Dear Expectant Parent,
We're Joseph and Andy. Thank you for taking the time to learn a bit about us.
We live in Oakland, California, with our cat, Kitty Pryde—named by Joseph for a character from the X-Men comic books. Joseph took Kitty in several years ago from a foster home, and she’s been a part of our lives ever since. She’s small, but she makes up for it with her rambunctiousness.
Family is important to both of us, and one of our core values. Joseph has an older sister, Sara, and a younger brother, Sam. Joseph grew up very close to his sister and brother, five cousins, aunts and uncles. Even now that we’re older, we spend more time with Sara and her husband Ramsey than probably any of our other friends. Joseph talks to his mom, sister, and aunt almost every day over the phone to catch up. Because they’re mostly in the Bay Area, we visit Joseph’s family every few weekends and hang out on the patio, or by the pool. In between, we all stay in touch with silly texts.
Andy also has a younger brother, Alan, who lives in LA near their parents’ house. We try to make it down to see them a few times every year to share meals, a walk in a local garden, or a trip to Disneyland. Andy’s tight-knit group of friends from middle and high school are more like family than friends, and very important to both of us.
We met in San Francisco in 2009, but not long after, Andy left for Philadelphia to study city planning in graduate school. When Andy came back to San Francisco two years later we found ourselves together again, and we’ve been together ever since. We married in 2017, in the back garden of a restaurant in Mendocino, a small coastal town in Northern California in a small ceremony with family and close friends. Andy’s best friend, April, officiated for us. Our good friend Roger made us a playlist for the entire day. You can have a listen too—we still listen to it from time to time.
We are also godparents to Matty, who’s turning 8 this year. Joseph met Matty’s parents, Bec and Peter, just a few months after they emigrated from Australia to the US, where Joseph worked with them at a startup company. Years later and right after Matty was born, Bec and Joseph worked together again at a different company, often at the kitchen table with Matty being passed back and forth between emails. Now that he’s older, Matty comes over to our house for sleepovers every few months. We eat pizza, play Mario Kart, and watch movies. They’re our family, too.
We know we have a great family together, and we love that each of us has been accepted into the family of the other. We want to share this loving community that has grown around our relationship with our children. We hope to grow our family in the next several years, having children both through adoption and surrogacy. We love the idea of our kids having many siblings, partly because we grew up so close to our own. We want our kids to have peers to look up to, to learn from and teach, to play with, and to support them as they grow up.
Though we and our kids may have come from very different backgrounds, we would be one family. We would also want our children to honor their birth parents as part of our larger extended family and history as well. It’s important to us that our kids know they belong in our family but also to where they came from. We believe that family is both the people you’re born around and grow up with, but also the people you choose to be a part of your life as you move through it.
Although we’re both from California, our families have different stories. Joseph’s family is Catholic with Portuguese roots on both his parents’ sides, but they’ve been in California for several generations. Andy’s grandparents were from China, but his parents were born in Taiwan, and came to the US just a few years before Andy was born. Andy speaks Chinese with his family, and would like to raise his children with his family’s cultural traditions: mooncakes at Mid-Autumn Festival, big dinners at Chinese New Year, shoes off in the house, and most importantly, honoring and respecting one’s elders.
Joseph loves literature and stories. He double majored in English and Religious Studies at UC Berkeley, and reads every night. Joseph finds that a lot of wisdom in life can come from books, and sometimes cares for the characters he reads about like they’re real people. Even though he has a hard time choosing, some of his favorite books are Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko, The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, and American Gods by Neil Gaiman. He also has a lifelong love for comic books. One of the things Joseph hopes to share with our kids is a love for reading, comics, and stories.
Andy sometimes reads X-Men comics too, but he’s really more of a nonfiction reader. He likes science books—about the planet, about animals, about astronomy—and books about cities, about history, and about interesting people. We would both read with our kid, share stories and books we love with him or her, and hopefully have him or her share some new ones with us, too.
Andy loves animals, something he and his brother both learned from their mom. One of his favorite TV shows is the documentary series Planet Earth. His friends and family think his spirit animal is the sloth, maybe because of his sleepy and gentle demeanor. Andy’s a bit of a dreamer, and often starts different creative projects, like creating a T-shirt design and selling it to his friends, learning about all the plants in our backyard, teaching himself Portuguese using a smartphone app, and creating a 3D model of our house.
Joseph has worked at small startup companies for several years. He’s worked for a company that was designing drones to protect elephants from poaching, a medical software company that created 3D images of the heart, and one that created a medical device to help people with peripheral artery disease. Joseph is now doing business operations consulting from home. Our plan is for Joseph to keep his work hours flexible while being a stay-at-home dad.
Andy has worked in a few different things too: he’s written headlines for an LA newspaper, and he was the editor of a website about San Francisco neighborhoods. He now works in urban development. His last project was a creative mixed-use district in downtown San Francisco that included the San Francisco Chronicle building.
In our off time we’re mostly homebodies, reading and watching TV shows together. We love Six Feet Under, Orphan Black, and Big Love. Joseph also loves to cook, and is often tackling new cooking or baking projects. Sometimes one of us will discover a new recipe that becomes a regular for us, like a noodle recipe by David Chang that we even shared as a recipe kit with Joseph’s aunt for Christmas. Now it’s known as “Spicy Christmas Noodles” even when we make it outside of Christmastime. We look forward to cooking and baking projects (and messes) with our kids as they grow up.
We like to travel every year or so to experience a different city and culture. Our most recent trip was to Mexico City, which we loved for its warm weather, rich history, amazing architecture, delicious food, and great energy. It was also a good opportunity for Joseph to use his Spanish. One of the reasons we both love Oakland is its incredible mix of cultures. We want to raise our children here to be part of this multicultural community, and also to be citizens of the world. We hope to teach them love for different cultures, curiosity for different places, and to always learn from different people around the world.
You’ve read this far. We hope this means that something about us has struck a chord with you. This can only be an incredibly tough time for you, and we can only say to you that we offer you our love and our hope for the future.
Joseph and Andy
P.S. You can see more photos of what we're up to here.
And you can reach us through our adoption attorney, Ami Sheth Sagel at Supportive Adoptions.