hours on Tuesday, November 8th, we arrived in Hudson, checked in to a hotel kitty corner from the hospital and proceeded to retrieve a few last minute items, such as a bottle and newborn outfits.  It was abnormally warm and rainy that evening, so we decided to relax with a bottle of wine, the hot tub, and tried to go to bed early knowing sleep would be difficult.

We were told to be at the hospital by 6:30am, so we arrived a few minutes prior only to find the main entrance locked and not to be opened until 7am.  Thankfully, the Emergency Room entrance was open and upon entering and asking for the way to the Birth Center, the receptionist already knew our names and story, and who to call to come get us. We learned during our stay that Hudson Hospital is very small and come to find out it had been two years since their last adoption placement. We were provided a hospital suite in their birthing unit, which made the whole experience feel natural. 

As we settled in to our room, we were met with a barrage of hospital staff, including the birth unit supervisor, social worker, and multiple nurses, including the nurse to be assisting in the delivery.  She informed us the birth mom’s c-section was postponed by an hour due to an emergency c-section that needed to be done prior. She said she would let us know when she was on her way to the delivery room.  Around 8am the nurse popped in to let us know she was headed to the delivery room! Nearly immediately after, the unit supervisor came in to inform us that they did not have adoption paperwork in hand and that we may not be able to be with the child after birth. Because things happened so quickly in this case, our adoption counselor was bringing the paperwork with her to the hospital to have signed, but she wasn’t going to be there until 1pm. The hospital was checking with their legal department regarding what they could do in the meantime. Disappointed, we sat back and wondered how we would make it to 1pm! Our emotions changed quickly because minutes after she left, the nurse knocked on our door and they rolled in a beautiful baby! She said HE was just born 3 minutes ago! Apparently the nurse had not been told that they hadn’t received paperwork yet, so while they spoke in the hallway, we were able to hold him for a few minutes – we were in total awe! Since they hadn’t heard back from their legal team and couldn’t leave him with us yet, he was taken to the nursery for observation and testing by the doctor.

We couldn’t stand sitting in the room – excitement quickly overtook us and we started pacing the hallway and peeking through the nursery viewing window. Thankfully a few minutes later the nurse came out to inform us they had received permission for us be with him! We were able to go into the nursery while the doctor checked him over and were relieved that he was completely healthy! Then they brought him back to our room and we took turns bonding with him, doing skin-on-skin time while he ate and slept. We both couldn’t stop starring at him and found ourselves never letting go of him! After being asked by several nurses and family members about a name, we finally decided on Malakai (“Kai”) Vincent Parker Pfeifer. Vincent is Jason’s Dads middle name and Parker is Rebecca’s Grandmas maiden name. In the afternoon, our adoption counselor arrived and visited with us and the birth mom to complete paperwork. Despite the birth mom being within the same hospital and wanting to support her in any way we could, we had to respect her wishes to have the entire adoption process be closed.

With anticipation of being discharged by the afternoon the next day, Jason decided to try and sleep in order to drive back, while Rebecca took the night shift.  Kai slept and ate like a champ and actually gained weight within the first 24 hours! The following day Rebecca’s brother Justin was able to visit since he lives only 1.5 hours away. It was great to see him and have him be the first of our families to meet Kai! After receiving final instructions and discharge paperwork, we packed up the car for the trip back and Kai’s first car ride, at only 30 hours old!  As with this entire situation, we lucked out on the weather as they originally called for snow while driving back, but instead we just had some rain. Kai was amazing in tolerating the car ride, even our pit stop at Kwik Trip for some well-needed coffee and a diaper change and feeding in the backseat in their parking lot! Tired and exhausted, we arrived home to put him in his crib for the first time, something we had been waiting to do for a long time.

Below are a few photos of Malakai. We can’t share identifying photos until the adoption is finalized. We’ll be celebrating his “Gotcha Day” in court next May! There will be a big post with lots more pictures then!

Birth Date & Time: 8:13am on Nov. 9th, 2022 | Birth Weight: 7lbs. 7 oz | Birth Height: 20″

2021 Review in 100 Photos

A little look back at some of our highlights from 2021! Unfortunately since we can not share images of our foster children, this is the abbreviated version of the 2021 fun.

In January we went Dog Sledding in upper Michigan at Husky Haven. First we learned about the dog breed, history of dog sledding, and Kim’s experience racing the Iditarod! Then we visited all the dogs, gave them treats, and helped prep our sled team for the day with their booties. Once we were were out, we each had a turn standing and sitting in the sled as we learned the commands and enjoyed the smooth ride and peaceful scenery. Kim’s partner followed us on the snowmobile so we had some photo ops as well!

We stayed in Munising, Michigan for our Dog Sledding experience. While we were there we did some other exploring, including checking out Munising Falls.

