Hello! We are Lisa and Ryan from Alameda, California. We found each other in Ukraine while serving as Peace Corps volunteers, and fell in love over borscht and mix tapes. Now ten years into our marriage, we would love to start a family through open adoption. We have friends who adopted, and learned a lot from them about how they built relationships with their children’s birth parents, not to mention adapting to being first-time parents.
Like our friends, we not only want to open up our home and hearts to a child, but we hope open adoption will allow us to give our child a better understanding of who he or she is, as well as let us share with you how we are providing love, support, and stability in her or his life.
Even though it was fifteen years ago, we both remember the first time we met like it was yesterday: Lisa was giving a presentation to the new group of Peace Corps Volunteers assigned to Ukraine, and Ryan caught her attention by asking random questions. We lived in different towns about six hours apart, so we initially got to know one another better through online writing (or emails).
As our feelings grew deeper, we made it a point to see each other every couple of weeks. So our first ‘official’ dates involved playing guitar for each other and singing together, trying to hunt down a rare grapefruit in the outdoor markets, and enjoying (or sometime venting about) the wonderful strangeness of Peace Corps life. For two years while serving in the Peace Corps, we became each other’s support system. Lisa helped Ryan overcome the loneliness of the town where he lived, and Ryan in turn inspired Lisa with his creative approach to teaching.
While our Peace Corps experience was very fulfilling, the most rewarding experience was establishing our strong foundation as a couple. The years since then have brought us even closer, and we can’t wait to co-parent together! Bringing a child into our lives will only deepen our commitment to each other and to our family.
My favorite thing about Lisa is her sense of humor. I can’t think of a day since we’ve been together that I haven’t heard her laugh at least once. She’s a creative sort of person, and that comes out in her wonderful singing voice, guitar playing, and in the cooking and baking (especially bread) that she enjoys so much.
Lisa is also one of the healthiest eaters I’ve ever met, and I always joke that I’m going to live for an extra twenty years due to her healthy (and delicious!) cooking. She has always worked in Public Health, and currently oversees a program that signs people up for food stamps. Her job is only four miles away from home and is family-friendly, which will allow Lisa to be very hands-on with our son or daughter.
I think Lisa will make a fantastic mother. She never misses an opportunity to FaceTime with our niece Silvi, and always speaks to her with enthusiasm, understanding, and excitement. I can’t wait to hear her sing to our child, and do the things that she did with her own mother, like crafts and painting. I can also see her playing peek-a-boo, teaching words, and enjoying our child’s discovery of new things as she or he grows and learns.
Ryan is a deeply caring person, and has strong connections with his friends and family. He calls his parents every week without fail, and on weekend mornings while I’m still trying to string two words together, he’ll often be on the phone with a friend on the East Coast, making jokes while scrambling up some eggs.
Ryan loves making things with his hands, and is unafraid to tackle difficult projects. Once when deciding if we could stain our own floors, we watched a video that not only made it look complex, but was also explained by a guy with such a strong Irish accent that it was hard to make out what he was saying. I was relieved, thinking that this was clearly beyond our skill-level. But Ryan turned to me, looking inspired, and said, “We can totally do this!” (And we did.)
I love Ryan’s sense of humor, which ranges from very witty to downright goofy. He rarely misses an opportunity to have fun and be playful with our niece Silvi or our friends’ kids.
I know he will bring his sense of wonder and caring to fatherhood. He’s looking forward to family time in the mornings in our living room, finding ways to make our baby laugh and reading her or him stories at bedtime. I see Ryan playing with our child with a homemade wooden train or horse, taking walks around the neighborhood as a family (which he can do because he works for a small law firm and thankfully doesn’t keep ‘typical’ lawyer hours), spending time in the park, and helping our child understand the world he or she sees.
We live in a two bedroom house near parks and playgrounds, and have a sunny backyard that we’ve turned into a garden. The elementary, middle, and high schools are a short and safe walk from our home. We love that Alameda feels like a small town and has all sorts of traditions, like the Fourth of July Parade and festivals each year on Park Street (our ‘Main Street’).
We have a rescue dog, Ozik, who is a boxer/American bulldog mix. Ozik is a very gentle pet, and he loves people and kids and napping in the sun. When he gets really excited, he scrunches up his jowls and nose and wags his tail so hard that he almost falls over, which we both get a big kick out of.
We’ve been slowly renovating our home since moving in, turning each room into unique a space that we’ll enjoy as a family. The room that is to be our child’s bedroom was the first room we spiffied up after moving in. It gets lovely afternoon light and is warmly lit for bedtime stories.
Both of us also love music and almost always have something playing on our stereo when we’re home. We learned to play guitar in college and keep acoustic guitars sitting around various places in the house. We can’t wait to learn new songs together as a family.
We are closely connected to our family members, who are located in California and the Midwest. We talk on the phone often, do FaceTime, visit each other, and spend holidays together. Lisa’s mom, dad, and step-mom are all 3-6 hours away, and will offer us a lot of child-rearing support, as they did for our niece Silvi.
Some of the family traditions we’re looking forward to enjoying with our child are music, camping, fishing, and cooking. We love to be outdoors and look forward to camping and hiking trips as a new family. Yosemite National Park is one of our favorite places, and we can’t wait to show it to our child. Ryan and his dad try and go fishing a few times whenever we visit them in Michigan (even in December!), which Ryan’s grandfather used to do with his dad, and Ryan loves to explore rivers and streams in California. And then there’s Lisa’s family canning weekend: at least once a year, Lisa and her mom and sister (and now our niece Silvi) get together to can jam, pickles, tomatoes, and tuna, which involves a lot of story-telling and laughing. We’re both excited to include our child in these traditions that have become part of our family.
For us, raising a child is a chance to experience the world through new eyes and to grow even closer as a couple. It’s also a test of patience and the ability to function on little sleep, but put all together, we feel the whole package creates a life that’s more fulfilling (and messier, but hey, messy is interesting!). Parenting is an adventure that we’re longing to embrace.
Thank you for taking the time to read our profile. We hope it’s helped give you a sense about how much we are looking forward to being parents. Please feel free to get in touch with us through Adoption Connection by phoning/texting 415-355-4636 to learn even more. We hope to learn more about you too!
Lisa and Ryan