We live in a spacious house in El Sobrante, CA.
Joel likes to go running, sailing and tending to the garden.
Hermann enjoys reading, baking and playing board games
Joel loves to be outside and in nature. Hermann likes spending time in the kitchen baking or cooking.
Hermann and Joel are both from small towns. Joel grew up in Toano, Virginia, and Hermann in Hemmelte, Germany.
Joel helps people as an immigration attorney and Hermann tries to make the world a better place as a scientist.
We are Joel & Hermann from the San Francisco Bay Area and feel super lucky that we found each other twelve years ago. Hermann is from Germany and Joel from Virginia. We are both in our mid 30s and will be stay-at-home dads at first. We are adopting because we love parenting and want to expand our family. We admire your decision to consider open adoption as well.
We live in our own house and have plenty of room to share our comfy home with another child. Joel, as an attorney helping immigrants, works from home and Hermann works only 10 miles away. We spend time together as a family by going for long hikes and traveling or at home in our huge backyard, cooking a nice meal together, playing and reading. Joel has a green thumb and we share veggies from our huge garden with the neighbors. .
On special occasions, Hermann bakes amazing desserts, which we also often end up sharing with our neighbors.
Our home is near lots of fun things, such as huge preserves and parks in the hills and next to the bay with great trails and playgrounds. We can take advantage of all the amenities of a nice community such as libraries, swimming pools, farmer’s markets, bakeries, nurseries and other little stores. We are also close to a mini farm and a steam train for kids.
Close-by San Francisco and Oakland offer even more such as zoos, museums, theaters and of course the Golden Gate.
Joel is a devoted partner, father, son, brother and uncle. He has always been intensely curious about the world around him. He is gentle with our daughter and in general very sensitive, as he cares how his words and actions make the people around him feel. He is a strong person, physically and mentally, but at the same time loving and empathetic, as he has dedicated his life to helping others. Currently he gives immigrants a voice as an attorney, so they can stay in our country safe and sound. Joel loves to get out on the water, sailing or surfing, or enjoying nature by backpacking and gardening whenever he can.
In his spare time, you will find him running with our daughter (our running stroller gets lots of use) or spending time at the nonprofit sailing club in the Berkeley marina.
It has been great to parent with Joel! He is reading lots of books with our daughter and takes her everywhere in her carrier, be it one of the parks close to us, the neighborhood, the backyard or garden or the library. He talks and sings in Spanish with her, which she loves. He is also very musical playing the flute or piano and practicing his guitar skills.
My family calls Hermann the “baby whisperer” because he is so good with babies. He thinks up the best games and gets our daughter rolling in laughter. Hermann is also brilliant, but you might not know at first because he is so humble and easy going. As a scientist, Hermann truly cares about making the world a better place through his work. He spent years doing research to help fight cancer. He takes his work to heart but always maintains a good work-life balance. Hermann is an incredible baker.
Everyone raves over his homemade desserts. He was a ballroom dancer in college and is artistic. He designed our wedding invitations and this letter. One of Hermann’s favorite things to do on the weekends is to host our friends for dinner and play board games.
I can’t imagine a better person to parent with. It is as if he has magical abilities to make a child laugh or stop crying. He can often be found singing German kid’s songs to our daughter, pushing her on the backyard swing, or doing an impromptu art project that ends with our daughter covered in finger-paint.
We absolutely love and adore our daughter, Ella, who joined our family through open adoption. We have had a wonderful experience with her birthparents. We met them personally before Ella was born and continued to spend quality time with them and their extended families after the birth, in-person and via video chats. We continue to share a special connection.
Right now, Ella is super smiley. She blows kisses your way and enjoys flipping through books.
She will be very happy to be a big sister, as she likes playing with her friends and cousins. It will be great to have them grow up somewhat close in age and share the special experience of being openly adopted.
A message from Ella’s birthparents:
“Joel and Hermann made the adoption experience way better than we could have hoped. They were understanding to our situation and offered support throughout the end of the pregnancy. From flying out across the country to consistent updates, they are considerate and supportive of both of us, and importantly Ella as well. She is the happiest baby with them and we couldn’t have asked for better parents for her.”
We are so incredibly lucky we found each other from across two different continents, we have our own little family and our extended large and loving families, steady jobs that we also happen to be passionate about and a strong support network of friends. Nothing would make us happier than sharing our love and fortune with another child and sharing how positive an open adoption experience can be. Thanks for considering us, as you make this important decision.
Joel & Hermann