Have you ever been to a beach in the winter? We walked along Sand Point Beach in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and it was so interesting to see the sand and snow together! We could see the ice caves on Grand Island from here too.

A little stop off at Wagner Falls near Munising.

We also did some cross country skiing at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Gorgeous trails!

Skipping ahead to May (I guess spring wasn’t very eventful!), Jason’s sister Jillian got married! We were both honored to stand up in their wedding, and it was a beautiful day!

Photo by Kristel Stephany
Photo by Kristel Stephany

In the beginning of June we took a trip to northern Wisconsin with my friend Kim whom I met in college. I had always wanted to visit Big Manitou Falls, the tallest waterfall in Wisconsin, so we started there. It’s impressive! We also stopped by nearby Little Manitou Falls.

On our drive back to our Airbnb we passed by Amnicon Falls State Park; glad we decided to stop and hike around here too!

Our second day on the trip we crossed over into Minnesota. Jason had heard about a place called Spirit Mountain in Duluth, which has an alpine coaster. It’s a little like a roller coaster, but uses gravity. You have your own car which has a brake so you can go as fast or slow as you want. As you slide down the mountain you’re breezing by trees and have an awesome overlook of Duluth & Superior. I didn’t take any photos, but check out there website for a video! We of course also did the scenic chair lift & zip line 🙂

Our third day of this trip was spent kayaking the Apostle Island Sea Caves – another bucket list item for us! First time in a wetsuit, first time in a triple kayak, and first time kayaking sea caves – it was an awesome day!

The water was so blue, and the cave formations so pretty. Yup, we had to duck as we kayaked through this next little cave!

We stayed in Bayfield, which is becoming one of my favorite places in Wisconsin – it’s such a charming little town right on the water.

On our last day we took the car ferry over to Madeline Island. I was very pleasantly surprised by Madeline Island! There was literally only 1 place to eat on the whole island, and that was deli sandwiches from the “market”, lol. But that meant it wasn’t crowded at all! And super beautiful! We spent most of our day at Big Bay State Park.

Just look at how clear that Lake Michigan water is! It was too irresistible for Jason – he dove right in. It was far too cold for Kim and I, but we sure enjoyed soaking in the sun and scenery!

Big Bay Beach!

Later in June we took a day trip down to Medieval Times in Schaumberg Illinois. While this isn’t a typical type of outing for Jason and I, we had a foster daughter living with us at the time who loved horses, so this was a fun birthday surprise for her!

In July my younger brother Justin was married in my parents yard! We stood up in their wedding as well and Jason even orchestrated a pretty cool fireworks display at the end of the night! It was another big highlight of the year.

Photo by Kristel Stephany

In August, Jason and I celebrated our 15th anniversary by taking a road trip up to Michigan. Jason has always wanted to check out the Soo Locks in Sault Saint Marie, so we spent some time there and were lucky enough to catch a barge and couple other small boats coming through the locks.

The next day we drove around the lower peninsula, seeking out views along Lake Huron. There were several cute lighthouses we stopped at and one even had remnants of a shipwreck left on the beach. This is where we discovered “Shipwreck Alley”, and added more to our bucket list – snorkeling the shipwrecks here that are in shallow water.

We were camping these first couple of nights and made sure we enjoyed swimming at sunset each night.

Our last couple of nights we spent on Mackinaw Island. This is SUCH a charming little island with no cars. We rented bikes and toured the island at our own pace, enjoying the views and the famous fudge.

On our way back home we stopped at Kitch-iti-kipi, a huge fresh water spring with crystal clear water – clear enough to see the huge fish swimming below and the water bubbling up from the surface of the earth. There is a giant raft that you can hand crank to float across the water. It was so cool!

In September we spent a fun few hours at the Oconto Fly-In – our first time here! Jason had fun checking out all the airplanes.

In October I went with my Mom, Emily & Mason to the Wisconsin Dells. We went on the duck tours, another first for me! And the next day rented kayaks to explore the rock formations along the upper Wisconsin River up close.

Mason, Becky, Emily
Mom & Emily

Later in October my friend Kim came to stay with us for a few days. We did a lot of backroad driving in the countryside, seeking out falls colors. Unfortunately it wasn’t a great year for colors, but we still had a wonderful time. We made sure to stop by Kohler Andrae State Park, just 20 minutes away and one of my favorite places nearby. It didn’t disappoint!

One of Jason’s largest accomplishments this year was designing, digging & constructing this in-ground greenhouse out of mostly reclaimed materials. This will help us lengthen our growing season and enjoy homegrown produce in the winter!

Speaking of homegrown, the grapes did great this year! We decided to hold off a year on wine making, and instead made lots of grape jelly for the pantry. This grape jelly tastes SO much better than store bought grape jelly!

