Josh and Lesley

Married Since: 2010

Pets: Yes

Stay at Home Parent: Part-Time

Other Adopted Children at Home: No

Other Biological Children at Home: No

We want to have a sincere, friendly, and open relationship with you and your family, during, and after your pregnancy.

Josh and Lesley

from Tennessee

Josh

Ancestry: German, Lithuanian, Latvian

Religion: Jewish

Occupation: Public Health Program Director

Education: MPH/MPP

Hobbies: Painting, Running, Cooking

Lesley

Ancestry: Italian, English, Northern European

Religion: Christian

Occupation: Professor

Education: Ph.D.

Hobbies: Volunteering with dogs, Exercise, Hiking

Baby

Preferred Ethnicity of Baby: All Races / Ethnicities

Preferred Gender of Baby: Either

Religion Child To Be Raised: Christian / Jewish

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From Us to You

Dear Expectant Mother,

How are you?

From the two of us, we want to give you the biggest thank you possible. We realize how special a person you are to take this journey, and in return, we will provide you with an open, honest, and compassionate relationship from the time of our match and throughout your child’s lifetime. We want to have a sincere, friendly, and open relationship with you and your family during, and after, your pregnancy. You will find us to be easy-going, full of love, and always open to new experiences. As parents, we will always strive to do anything and everything to ensure your child enjoys a life full of opportunity to dream and become whomever they want to be.

Unfortunately, things didn’t quite work out for us with regards to trying to start a family on our own. However, there is a flip-side to everything, and adoption provides awesome and rewarding opportunities to build a family that is beyond special. How often will a child grow up with connections to two families and have a unique story that will allow them to become a person with a wonderful and diverse background? We are ready to start this fantastic journey with you.

We met in graduate school and we have been married for 10 years. We have dedicated our careers to helping others. Lesley is a professor of economics (always handy when it comes to math homework) and Josh works for the State of Tennessee, where he helps people with HIV/AIDS gain the care and support they need. We also have two happy-go-lucky dogs, Indie and Leeloo, who love to run around with our nephews and friends’ kids, and say hello to everyone in our local parks.

We know we would be good parents. Lesley has a tremendous heart, and dedicates a lot of her time to caring for dogs that have been through difficult circumstances at the local animal shelter. As a parent, Lesley will pass along her empathy and love of learning, and make certain your child is ready to ask what they can do to improve the world around them. Josh may be more prone to spoiling (an extra toy now and then can’t hurt too much?), but will strive to ensure your child has as many opportunities as needed to explore the world, including travel to various countries to learn about different peoples and cultures. We will be there to help them gain the best education possible – in addition to the teaching that Lesley does as a professor, we both come from families of educators. Josh’s mom and sister were special education teachers and Lesley’s dad worked for their local public schools.

We are definitely city people, and everyone always says we live in the best neighborhood for raising a child in a big city. We want your child to grow up in a vibrant, diverse neighborhood where there is ready, and walkable, access to great parks, friends and neighbors from all walks of life, and museums, concerts and cultural events.

Family is very important to us, and we will make sure your child enjoys fun trips to Florida to visit Josh’s parents and his sister’s family (including their awesome kids), and maybe a trip to Disney World. Lesley’s parents enjoy spending time with us during an extended period of time each winter, in order to escape the cold of Michigan, so grandparents will be around to take them to the zoo or museums, and enjoy hot chocolate on a cool day. We look forward to enjoying sunny Thanksgivings in Florida with Josh’s family, and a guaranteed snowy Christmas with Lesley’s family in Michigan.

Our goal will be to ensure that your child has the happiest possible experiences, and can try and find their interests and potential, whether they grow up to be an artist, teacher, doctor, or a professional surfer. We know our lives will forever change as the adoption moves forward, yet whether it’s comforting your child after a nightmare in the middle of the night, watching them graduate from finger-painting to oil painting, carpooling to sports games, or taking them on a beautiful hike to the nearby mountains with our dogs, we are very excited and ready to go. We can’t wait to talk to you soon, and begin celebrating our little person together.

