TINLEY PARK | After a week at Walt Disney World Resort and a six-hour flight delay because of Thursday's inclement weather, you would think Logan and Brayden Connor would have been exhausted.
Instead the 7- and 5-year-old brothers were running around the back yard of their Tinley Park home, then they wrestled in the living room. Their parents, Kevin and Vanessa Connor, tried unsuccessfully to keep up with their sons.
Kevin is a teacher at Thornwood High School in South Holland, where he was formerly the head girls basketball coach, and Vanessa is a science teacher at Eisenhower High School in Blue Island.
The brothers were also busy making a Father's Day card for Kevin with Vanessa helping them.
"I love you so very much," is what Brayden put on the card. The three talked about the card as Kevin sat with his ears covered so as not to "hear" about the surprise card.
When asked why he wrote that, Brayden simply responded: "He takes me on rides like I'm scared of. He holds my hand."
Brayden called it the "choo-choo train" ride and was referring to the Splash Mountain ride at Disney World. Kevin said Brayden and Logan went on it, but Brayden didn't want to get wet.
"He put his head on my thigh and I covered him with my arm," Kevin Connor said.
"Logan jumped in: "You go up real high, then you drop straight down. That was fun. Mommy didn't go on it."
The Connors will be married 11 years on July 20. With their sons, they celebrate their birthdays and "gotcha day" for each.
Logan and Braden are adopted. Logan was born July 24, 2006 and his "gotcha day" is Feb. 5. Brayden was born on April 22, 2008 and his "gotcha day" is Nov. 19.
The gotcha day is the day each became the legally adopted sons of the couple. The Connors have made sure their sons know their complete family history and each child has his own scrapbook which includes photos of their birth mother.
They even celebrate "gotcha day" among the four with a small gift they get to pick out.
"We get to pick the restaurant and a present," Logan said. "We think it is pretty cool."
Their respective mothers have contact with them and have visited them. The Connors encourage it.
"We think it should be open and they should know," Vanessa said. "If you are open and there are no secrets, I think that makes it easier than if they find out when they are 18."
Logan talked about "'Momma Lisa', my birth mom and she (Vanessa) is my forever mom."
Brayden has a bear in a lamb's coat and a rocking chair horse, that "'Momma Maria' (his birth mom) gave me."
Vanessa was in the room when Logan was born.
"I think it is important that they know who their birth mother is and they know their background."
She said it is important that the door is open and they even communicate through Facebook.
"How do you not include someone in your life who gave you the most wonderful gift?' Vanessa said. "It is important the kids know their family history."
Vanessa and Kevin went through the Angel Adoption Agency in northwest suburban Cary, Ill. They also make themselves available to those who are looking to adopt.
"I think it is important that we and other parents are there to give advice," Kevin said. "They have questions about the agency, about how our family is going and I think if someone who has gone through the process can answer those questions, it takes some of the pressure off."
Vanessa recounted the first time they went to agency and the Connors were at ease.
"They made us feel comfortable," Vanessa said. "They told us, 'If you can love a child, then we will help you find one.' And that has been so true -- twice."
Both said for prospective parents to remain patient as they had to be a few times where they thought they had a child, but things changed at the last minute. She recalls where she was when she was informed about Logan and Brayden.
"I remember when we got the call for Logan, I was on a bus going on a field trip," Vanessa said. "With Brayden, I was in class."
There are the little things that parents never forget like the Saturday mornings. Make that the early Saturday mornings.
"We got up and I asked, 'What do you boys want for breakfast?'" Vansessa said. "They said, 'Mom, we already got our Pop-Tarts.' I will never forget that. It is also the first time Kevin and I realized they could climb up on the counters."
For the record, the Pop-Tarts were eaten cold and Logan and Brayden did not attempt to put them in the toaster.