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Joe & Naomi
We are a young couple in Portland, Oregon and are excited and ready to grow our family. We adopted our daughter, Elia, at birth, and cannot imagine any other path. We hope to share our story and the kind of life your child would have as part of our family.
Adoption in Our Lives
We adopted our amazing daughter, Elia, three years ago. We cannot believe how much she is a part of us and the bond is stronger than we ever knew possible. She is growing beautifully into a smart, articulate (in Italian and English), creative, and strong-willed girly girl. She loves swings, fairies, big girls, being in any kind of water, and doing her violin homework. Above all, she loves books and often falls asleep with piles of books surrounding her in bed. She is game for anything and doesn't like to miss out on any activity she hears about.
Elia is Latina and Native American. Before adopting we read as much as we could on transracial adoption and have been very intentional about how we talk to Elia about race and different skin colors as well as the communities we participate in. We've become involved in the Native Youth and Family Center and Joe takes Elia to a weekly Native American play group. We've already visited the tribe that makes up part of her heritage and have started to build up our collection of art and books about Northwest Native Tribes. Elia attends a bilingual Spanish-immersion preschool, where all the teachers are Latina. And our local elementary school is Spanish immersion, with strong Hispanic cultural heritage in the curriculum.
We've been talking about adopting another baby and she's starting to wrap her head around it. She now talks about her baby brother/sister daily, especially as she sees her friends have younger siblings. She has a doll cradle in her room and regularly talks about how that's where the baby will sleep.
In 2013 we quit our jobs and lived in Italy for six months while Joe studied language and teaching. We have a wonderful connection to the Italian people and place. We returned for several months in 2016, with Elia, and were able to work remotely. We plan to return for extended periods throughout our future (and will likely mix it up with other countries), so our children will grow up experiencing life abroad and international culture.
We have both traveled extensively and spent time immersed in other cultures. Naomi lived in Honduras and traveled through Europe, Asia and Australia. Joe lived in Italy and traveled through Africa.
These travels informed our perspectives and remind us that people everywhere want the same basic things for themselves and their families. It also makes us appreciate the beauty and quality of life in our own backyard. We love to show off Portland and hope to visit all the U.S. national parks in our lifetimes.
Our Leisure Time
We try to make "down time" a priority and feel it is especially important for our kids because we want them to have time to play and explore without being overly programmed.
Together we love to putter around our house and garden. We go for long walks in the neighborhood (Elia is a champion walker and manages to keep up with us on her little legs) and cook and enjoy meals together (especially homemade pizza).
Joe is a big reader and covers everything from philosophy to poetry to fiction. He leads Portland's Italian conversation group. He runs regularly (including five marathons) and took up violin at age 29. He practices daily and now plays in a classical and bluegrass quartet. Elia requested her own violin at age 2 and now goes to monthly lessons with Joe and is, amazingly, starting to learn some basics.
Naomi is creative and artistic and loves home design projects and all kinds of crafts. She knits, sews, and makes jewelry and designs things for our house. For the last 15 years she's had an annual holiday jewelry show. She also loves to bake and is the go to baker for every holiday, birthday and wedding among our friends. Elia and Naomi have undertaken all kinds of creative kids projects and regularly make play dough, handmade gift cards, outdoor fairy garden scenes, and more.
Our House and Neighborhood
Our home is the most important place to us. It brings us peace, stability and reflects our values. We love house projects and have renovated almost every inch of our space. We built two additions on our house, which we currently rent out, but will allow us to grow into the space when our kids get older. We both love to nest and create great spaces and to host friends and family. With Naomi's background in architecture, the design of our space is particularly important. With our passions for the environment, our house is also extremely energy efficient - nearly net zero with 28 solar panels. We have a beautiful flower and vegetable garden.
We live in a quiet residential neighborhood, about 3 miles from downtown, close to a light rail line and on a major bike route (for easy access around town without a car). We know all our neighbors and there are many kids nearby. In the summer, we're always outside working on house projects, or in the garden, which is a great way to get to know our community. Elia's bilingual Spanish-English preschool is just down the street.
We can walk to grocery stores and shops and restaurants to meet most basic needs. A nearby community center is the heart of the neighborhood and offers an annual Easter egg hunt, ice cream social, fundraiser for our local school and a beautiful park.
Our Extended Families
From well before we married, it was clear our families were meant to be just as much as we were. From the early days of our relationship, our parents felt like old friends, and we all celebrated holidays together. Joe's nieces attend the small school where Naomi's mom worked and where Naomi went to school. Joe's cousin named his daughter after Naomi. Our parents traveled together last year. We are lucky to have great models for relationships. Naomi's parents have been married for 39 years and Joe's parents for 50.
We are extremely close to our families. Naomi's parents live 3 miles from us and watch Elia one day a week. Her brother, Josh, recently bought a house in town. Joe's sister and family also live in Portland and her two teenage daughters are some of Elia's favorite people. We have regular family gatherings where all 16 local family members from both sides get together in Portland.
Joe's parents and extended family live in Ohio. Every summer, his mom hosts Cousins Camp for her 10 grandchildren from across the country. One of Joe's sisters has 7 kids! They are excited for a new Portland cousin to join the Midwestern fun. Joe helped raise his nieces in Portland and before Elia's birth we took his three oldest nieces and nephews, from Ohio, on a two week cross country road trip.
From Us to You
Thanks for taking the time to get to know us. We can only imagine the challenge of deciding whether adoption is the choice for you and we appreciate the chance to share a bit of our story with you.
We are Joe, Naomi and Elia, a young family living a full and wonderful life in beautiful Portland, Oregon.
Some important things about us:
Our story began when a mutual friend introduced us in 2007. We married in 2011 in a small courthouse ceremony with our families. One of our greatest strengths is openness and communication. We have worked through the inevitable life challenges that have come our way by talking through them in a very open and understanding way. We are more in love that ever and are so grateful for the life we've created together and for the balance we bring to one another.
Our community is made up of family and old and new friends. Naomi grew up in Portland and is still close to many of her elementary and high school friends. We love to cook and have people in our home and regularly host dinners and celebrations that bring our friends together - a recent favorite is a dessert party where everyone brought a favorite dessert! We have 16 family members in Portland, on both sides, and we organize monthly brunches at rotating houses. Our friends all have young kids so our children will be in good company and have many playmates.
It is our hope that our children grow up confident, aware of their backgrounds and with the skills to pursue their passions. We are proud to watch Elia turn into a self-assured and opinionated little girl and expect the same from our next child. We've also learned that kids are who they are and we fully expect the fourth member of our family will come with his/her own opinions, interests and passions, which will add to our family.
We have set up our lives so that kids can be a priority and we are excited and ready to become a family of four. Adoption is already strong part of our family story and identity. We have a great, open relationship with Elia's birth mom, who we see a few times a year and regularly text photos and updates. Elia understands her unique story (as much as possible for a three-year-old) and is already proud to tell others she is Latina and Native American and adopted. We hope our next child feels the same sense of pride and identity in his/her unique story.
Thank you for taking the time to learn a bit about us. We wish you all the best.
Joe & Naomi
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