Welcome! Meet:

JJ + RJ

NCAA Gymnastics Assistant Coach / Creative Director (Design)

Maryland

Caucasian

All About JJ & RJ

Hey there! We are JJ and RJ! Thank you for taking the time to learn about us and our will as prospective parents!

About JJ

Athletics has been a huge part of my entire life.  As a kid I tried a lot of different sports, but I ultimately chose gymnastics because there is no feeling like flipping through the air!  My coaches and athletics shaped my life so much that I knew I always wanted to make an impact on young people through physical activity.  I am currently a college gymnastics coach and truly appreciate the importance of my responsibility of coaching young people in sport and teaching them how to become successful adults in the real world.  I chose this occupation and followed through with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education.  I truly enjoy my job and wake up excited for what the next day will bring. 

In my spare time I love to hang out with friends and family, play games, do watersports, kayak, hike, and go camping.  I enjoy being physically active and trying to find new ways to stay healthy and have fun at the same time.  And of course, we always try to bring our dog on all our excursions!

Working with young people through my entire career is what has made me always want to have a family of my own.  I cannot wait to be able to raise a family with my husband by my side, and to be able to have so many fun family outings together!

About RJ

Growing up, you would never see me without a sketchbook and a toolkit of colored pencils. I was constantly creating comic books that brought smiles to the faces of my family and tears to their eyes from laughing so hard. Anything that would brighten someone’s day, is what was always top of mind. That evolved into making people’s lives better through designing, which is how I ended up with a bachelor’s degree and a career in Industrial Design. My knack for always asking questions and touching everything down every isle, just to see how it worked paid off as that’s what I do now for a living. I guess the saying, “embrace your inner child,” proves correct with me every day!

With my career, I can work from home most of the week. Which really makes our pets happy as they get random kiss attacks and snuggle sessions throughout the day and would allow for some fun mid-day adventures with a child. In addition to designing, I also participate in my company’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion department where I help explore opportunities that will continue to drive growth and recognition of all members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Creativity, curiosity, and compassion (along with a few sprinkles too many of “punny” humor) make up a lot of who I am and what I’ve always envisioned sharing with a child. As a child, I’ve always asked my parent’s questions – now, I can’t wait to finally be the parent on the receiving end of them.

Why Adoption?

In 2020 following our wedding, with Covid-19 putting our honeymoon on pause, we decided to officially start planning for our family to grow. With our original plan of IVF falling through after complications with our gestational carrier, we decided to shift our focus towards adoption – because nothing would stop us from opening our hearts and sharing the life and love we have to a child.

Family & Home

Our Home

We live in a beautiful welcoming neighborhood full of families in the suburbs of Baltimore.  Our neighborhood was built in 1955 with a family atmosphere in mind including sidewalks throughout and a neighborhood pool.  We purchased our home in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic after it had been recently flipped, and we have truly made it our own!

Our home is fully updated, but we love to keep it fresh and often do small aesthetic changes to keep it bright and fresh.  It’s our goal to have the greenest and best manicured lawn in the neighborhood!  Our backyard is covered with grass, enclosed with a privacy fence, where we enjoy much of our time with our dog.  We love grilling and eating out on our patio on those sunny days, and we get plenty of use out of our gas and wood burning fire pits, surrounded by friends!

Our neighbors are incredibly friendly, and we love the growing diversity in our community.  Our next-door neighbors have a five-year-old boy who has been so gracious to even host us at one of his pizza parties!  The newly remodeled elementary school for our neighborhood is within walking distance from our home and has multiple big fields as well as a playground.

We truly love our location. Our neighborhood is welcoming, safe, and well-maintained - with the added perk of being right between Baltimore City and Annapolis!

Our Family

A sense of family is incredibly important in our life.  We have been blessed to both have grown up close in relationship and location to much of our family.  We each lived in smaller towns where our family all lived within a few miles. 

Although we do not live as close to our family now, our relationships are still as strong as if we did.  We drive to see our families at least a few times per year, and they come to visit us a few times every year.  One could say we share visiting responsibilities quite well! It helps that we’re used to embarking on road trips, and make sure that every trip is as exciting as the next.