All our best,
Lesley and Josh

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About Lesley, from Josh

Lesley is the most incredible person I will ever know. She is amazingly smart, intelligent, and always impresses me, as it’s far from easy to gain a PhD in Economics from an Ivy League University, and produce original research on how to improve higher education for everyone. Lesley has a huge heart to match her brilliance. She has been an active volunteer at the humane society for the past few years in Michigan, Washington, DC, and Nashville, and is willing to do anything she can, including walking and paying attention to the most difficult dogs in the shelter, in order to make them feel comfortable and ensure that someone provides them love, after many of them lived through the most difficult circumstances. In fact, Lesley’s loving ways led to our adoption of our second dog, Indie, from the DC humane society. Lesley’s care and attention have led to Indie transforming from a skinny and scared 45-pound dog, to being full of character and a healthy 20 pounds heavier, with a tail that everyone in our neighborhood envies. In many ways I am so lucky to have married Lesley, as she pushes me to think deeply about the world around us, and to consider how we can and should do whatever is needed to contribute to our community and city. Lesley converted me into a city-person, which isn’t easy for someone with suburban roots like me. But, nonetheless Lesley has shown me how great it is to be near so much, and to really enjoy all the different events, festivals, art, and food from everywhere in the world, within a quick distance from where we live. This is all rounded-out by Lesley’s beautiful sense of humor, which ranges from being totally dry and pun-driven, to goofy and gregarious. I am so lucky to be in a relationship with Lesley, as she pushes everyone around her to be the best version of themselves.

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About Josh, from Lesley

I cannot imagine a better father than Josh. From the very first day I met him, I realized that he lives his life with love, humor, and a desire to make the world a better place. When most of his friends were taking well-paying jobs right after college, Josh spent two years in the Peace Corp stationed in rural Mali, helping to improve local water quality. He has dedicated himself to improving the health and well-being of others world-wide, from helping to prevent malaria HIV/AIDS in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and now Tennessee. His desire to help others is matched by his openness to learning about different cultures and places. Outside of work, Josh can be found taking art classes, volunteering at art and festival events (Josh has previously volunteered at the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival in Washington), going for long-runs to explore, or making an incredible meal. Children, especially boys, love being around Josh. When we were recently hanging out with friends who, between them, have four boys between the ages of 4 and 6, he was drawn into a “snowball fight” where the boys chased him around the house and tried to hit him with (fake) snowballs. A few years ago, we spent a few days with my cousin’s young children at a family wedding. Josh entertained them on a hiking trip by telling ghost stories. The next time I saw them (without Josh), the first thing they said to me was “where’s Josh?” We only get to see our nephews once or twice a year, as they live in Florida, but they love kicking the soccer ball and playing video games with their Uncle Josh.

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About Us

Public service and helping others is a key shared interest for the two of us. We have both focused our careers on work and research to help others around us. This includes Josh’s work in global health, which has ranged from spending two years in West Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer, and his current work to ensure people living with HIV/AIDS in Tennessee have access to life-saving drugs. Lesley has focused her research and efforts to ensure better equity and access to higher education for students from all backgrounds. The understanding that our work contributes to the improvement of other persons’ lives is motivating for both of us.

However, we do like to have fun, whether it’s heading to the beach in North Carolina when the weather turns warm, going for walks around the amazing and eclectic neighborhoods around us, heading-out for hikes in the high Appalachians of eastern Tennessee, or hanging-out with our friends for movie nights or grabbing something to eat on the weekend. We love to spend the weekends exploring our neighborhood and city, visiting a new park with our dogs, or heading to one of the many concerts in our city. We try to head down to Florida every few months to see Josh’s family and enjoy the sun and warm weather, and spend time with our super active nephews, but we also like to head up north to Michigan during the summer to see Lesley’s family and enjoy some quiet and relaxing time off the grid on the Great Lakes. If we are lucky enough to adopt, we can see our family doing something similar — enjoying the beaches in Florida and on Lake Michigan, taking our child out to explore their city and mixing in some travel around the world, and always trying to find the greatest ice cream shops at home or in places far away. We can’t wait!

