Erica + Chris
Thank you for your interest in getting to know us. We will do our best through the words and pictures in this book to show you that the two of us are truly something special. We hope that by its end you'll come away feeling like a part of our family and can see us as part of your story as well. The choice you are facing right now is inconceivable. We can't imagine the difficulty of your situation, but we recognize its magnitude, and we respect and admire you for considering adoption for your child. Your bravery and selflessness are without equal. If you decide that adoption will provide the best life for your child, be confident in knowing that the family you choose will be the right one for them. We hope that no matter the path you take, you are surrounded by those you love and have the support you need. If you choose our family to parent your child, we will dedicate our lives to enriching theirs, showing them love each and every day, and doing everything in our power to keep them happy, healthy, and safe.
Soon after marriage we began to think about starting our family. Our dream was to have children; to watch them grow and play, to guide and teach and learn from them. To share our love. We tried to have a child on our own, but after years without success and several rounds of IVF it became clear that there was a different plan for us. We have many people close to us whose families had opened their hearts to them as infants, and we are so grateful to have them in our lives. We knew we wanted adoption to be part of our family story too. When our extended families get together, it crosses genetic lines and bridges biological gaps. Friends and neighbors are intermingled at holidays, barbecues, and birthday parties. At its core, family is love. The more, the merrier! We feel incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by such a loving group of people and simply cannot wait to share the love our family has to offer.
We met in early 2008 while working at the Apple Store. The magnetism was immediate. We were drawn to each other's sense of humor, adventure, and outgoing spontaneity. As our friendship blossomed, it became increasingly rare to find us apart. Even during periods of time where we were in separate relationships, we often double dated. So the only surprise when we began seeing each other in 2013 was that it hadn't happened sooner. The next four years were one endless adventure. We shared a love of traveling, and when we weren't on one trip, we were planning the next. In 2016, while crossing Paris off of our list of destination cities, Chris proposed to Erica on the steps of Sacr?-Coeur Basilica. We were married the following July in the presence of our many friends and extensive families.
Meet Erica by Chris
It would be an understatement to say Erica enjoys crafting. This may be a common hobby for many, but Erica is on a different level. This isn't your grandma's glue and glitter. She makes the most intricate pop-up birthday cards, to epoxy tumblers, to leather handbags that rival the quality of anything you'd see in store. She has sold many of her crafts on Etsy, and has contributed to a number of familiy wedding with her creative skill. She is serious about crafting and the things she makes are beautiful.
Family looks forward to receiving cards for special occasions, and gifts are often handmade. Some of my most cherished leather watch bands were made by her. She has an entire room dedicated to crafting, with meticulously organized bins, racks, and drawers, tools that no one has ever heard of, and machines that barely make sense. But she knows where everything is and is a master of each and every gadget.
Erica also loves to cook. Taking cues from her Nonna, everything is made from scratch. Themed birthday cakes for her nephews complete with brightly colored fondant. Sunday morning pancakes with chocolate chips - because she knows I'm a child at heart (and at the breakfast table). You won't find pasta from a box or sauce from a jar in our pantry. Erica's meatloaf is family-favorite and her lasagna is on par with her Nonna's (although Nonna will tell you differently!)
Erica loves baseball and one of her favorite pastimes is to catch a game. She's right at home in the cheapest bleacher seats, shouting and cheering on her favorite team. At away games we may be the rival fans, but she's loud and proud nonetheless, and she'll befriend those around us despite our allegiances. She can turn the least desirable seats into the most envied location and has been the star of the Jumbotron on more than one occasion. She has a favorite team T-shirt that is more than a decade old, and despite my trying to replace it she just won't give it up.
Erica is loyal through and through. Not only to her T-shirt, but to her family and friends. The line between the two is non-existent, and she will bend over backwards for them. She is selfless and true to those she loves. She has a very tight-knit group of friends that dates back to her years in the city. Alrought they have moved, they have not gone their seperate ways. There are miles between some and states between others, but they talk and text every single day, and will be there for each other at a moment's notice. It isn't an exaggeration that, on more than one occasion, they have been there for each other by means of a last-minute airplane ticket and an impromtu costume party.
Erica is truly one of a kind and I am so lucky to have her in my life. She is loving, considerate, and generous. Her presence will light up a room. She gives so much of herself andn will no doubt make an excellent mother. I can't wait to see how she takes on and redefines that role.
Meet Chris by Erica
Chris can often be found on weekends working on different projects around the house or woodworking. He loves to build picture frames and small pieces of furniture.
Having gone to school for audio production and sound design, Chris also enjoys writing and recording his own music. He has a number of guitars and synthesizers and will spend hours playing and creating music. He carries a field recorder wherever he goes (even on vacations) and will often stop what he's doing to record the sound of something that might otherwise go unnoticed. Many people have photos from their trips, but how many do you know that have a picture for their ears?
Chris is a bit of a prankster and loves a good practical joke. An old roommate and very close friend of his, Jesse, knows this all too well. When Chris and I were dating I looked forward to April Fool's Day, when Chris would attempt to pull off some elaborate stunt at Jesse's expense. From sending him on a scavenger hunt to free his laptop from a toilet to which it had been locked, to filling his bedroom with hundreds of balloons while he was at work, it always coupled meticulous planning with lighthearted humor.