Our parents are extremely supportive and cannot wait to become grandparents!  We speak to our parents daily, and JJ’s sister recently moved down to the area for a new career, and we get to see her very often.  We love seeing RJ’s sister and spending time with our beautiful nieces as well!

Who says family is only created by blood?  Not us!  We have created some incredible friendships over the past few years, and these have built an even larger support system that immediately surrounds us.  We have expanded our “family” with many diverse individuals, including multiple French speaking friends which has even made us start to become bilingual! 

The support of our family and friends spreads far and wide, and we can’t wait to see their eyes light up when they see our expanded family!

How others describe me

How do I describe RJ?

RJ is an incredibly creative and caring individual.  RJ’s artistic mind never ceases to amaze me!  He can put anything that’s in his brain into an image or words on paper.  He is also an impressively talented singer and every time I get to hear him sing, I get goosebumps.  RJ cares so deeply for all of the people around him and would go out of his way to help anyone.  He has very strong relationships with all of our friends and family, and all of the kids in our life gravitate to “Uncle RJ” for play time because of his imagination and infectious smile and laughter.  RJ has a silly sense of humor with his dad jokes and puns and is always the life of a gathering.


How do I describe JJ?

Think about the most selfless, caring person you’ve ever met in your life, then multiply that by 10 - that’s JJ. He has such a caring energy about himself and is always making sure that the people he cares about are taken care of and happy. He also has a pretty child-like, playfulness to himself. Always giggling at my stupid jokes and smiling whenever he sees a child or a dog, JJ always knows how to brighten someone's day. He is surprisingly competitive too! Watch us play a game of Phase-10 together haha! JJ is a gentle soul who appreciates the simpler things in life, which is something that I wish the world would take inspiration from.

how we met

How We Met

Let’s take a trip to the summer of 2017 where we met online, like most millennial couples do these days. Prior to meeting, we both moved from separate states back to where we grew up. It’s almost as if the universe brought us back to the beginning so that we could build a new story for the future. To break the nerves, our first date was filled with conversations about our childhoods and what our plans were for the future over a spaghetti squash dinner – children were a huge part of that conversation.

A few more dates went by, and we began to realize that our relationship had the potential to be the one to seal the deal. Our relationship continued to flourish over crossfit classes, countless laughs & inside jokes which resulted in our tear-filled engagement at the end of 2018. Fast-forward to the summer of 2020, love was sealed as we were married during a global pandemic – a picture perfect wedding with some impromptu details neither of us dreamed of.

Advice to Future Child

Always be “you” and love yourself.  We’re so proud of you for all of your accomplishments and bravery.  We will always support you through everything you ever want to be, accomplish, or work towards.  If you can truly love yourself, you will be surrounded by other people who love and see the authentic you.  Your strength will allow you to push through those hard days, and we will always be there to pick you up whenever you need a little extra help.  Time is precious, so always enjoy every moment to the fullest.  Keep your eyes open and see the beauty in the world, because there is so much of it.  Allow people into your life and heart, and explore the world with them.

Perspectives on Open Adoption

We have learned so many benefits about open adoption.  The more people in the world who can show love to the child will always be beneficial for the child, birth parent/s, and adoptive parents.  We understand that there may be challenges that come along with an open adoption, but we know the benefits far outweigh those challenges.  We are happy to work together to build and maintain a relationship with any birth parent who would like to be part of an open adoption.

Favorites

JJ
  • Favorite Movie: Jurassic Park
  • Favorite Holiday/Tradition: Halloween!  We decorate our home with lots of lights, decor, and a fog machine!  We set up a fire pit and friends come over to take their kids around our neighborhood and help us give out candy!
  • Hobbies/Interests: Outdoor activities - water skiing, tubing, hiking and camping.  I love hanging out with friends and doing seasonal activities!
  • Dream Vacation: Madeira, Portugal
  • If I Could Choose a Superpower: To fly!  From doing gymnastics throughout my life and coaching it, I loved flipping in the air!
RJ
  • Favorite Movie: Twister
  • Favorite Holiday/Tradition: I love Christmas - family is all together and SO much good food! Don’t even get me started on the decorations!
  • Hobbies/Interests: sketching, hiking, camping, hanging out with friends, singing and listening to music, watching NASCAR and F1
  • Dream Vacation: South of France - I need both history and beaches!
  • If I Could Choose a Superpower: ability to control the weather

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