Dear Expectant Parent(s),
Hi, we’re James and Riana, and we appreciate you taking the time to learn more about us as prospective parents.
The story of our relationship began, oddly enough, during an emergency. When we met in 2017 we both worked for the same disaster response agency, and our paths first crossed while we were both responding to an incident in New York City. As we spent more time together and got to know one another better, it became clear we had a special connection. It wasn’t long before we started dating and eventually moved in together, sharing a truly tiny studio apartment! As our careers developed we moved to New England, buying our first house here, adding Finn (our mini dachshund) to our family, and getting married in the summer of 2022.
From an early point in our relationship we both knew we wanted children, but also that it wouldn’t be easy for us. We pursued IVF treatment, but after several rounds our doctor advised us to consider other options. We shifted our attention to adoption, and the more we learned the more excited we became. There’s nothing we want more than to become parents, and we can’t wait to grow our family and welcome a child through this process.
Riana is the kindest person I know. There are lots of examples of this I can provide, but the one that stands out most vividly occurred during a weekend trip we took to Washington, D.C. We were walking through the downtown area when we came across a haggard looking man slumped over on the sidewalk. Everyone else walked by without a second thought, but not Riana. She knelt down to check on this gentleman, making sure he was ok, asking what he needed, and getting him sitting upright. It was a small act of kindness, but one that out of the dozens, if not hundreds, of people that walked by this man only Riana offered.
This kindness extends into Riana’s professional work as well, where she has built a career based on service to others. She has taught English to children in South Korea and Japan, served in AmeriCorps, and worked providing disaster relief with the American Red Cross. Riana now administers federal grant funding for community-service programs, using her talent and experience to empower communities to provide critical services to their residents.
I know these qualities, and many others, will make Riana a fantastic mother who will impart her kindness and commitment to service to a child.
Fun Facts about Riana:
When I first met James I was drawn to the fact that he has made intentional choices in life to be of service to others. Whether it was supporting local communities in implementing sustainable agricultural practices during his Peace Corps service in Cameroon, providing resources to homeless and runaway youth in New York, or supporting long-term recovery efforts after a hurricane in New Jersey – both through AmeriCorps, he has been led by a heart for service and I found that so admirable.
I also thought James was incredibly brave to live in another country where he didn’t look like the locals nor speak their language. I think it takes someone with a strong growth mindset and healthy sense of humility to put themselves in that situation.
Lastly, I appreciated that James was family-oriented. He spoke of his family and spending time with them in a way that communicated it was something he valued highly. These things along with so many of his other wonderful characteristics are what made me want to know more about him, develop a friendship with him, and eventually choose him as a life partner.
Fun Facts about James:
Our townhouse-style home, built in 2015, has been the perfect place for us to grow into. We moved in in early 2022 and have since really enjoyed furnishing, decorating, and overall just making the home our own. The Spring bloom is particularly beautiful, and we enjoy lounging on our deck when the New England weather doesn’t keep us inside.
Our neighborhood is quiet and friendly, and full of dogs! We love taking Finn for walks, during which we will without fail run into several other neighborhood dogs and their owners. The dogs have fun playing together, and Finn is particularly popular with the neighborhood children who will often run out to greet him when they see him walking by.
While our immediate neighborhood is quiet, we’re a quick drive to downtown Concord where we enjoy walking down Main Street, trying different restaurants and shops. A number of local parks also give us plenty of opportunity to stay active and enjoy the New England nature. We also love to take day trips to other nearby areas when we can, particularly to the New Hampshire and Maine seacoast. Our location also affords us the opportunity to visit larger nearby cities like Boston, Portland, and even Montreal. There’s so much to see and experience, we can’t wait to share it all with a child!
We place tremendous value on our family relationships, which is a good thing because we both have huge families! Growing up we both spent lots of time and developed close bonds with siblings as well as cousins, with those relationships carrying through to adulthood. In recent years we’ve enjoyed watching the next generation of our families grow, welcoming a number of nieces, nephews, and younger cousins.
With such a large family we have relatives spread all across the country, but most live in either New York or Florida. This means visits from family members looking to see the Fall foliage in New England, and frequent road trips to New York for special events and holidays. We often take a Summer trip with James’s family to the Adirondacks in Central New York where we love to hike and spend time on the lake. It’s one of our favorite places to visit and we can’t wait to create even more special memories there with a child.
We’re so fortunate to have kind, loving, supportive families who have done nothing but encourage us since we made our decision to adopt. Not only has our family actively looked for ways they can help us throughout the process, but they are equally excited to welcome a child and make our family just a little bit larger!
In her free time, when Riana’s not searching out new foods to sample, she’s often trying her hand at cooking or baking new treats for us to enjoy. This has always been an interest of hers, but she finds new inspiration after watching the Great British Baking Show!
James has recently taken up woodworking and has even created a few pieces we’ve used to decorate the house and give as gifts. He enjoys the challenge and the fact that at the end of a project he’s got something to show for it!
We also have a number of traditions we’ve developed over the years that we’re looking forward to sharing with a child, a few of which are below:
Winter – Decorating our Christmas tree with ornaments that James’s mom has accumulated and saved for him since he was a child. Riana has enjoyed adding her own new decorations to the tree, and we look forward to starting this tradition with a child as well.
Spring – The Concord Coalition to End Homelessness has an annual fundraiser at White Park called SouperFest, where local restaurants donate different soups that individuals purchase while enjoying each other’s company and live music. We have gone for the past couple years, and met up with a colleague of Riana’s and her husband. Giving back and supporting service to the community are things we value and plan to share with a child.
Fall – Riana loves re-watching Gilmore Girls in the Fall! She also loves making pumpkin bread and we’ve started a new tradition of making sweet potato pie for Thanksgiving.
Summer – Going to the Adirondacks and enjoying hiking, kayaking, boating, fishing, and just relaxing on the dock. Riana enjoys spotting the loons as they are beautiful and have a lovely call.
We hope that in reading through our book you’ve gotten a sense of who we are and what we have to offer a child. As parents, we will ensure a warm, loving, and joyful home for a child to grow in. We’ll provide memorable and diverse experiences, and make sure the child has every opportunity we have to offer. We will always put the best interests of the child first, and never take our role as parents for granted.
We would hope to stay in touch with you to whatever degree you are comfortable, and assure you that as the child grows we will explain with pride the loving choice their mother made to give them the best life possible.
While we are beyond excited to become parents, we also recognize that this may be a difficult decision for you to make. Please know that regardless of the path forward you choose for your baby we wish you only the best.