To this day Chris continues to brainstorm his April Fool's mischief, while Jesse takes the day off from work and hunkers down behind locked doors. The two of them are like brothers and have an unbreakable friendship.
One of Chris' favorite events is an annual agricultural fair. He has been going yearly since childhood and to this day will not leave until we see the butter sculpture. A highlight of the trip are the many farm animals and animal shows. He will make a point to say hello to every pig and sheep. An elephant gives rides to children, and it is this very same elephant he rode at five years old. Stopping to look at every booth is mandatory. We can't miss any of the interesting food or unique crafts the vendors have to offer. There are rides, games, and music too. And of course the fair is a good excuse for a bit of junk food - there is no shortage of fried foods, from deep fried Oreos and ice cream, to funnel cakes and cheese curds.
Chris is the most caring and loving person I know, and I could not imagine navigatinglife without him. He is hardworking and has a strong moral code, but is also playful, lighthearted, and funny. He makes me laugh like no one else can. He has the heart and curiosity of a child and finds magic in every moment. I know how excited he is for parenthood and to build a family, and I cannot wait to see what an amazing dad he will become.
We live in a modest house in a rural, suburban neighborhood, with a large back yard and a small brook running through the front. We enjoy the privacy provided by the surrounding trees, but we are close enough for conversation with our neighbors when spending time outside. Our first few years here were spent making this home our own. We renovated every room from floor to ceiling, taking out walls and even rebuilding the staircase. Every room has its own character, painted with bright, vibrant colors. Our dads were happy to lend a helping hand, and taught us invaluable life lessons along the way. For example, a nail through a pipe on Christmas Eve will leave you with a mess on Christmas morning! Our mid-sized town is a short distance from the state's capital city. It's a terrific and safe suburban location with several parks, many restaurants, a hospital, supermarkets, and shopping. A bike and walking path runs through ours and into the neighboring towns. It cuts through forests and parks, runs along a lake, and has many picnic areas. It is great for a leisurely weekend walk. There are baseball, football, and soccer fields, and we love to cheer on our nephew, Ethan, at his youth football games. Go Hawks! The community is friendly and it's common to run intofriends and acquaintances when running errands or at the grocery store. We're proud to be culturally diverse, and our schools put emphasis on representation through artwork, literature, and history. We love the restaurants in the area and are regulars at several. A diner in the center of town is a local favorite. After a visit or two they'll know you by name. There is a popular drive-in close by, as well as a large entertainment center with bowling, mini golf, arcades, and much more. We love going to the nearby movie theater, and there's a large shopping center about 15 minutes from us. We are far enough from the city to have privacy and a shared sense of community, but not so far that we don't make regular trips. Having both lived there for manyyears, we have a great number of friends, favorite restaurants, and activities we frequently head in for. It is a great place for a date night, catching a baseball or basketball game, going to concerts, or to spend the day in the park. There are also many historical sites, museums, and an aquarium. We truly couldn't be happier with our location. We are close to family and have allof the amenities we could ask for. We chose this location with family in mind, and can't wait to make that a reality!
There are three members of our family that are excited for a sibling. Our cat, Killer, is a Himalayan with long white and grey fur. Don't let her name fool you - she's never been convicted! Her relationship with Erica predates Chris. Despite her intimidating name,she is just a talkative old lady. When she's not asking for pets, she enjoys sleeping, and sleeping, and sleeping. We also have two French Bulldogs named Breakfast and Bruce. They both recently turned two but are not related. Their personalities could not be more different. Bruce loves to cuddle and would like nothing more than to eat and nap. He will lay down on anything soft and promptly call it a day. He will do anything for a treat and if you say the T word in front of him, he won't let you forget it. Breakfast, on the other hand, never seems to run out of energy. For him, it's playtime all the time. He loves to play fetch, do tricks, and play tug with his toys. He will dart across the lawn after a tennis ball as long as you let him, and when he comes in from a good session he smiles like he's the happiest pup in the world.
We are fortunate to have much of our family live close by.
Most of Erica's side of the family lives in and around our town. Her parents and brother are a quick five-minute drive, and her sister, brother-in-law, and two young nephews live on the other side of town. Much of her extended family live in neighboring towns. Tiziana and Pompeo, Erica's parents, are happy, family-oriented people. Tiz, loves to host get-togethers, and dinners are frequent at their house. It's always a crowd and we typically need two or three tables to fit everyone. Before every meal, Pomp insists expressing gratitude with a toast. Her younger sister, Amanda, is fun, loud, and outgoing. She loves to hold summertime cookouts, bringing in additional family from her husband's side and lots of friends. The children love to play on their swing set while the adults play corn hole and card games. Erica's Nonna, the matriarch of the family, will insist on feeding you. If you stop by her house for any reason, you'd better be hungry. She's Italian through and through, and everything is made from scratch; sauce, pasta, sausages - if it's coming from her, it's authentic. This trait trickles down through the family. Erica, her sister, and cousins often spend weekends with Nonna Clarice, learning the "right" way to make meatballs or lasagna. We gather to celebrate birthdays and holidays of course, but more often than not we come together simply because we enjoy each other's company. Every summer we travel as a group to a small resort in a beach town not too far from us. And for larger gatherings we commonly hold private events at the family's favorite restaurant.