And Jason harvest honey from our beehives. Unfortunately our honeybees unexpectedly left the hive towards the end of the year, but we will try again next year. The only silver lining is that we were able to harvest all the honey they had made and stored for the year (typically you leave some in the hive since that is what the bees survive on over winter).

We spent a morning with Araya and Kara at Above & Beyond Children’s museum in Sheboygan and Jason treated us to a little puppet show.

In December we made an impromptu trip to the Milwaukee’s Mitchell Park Domes. This was a first for me, and Jason hadn’t been since he was a kid. I was blown away by the variety of plants and especially loved the desert dome.

Christmas 2021 was a little more quiet and relaxed than the year before since our foster children had gone back by then. But we enjoyed the slower pace and had a wonderful time with both of our families.

Here is to 2022! Hope you all have a healthy and happy year!

We’re Adopting!

Jason and I met our first week of college in 2001. We took many walks along Beaver trail which ran next to the Mississippi River, and discussed just about everything as we got to know each other better. I distinctly remember one of those conversations revolving around adoption. It was one of the many values we discovered that we shared.

20 years later, our adoption journey officially begins. We are home study approved, the first big step, and CAN NOT WAIT to meet baby Pfeifer.

This is the start of our adoption related blog posts. If you continue reading through our blogs from here, you’ll get to see our studio and home building progress photos, and a few other fun photos of us around our property and on vacations!

If you would like to help us in the adoption process, please follow along and share our blog & social media posts! You never know who might see them and be a link in our adoption story.

Photo Credit: Kristel Stephany

Finally Finished

Honestly those last few months of home building I was so OVER the process, that I didn’t take many photos.  There wasn’t really a big move in day.  Living in the studio just next door made the process a little different because it was so gradual.  We were living in limbo for a couple months while things were finished and we figured out where we wanted everything to go.

We’re still not nearly done decorating, and are still using all of our old furniture, but we’re not in a hurry to have everything perfect.  Right now we’re just enjoying being finished with the building process!

Here is a little tour via photos!

When you walk into our front door, you enter into our sunroom.  This is not only our favorite room in the whole house (we love watching the birds from here!), it also is south facing, so it helps heat our house in the winter!


From the sunroom there is a custom built 5′ pocket door.  Jason had to make this since 5 foot pocket doors aren’t exactly standard. Through this door you enter the main part of our house.  The dining table is in the middle, with the kitchen on the east side and the living room on the west side (perfect for watching sunsets in the evening).


We chose silver cloud granite to use throughout the main part of the house – it’s a beautiful mix of whites and grays that is neutral but not too plain since it has a lot of movement. It’s really the only granite we both agreed upon in our budget. And we love how it ties in the white main cabinets with the charcoal island cabinetry.


We chose stainless steel appliances and a marble mosaic backsplash in the kitchen.



We love the view out the back window, especially since Jason put bird feeders out : ) At the back (west side) of the house, off of the living room, is the master suite.


Coming from the bedroom into the bathroom, our master closet is on the right.  We toyed with the idea of purchasing a closet system, but they are so expensive for what you get that we decided to build our own.  It was the right choice – we could make exactly what we wanted and needed, even though it would have been faster to buy something.


A lot of people might put double sinks in a bathroom this size, but we prefer the extra countertop and storage space, and so far have not been bothered at all by having only one sink! Jason made the barnwood frames for our bathroom mirrors, and also the towel bar hangar shelves to match.


Zero curb showers are one of SAL’s specialties, and with an accessible house of course we wanted one in our master suite!  Friends joke this is the “group shower” since it’s big enough to shower 4 – 6…if only we had installed an extra shower head!  lol.  Next house?


At the opposite end of the house (the east side) are two guest rooms and a guest bathroom. Some day one of these will be a kids room, and the other I’m using as a home office for now. Guests are welcome!


And finally, across from the kitchen you can enter and exit the house through the mudroom and laundry room into the garage. We opted to stack our washer & dryer to leave more room for a bench.


That is it!  Outdoor photos coming later this year!

Siding & Final Grading

While we were working inside on finishing up, there was lots of stuff going on outside too. We had the roofing done by professionals who had it all done in a day! Then final grading which was so fun to watch!  Those huge piles of dirt in the front and back yards were there all winter, so it was nice to see the final landscape start taking shape.




The chickens LOVED the fresh dirt that the workers exposed for them!


There was also more gravel brought in to finish the driveway area.


And finally it was time for us to get some siding up!


We had the garage door installed a few weeks later, and then spent much of 2018 working on the landscaping.  I don’t have outdoor photos done yet, but plan on taking them this June so you can see what it all looks like with the patio, railroad tie pathways, trees & plants in!