Q: Tell us about your home and neighborhood.
A: We live in a 1920’s bungalow in the suburbs. We have a backyard with a great deck for barbecues, a yard for games, and enough space to play with the dogs. Our neighborhood is full of families with young kids, most of whom walk to the elementary school that is about 2 blocks from our house. It is an active community with fun activities like "Kids' Night Karaoke" at a local coffee shop and music in the park during the summer. We also live within walking distance to multiple playgrounds, baseball and football fields, and a community pool. We also are able to walk to the downtown area of our city that has shops and a few restaurants that we like to eat at.
Q: When you have a 3-day weekend, what you like to do?
A: Our perfect 3 day weekend would kick off with a barbecue with friends. We love to grill on a nice night, so having friends over for food, yard games, and probably cards or a board game would be a great way to kick off a long weekend. If it’s winter we’d likely find a game, concert, play, or new restaurant to go to. The next morning we would get the dogs into the car and go find some hiking, either nearby or find a new place we haven’t been yet. This would be a great way for us to spend our first day in the long weekend. On our 2nd day, we would be trying to get out on the water. Both our parents have homes on a lake so we would want to be there with family. We would jet ski, tube, or wakeboard for most of the day. We would close out with grilling and sitting around a bonfire with the people we love. Our last day of a 3 day weekend would be our “chill day.” That means sleeping in, coffee and donuts, and relaxing just the two of us and the boys (that’s what we call the dogs). If it’s football season we would probably watch some games, otherwise it would be Netflix or movies. Our guilty pleasure food is pizza and ice cream, so we would close out our weekend with those two things before having to get back to reality.
Q: Do you have pets? If so, tell us about them.
A: We currently have two fur-babies, Paxson and Lyka. We got Paxson, a Siberian Husky, during our senior year of college after Andrew innocently asked if Justine wanted to “go play with puppies.” Since his arrival he has been a huge part of our lives. He shares our bed, rides shotgun in the car, and even pulled the ring bearers down the aisle in a wagon at our wedding. Paxson got a younger brother, Lyka, about 2 years ago. Lyka, a Husky/Shepherd mix, was rescued from a kill shelter so we did not know what we were getting in to. While he came with some bad habits (stealing chicken off the counter, opening garbage cans, etc) but he has a heart of gold. He is a 100 pound lap dog who wants nothing more than to cuddle in bed or share the couch with you. He loves to stand on the deck and keep watch over his neighbor children, even getting to play with them in the backyard sometimes. In addition to our 2 pups, we also have 5 horses out on a farm. Justine rides them every day and Andrew frequently goes to visit with Justine, spoiling them with treats when Justine isn’t looking.
Q: What do you hope to teach your child(ren)?
A: There are so many things we hope to teach our child as they grow up, but one of the most important things to us is how to love and care for others. It sounds so easy, but it can be incredibly challenging in today’s society with perpetual competition, social media, and constant focus on ourselves. It becomes easy to forget about our fellow human beings. Being nice and caring about/for others is something that we both are passionate about, and making careers out of, so it is something we really want to share with our child. Right along with caring, we want to teach our child about acceptance. Sadly, there is so much hate in our world, but we pride ourselves on having a house full of love for everyone regardless of race, creed, color, or sexuality. We want to surround our child with that same love and these values. Last, but certainly not least, we want to help our child become a strong individual who is willing to work hard and stand for what they believe in, even if it isn’t the “popular thing.” We want them to know that it is much more important to find and develop your passions and beliefs than it is to make money or follow the crowd. On a less serious note, we are both passionate about sports. Justine played volleyball in college and Andrew played basketball. Since graduating we have continued playing sports and hope to share our love for sports and athletics with your child.
Q: What will you tell your child about his or her birthmom?
A: We want to be very open about how our family came to be and the biggest part of that is the birth mother making the most selfless decision. We will tell our child about their mother and their other family, and how we couldn’t be more grateful for her decision. That she is a courageous woman and that it gave us you and created our family.
Q: How will a child enrich your life?
A: A child will bring so much happiness to our lives. The opportunity to shape and influence a human being will bring our lives an entirely new sense of purpose. We can not wait for joy and laughter that will be present in our home, as well as all the adventures that a new baby comes with.
Q: Describe your last vacation and/or daytrip.
A: We took our last vacation this summer with all of our family on Justine’s side. There were 34 of us that went down to the Dominican Republic. It was a big celebration of our family’s business being in business for over 50 years and Justine’s grandma’s recovery from her stroke over a year ago. It was absolutely amazing. We indulged in the culture and engaged with the people staying in a small town not in a resort. We spent our days snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking, horseback riding, going for dune buggy rides, and meeting locals and hearing their stories. We even had matching family shirts. We had a dance party one night and barbecue on the beach. We spent our days together talking about memories and watching Justine’s cousins’ little kids growing up and our nights laughing and dancing.
Q: Will you be a stay-at-home parent? If so, what are your day-to-day plans?
A: Justine will be a part-time stay at home parent. Well, my plan for the day will likely vary, but I am a very adventurous soul and tend to stay busy. We will likely start our day off with coffee, definitely coffee. We live a couple blocks from a few coffee shops, so I usually like to wake up in the morning and walk with the dogs to get coffee. As the weather gets colder, I tend to make coffee at home and sit and enjoy a peaceful morning with the dogs. Of course this morning ritual would now include our new bundle of joy. I also really enjoy running, so we would likely go for a run sometime mid-morning. Of course babies are unpredictable and schedules tend to help, so this is how I see it going although I have no expectations of how it will really go. I’ll just be happy being together. If the morning goes as planned, we’d go to our play group that might be anything from Mommy and Baby Yoga to other new mommy groups. On our way home, we’d run any errands we needed before heading home. If we don’t have a scheduled class, we’d likely meet up with grandparents or friends for a walk, coffee, or just a stop by to say hello. Our afternoon will likely consist of naps, cleaning, cooking, and just us spending time together. This would be an ideal day, but as I said I tend to have an adventurous go go go spirit, so we may go exploring to a zoo, museum, the farm, to see daddy at the hospital, or anything in between.
Q: Will you be returning to work? If so, describe your day-care plans.
A: Andrew will be returning to work full-time and Justine part-time. On the days that Justine is at work, our day-care plans include grandparents who could not be more excited and a daycare that provides a very enriched environment.
Q: When you close your eyes and see yourself holding your precious baby in your arms, what are your thoughts regarding his or her birth mother?
A: Thank you. We can’t imagine how difficult this journey has been, but will be forever grateful for your selflessness. Thank you for your strength, courage, and love.