Chris' family lives a little further away, but still close enough for us to get together regularly. His parents, sister, brother-in-law, and all of his extended family are a 30-45 minute drive from us. His parents, Paul and Sue, love to bring the family together for dinners, games, cookouts, and parties. His sister, Jessica, is a nut for 90's pop culture, which is not hard to catch glimpses of in her sense of fashion. She has a witty sense of humor that will keep you on your toes. Her husband, Mike, loves the outdoors and the two of them are avid campers. Chris' mom is quirky and adores children. She works as a paraprofessional at Chris and Jessica's childhood school. Having volunteered for many years at the local library, she is always on the lookout for books to give to others. Much like Erica's Nonna, she will always try to feed you. It is a rule that you leave with leftovers. She can't tell a joke to save her life, but his dad will have you doubling over with his quips and one- liners. He's hilarious and has stories for days. A great handyman, he built the house they live in. He's retired now, but keeps busy with projects around the house. When he's not building something, he and a few of his lifelong friends write and record music together.
Everyone is elated at the hope of our adoption and can't wait to welcome a new little one into the family!
When it comes to traditions, we've got them all. One of our favorites is a Christmas tradition that stems from our love of travel. Our first trip together was to Nashville for a friend's wedding, and we stayed a few extra days to take in the city. While there we came across a Christmas ornament that we just had to have - a Santa Clause donning a cowboy hat, boots, and a lasso. It was silly and a fun way to commemorate the trip. From then on, we made it our mission to buy a Christmas ornament at every destination we travel to. When Christmas rolls around, we decorate the tree with all of the keepsakes we've collected and reminisce about the places we've been.
Every year, Erica's side of the family gets together for "Polenta Night." A pot of polenta the size of a five-gallon bucket simmers on the stove, and we take turns stirring until it is ready. When the time comes, the polenta is poured onto several large wood boards and topped with fresh sauce and Parmesan. The boards are brought out to the tables, and everyone gets a fork. We carve out our own sections on the board and eat and laugh and enjoy each other's company. Erica's family comes from Italy, and she and her siblings are the first to be born in this country. Her family arrived here with very little, and polenta was a common, inexpensive meal. The event is meant to commemorate and recognize the hardships of the past, and to be grateful for our friends, family, and where we are today.
A large part of Chris' side of the family comes from Hungary. Chris is also first generation American. His mother's side escaped the country during the Hungarian revolution and were eventually accepted into the United States. Every year in August, his family celebrates this with a "Coming to America" party. There is lots of Hungarian food and games, and we all enjoy each other's company.
A few other traditions that stand out are a yearly extended-family beach vacation, a group outing to a large agricultural fair, and the entire extended family abruptly breaking into a synchronized dance at weddings. There are many, many more traditions our families share - too many to list! But each and every one of them is deeply meaningful to us, and we are excited to share them and establish new ones of our own.
Travel is a huge part of our lives. Seeing new places and experiencing different cultures, food, and history are an outlet for our wonder. We love creating memories this way and when we return home, we choose our best photos from our trip and have a book, much like this one, printed to commemorate the experience. We have a decorative map on a wall in our house that allows us to place a pin on every country we've traveled to. We would love to one day run out of pins.
When we aren't traveling you're likely to find us walking our pups along the bike path, cooking together, or just keeping each other company while running errands. We keep ourselves entertained and are always laughing. In the car, we'll make up silly games, and we probably look like we're nuts when acting out a scene from a movie while at a red light or singing along to songs on the radio in our most cartoonish voices. We are best friends and really just love to spend time together.
Before You Go
Thank you for taking some time to read through our book and getting to know us. We hope you see us as a kind and fun-loving couple, with strong family bonds and devoted support system. If you choose us to raise and nurture your child, please know that theirs will be a home full of life, happiness, and unconditional love. We promise to provide a safe and secure environment, and to protect them from physical and emotional harm. They will know their story and as much of yours as you would like them to. Above all else, our pledge to you is the peace of mind in knowing your child will understand your sacrifice and be forever grateful to you for it.Together, we will make it our mission to inspire creativity and wonder, to encourage their passions, and help them define who they are and what they want to be. We will foster in them a sense of self-worth, and promote confidence, compassion, and instill a strong moral compass. We aspire, as parents, to open doors to intellectual growth through arts and sciences, to enrich their childhood with activities in sports and nature, and to give them every opportunity to build friendships along the way. We strive to raise a responsible, ethical, and self-sufficient individual. A person who loves themself and others. A contributing member of the community, and society at large. Lastly, we promise to have fun with them. To laugh and cry with them. To cherish every moment. We look forward to filling their lives with wonderful experiences and beautiful memories. We promise to always be present, and vow to put their best interests ahead of all else. We know parenthood will not always be easy, but we will do our best to handle life's challenges with grace. You can be confident in knowing that our family is a strong safety net, and your child will never know a fear of falling.