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Our Home

We are city people, and our community is regarded as one of the best places to live in the city. Our neighborhood features beautiful, tree-lined streets and historic and modern houses, and our house is a five minute walk from some of the best and most eclectic stores and restaurants in the city. If you want awesome vintage jeans, the best coffee in the city, or decadent chocolate-malted donuts, it is all a five minute walk from our house. We live across the street from one of the largest parks in town that is always filled with families hanging-out on two playgrounds, college students and couples picnicking on the rolling hills, and people enjoying the weather with a good run or playing fetch with their dogs. Plus there is one of the city’s largest famer’s markets across the street every Tuesday, and one of the city’s largest festivals in May that features two days of live music and great food. It’s great to have so much to do that is very close by, as once you leave our neighborhood we are only a 10 minute drive from downtown where we have seen concerts and walked along the riverfront with its great views of the city.

And if all of this gets tiresome, we can even walk to the nearby rivers to go canoeing/kayaking, or just head off to a beautiful state or national park for a picnic and hiking. Everyone always says our neighborhood is great for families and it is filled with parents pushing strollers, and kids playing soccer and basketball in the parks. Our house is right in the middle of our wonderful neighborhood. Since our house has an open floor plan, it is great for having friends over, and we have several great rooms that would be a terrific playroom/bedroom for our child.

What we value most about living in a city, is diversity, and the ability to live near and share a space with people from varied backgrounds, races, religions, cultural beliefs, and experiences. This is something that we want to share with any child that we would be lucky enough to adopt. We would want your child to see that there are many different people that contribute to, and are a part of our community and lives. Fortunately, our neighborhood is also filled with a lot of families. Along our block there are several families with children under the age of 10, and it seems like new families are moving into our neighborhood every day.

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Our Pets

We have two very sweet and somewhat goofy dogs named Leeloo and Indie. We adopted Leeloo as a puppy almost four years ago from a local humane society. Leeloo is incredibly friendly and wants to make friends with every human, dog, cat, etc with whom she comes into contact. She loves children and babies but is very good at understanding how to interact with them (running around with them if they are into it, or letting them pet her or grab her big floppy ears). Leeloo loves running around in local parks with our other dog, Indie. Indie is about 9 years old. We adopted her from the Washington, DC municipal shelter almost three years ago, when we were living on Capitol Hill in DC. Since Lesley volunteered at the DC shelter, she had walked Indie a few times and found her very sweet and a little shy. Indie sort of looks and acts like a giant teddy-bear. Given that she was found in pretty rough shape (skinny and tied to a post outside of an abandoned house), Indie has come a long way. She is now healthy, loved, and full of energy. Indie is a homebody (sort of the opposite of Leeloo), and her favorite things are getting her belly rubbed and cuddling next to Lesley on the couch. She is shy around many adults but feels more comfortable around children (her vet thinks she had puppies before she was found and probably has a remaining love of human “puppies”). Both of our dogs are always up for a pet from a child walking by with their parents, and nothing would make them happier than running around with a child in the park or watching over a baby at home.

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Our Families

Our families would be overjoyed to have a new member. For Lesley’s family, your child would be the first grandchild (get ready for grandparent spoiling). Lesley’s parents like to escape Michigan during the winter and head-south, and they have made it clear that they will definitely come down to see us and hang-out/help-out for a long time every year to be with their grandchild). Lesley grew up in Michigan, where her brother and sister-in-law live, and where her parents own a great home right on a beautiful river. Lesley’s family loves to explore museums and is ready to offer secret family recipes for delicious Italian dishes with garden-grown ingredients (Lesley’s parents have passed along a love of gardening to her). In the summertime, we hope to take a family trip to Michigan to stay with Lesley’s family and spend time relaxing and enjoying the quiet and beautiful beaches on Lake Michigan. Josh’s family will provide a kick-start of sports and excitement. Josh grew up in Maryland near Washington, DC, and his family now lives in Florida. Josh’s sister and her family, including our two nephews (who never stop moving), will be ready to introduce your child to sports (especially soccer and gymnastics) and hip-hop dancing. Josh’s parents love to entertain, and already have scoped out the best mini-golf courses, zoos, and other places to go with grandchildren (Disney World!) on the west coast of Florida.

We both grew up believing and experiencing that a family is made up of those who love each other, regardless of how they are (or are not) related. While Lesley’s extended family lived far from Michigan, she and her brother and parents were welcomed into the large extended family of her parents’ close friends from college, which included both biological and adopted children. Josh was lucky enough to grow up with a large set of grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles nearby, including his cousin’s children who were adopted as infants. We also have friends who are themselves adopted, and have adopted children in their families, which will provide a strong support network and source of guidance as we work our hardest to make sure your child grows up knowing that he or she is loved and surrounded by a community that cares for him or her.
We both grew up believing and experiencing that a family is made up of those who love each other, regardless of how they are (or are not) related. While Lesley’s extended family lived far from Michigan, she and her brother and parents were welcomed into the large extended family of her parents’ close friends from college, which included both biological and adopted children. Josh was lucky enough to grow up with a large set of grandparents, cousins, and aunts and uncles nearby, including his cousin’s children who were adopted as infants. We also have friends who are themselves adopted, and have adopted children in their families, which will provide a strong support network and source of guidance as we work our hardest to make sure your child grows up knowing that he or she is loved and surrounded by a community that cares for him or her.

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A Typical 3-Day Weekend

First, we will enjoy a delicious breakfast made by Josh, probably waffles, but Josh is also a master of eggs and sweet-potato fries, and Lesley making some delicious coffee. If it is summer or early fall, we will use some veggies straight from Lesley’s garden in our backyard. We will probably take our dogs for a nice walk around our neighborhood.

Josh loves to pick a cuisine (could be from anywhere but he loves cooking Mexican, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mediterranean food) and find a delicious recipe to try, and make plans to serve a big, family-style meal for our friends and family during a long weekend. During a recent 3-day weekend, Josh made enchiladas with a homemade sauce made from scratch. After picking a recipe and inviting friends (and family, if they are in town) over for dinner, we may take a quick drive to the farmer’s market and look around the various stalls for ingredients and other great food to try.

While Josh is organizing the feast for our friends, Lesley will take some time to volunteer with the local human society. She will also take our dogs, Indie and Leeloo, out for a nice run around our neighborhood, where our dogs will catch-up with their doggy friends, while Lesley does the same with our human friends.

By early evening, our friends will come over and we will enjoy some time catching-up, while eating some quick appetizers that Josh has prepared. This will be followed by our big feast, and when our bellies are full, our friends leaving for home, we will sit back and relax and probably catch-up on one of our favorite TV shows (long weekends are meant for binge-watching sometime), before calling it a day.

The next day, while recovering from our dinner party with friends and family, we may head up into the mountains for a hike. If the weather is warm enough, we might go kayaking or paddle boarding on the rivers and lakes nearby, and find a swimming spot for dogs and humans, and allow ourselves to take a dip and swim after the dogs. If it’s been a hectic few days, relaxing on the couch and watching a movie or TV show sounds pretty good too.

Of course, if we are feeling especially energetic during the long-weekend, we might instead jump into the car, and head to Memphis or Atlanta, and check-out what big cities in the region offer, or maybe go visit friends who live nearby in Louisville. Another thought would be to head down to the gulf coast, which is about six hours away, and enjoy some quick beach time in northern Florida.

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Our Last Vacation

The two of us have an agreement that every year, we will take some time together to relax, enjoy each other’s company, disconnect from our daily life, and visit some place new. For our last vacation, we traveled to the beach — the Outer Banks — in North Carolina, where we rented a beautiful house with tremendous views of the Atlantic Ocean, which was two blocks away. The vacation house was nice and quiet, and allowed us to enjoy some time away from the stresses of work and life in the city. We went for early morning and sunset walks (and sometimes swims) with our dogs, relaxed at local cafes for a nice lunch outside, and hung-out on the beach during the day to read, talk and relax. The beautiful views allowed Josh some time to sketch and paint, while Lesley could unplug and read a few books. In the evenings, we tried out some new recipes, including our first attempt at a seafood boil of crabs, shrimp, scallops and corn. At night, we enjoyed going outside to view the thousands and thousands of stars and the Milky Way. With fresh minds and relaxed bodies, we took our time driving home, trying to let our vacation last a little longer.

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How a Child will Enrich our Lives

There is probably nothing more exciting and wonderful than watching a child experience the world around them. We would love to experience this, and cannot think of anything more rewarding than helping your child to grow into the great person that they want to be. We will push ourselves as parents to introduce your child to all aspects of their community and the world around them, and to pursue their interests and passions as much as possible. This will definitely include traveling, and letting your child join Lesley on one of her work trips to Europe and Asia, and Josh teaching them how to make any food that they like. We are excited to find out what activities, ideas, places and relationships your child will want to explore, and look forward to providing love, advice and support whether they want to travel out west to go hiking, go check-out a college basketball game (we are shameless fans of University of Michigan team), enjoy the wide range of music festivals in Nashville, and/or curl-up next to Lesley for story-time.

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Day-Care Plans

We both strongly believe in the need to spend time with your child as soon as they come home, and establish the critical attachment that is needed. We will both take off long periods of time with your new child as we aim to connect with them, and develop the loving relationship we want your child to experience. We will also focus our time on learning to soothe them when they cry, what makes them laugh and smile, or feel comforted in our arms. And of course, we aim to have fun and take them for long walks around our neighborhood and to meet our families and friends.

We will also spend some time to learn how to be a “solo” parent, meaning sometimes Lesley will need a break, and Josh will be “on-call” for a few hours, and the same will apply for Lesley. Lesley is fortunate that her job will allow her at least 4 months of paid leave when a child joins our family (and a very flexible schedule all of the time) and Josh has been saving up vacation time so that he will be able to take as much time off from work as needed.

We are also fortunate that our parents and family are ready to come and help out for as much time as needed. Lesley’s parents like to escape the colder weather of Michigan, and are more than ready to find a small house nearby, to be around when we start a family. We know they would be overjoyed with the opportunity to spend time with their grandchild, and help out as much as they can. They are both very active and would love to be able to take their grandchild around town, to museums, the zoo, or maybe to grab some ice cream in our neighborhood.

Eventually, we will both return to work, and your child will attend daycare. We are lucky that we live in a neighborhood with many young families who can certainly help us find the right child care. We are also fortunate that our current workplaces are flexible and allow us to shape our work schedules around child care. Many of Josh’s co-workers have devised schedules that allow for dropping children off at school in the morning, or leaving early to pick-up their children from school, daycare, soccer practices, and after school art and music classes. Lesley’s job as a college professor allows her a great deal of flexibility, and she will have the summers to spend at home, and enjoy some excellent mother-child bonding and fun.

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What We will Teach Your Child

We want our child to know that they are loved and have our unconditional support. We would always want our child to know that all doors are open, but even if some doors end up being harder to open, we will provide them with whatever support is needed to overcome any challenge that they may face. We would like our child to see that the world is full of lots of different and great people, and that they can explore and discover their interests. If this means our child wants to tag along on one of Lesley’s work trips around the US, Asia, Europe, and beyond, or Josh’s trips around Tennessee, we would love to see this happen. We hope they will learn to appreciate differences in culture, music, language, and foods. We want to teach our child that kindness and compassion are strengths rather than weaknesses. Perhaps they would want to take part in the volunteer work that Lesley completes for the humane society. We both love learning – so much so that Lesley decided she would stay in school and become a college professor – and we hope to support your child’s interests through visits to libraries, museums, parks and historical sites, and wherever else their interests may take them. As they grow into an adult, we will be happy and proud that they picked their own path, and have explored life to the fullest.

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What We will tell Your Child about You

We will always be open with your child about you and your family, and will help them to understand their unique and amazing story as they grow up. We will tell them how they have more than one loving family. We hope to have an open adoption, and per your preferences, we would like to ensure that your child understands their story, and knows their birth mom and birth family. We want them to understand your love and tremendous heart, and your selfless, brave, and loving decision to expand our families.

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When We Hold Your Baby, These are Our Thoughts

Celebration and incredible gratitude! When we think about you, we can’t wait to celebrate all that your child has accomplished, the dreams that they are exploring, and just the everyday things that they do. We hope you will know how amazing and loving we feel you are, and the value of your identity to your child. We are all one big family, and we do want you to know what your child is experiencing and learning about the world around them.

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