Video Editor & Animator / Recording Studio Manager
Hello! We are Travis, Ashlee, and Arlo! We are a creative and adventure-seeking family looking to continue our adoption journey once again! We absolutely love music (both listening to and creating it), the great outdoors, and sharing meals with family and friends. We believe in kindness and compassion towards all, lifelong learning, listening attentively and mindfully, guiding the grace to others, and always leading with love. We will celebrate our tenth wedding anniversary this fall! TEN YEARS! It's been a beautiful decade, to say the least. We both have large and supportive extended families, many of whom are very much versed in their own diverse adoption experiences.
The quick stats? Ashlee worked as a middle school special education teacher in an amazing K3-8th grade public school for a little over a decade. She recently made a shift to allow more flexibility in accommodating our growing family and is now a recording studio manager. Travis is a video editor and animator with an equally flexible schedule for an advertising agency that's just a bike ride away from our front porch. Our son Arlo is almost two years old and loves books, busses and his Uncle Phil-who lives just a short bike ride away as well. The Meet Cute? Even though we were acquaintances and worked service industry jobs across the street from one another for a few years we later met properly through a mutual friend. From there, our courtship began as good friends for another year–sending letters (and glitter bombs - our roommates were not super psyched when we'd receive mail from one another) back and forth while Ashlee taught in Madison. Ashlee eventually moved back to start her career as a Milwaukee Public Middle School Teacher, while Travis finished his video and animation undergraduate degree. Friendship transitioned into a relationship and we married four years after that, all the while starting to create lifelong traditions and bonds within our families and friend groups. This past fall we celebrated our ninth year of marriage! In this time, we have cultivated the beginning of our own family. We spend our days biking and hiking through the city always discovering new trails and parks, packing up the car to camp for a long weekend at one of the many breathtaking state parks, and even still find time to blend vocal harmonies in the songs we write and play together all the while making sure we share meals with our friends and family. All of these things, coupled with our passions that led to both of our different careers, have naturally revealed to us that we want to continue to share these life's joys and experiences with our own kids.
The path and the story that led us to adoption has been full of a diverse set of challenges: both dire and optimistic. After struggling to start a family on our own, we both came to a serendipitous realization that adoption was a consistent and marvelous thread in our lives. Growing up, we each had friends and family members connected to adoption in a myriad of ways. We have also had the distinct opportunity to serve as a support system for many of our friends navigating their own adoption journey. So, after a few arduous years of tests and treatments, we embraced the plot twist of infertility with a sense of acceptance and peace and began learning everything we could about the intricacies of the adoption process. In doing so, we began to deeply acknowledge a focus and a love for the experience of expectant parents; gleaning all we could from first/birth mothers and fathers who share their personal path and unique voice. In the fall of 2019 our son, Arlo was born. He is now a little over a year old and oh, what a joy he has been! We chose his name collaboratively with his birth/first mother when we met with her prior to his birth. Together we have formed our forever family which is very inclusive of both of Arlo’s birth/first parents. We couldn’t love him more–– and as a natural extension of him, we couldn’t love Arlo’s birth parents more. Collectively, they are vibrant, creative, resilient, and amazing people with hopes and dreams for their lives, and for Arlo’s future. We’re honored to be a part of this new family and are so excited to welcome more life and light in. Suffice it to say, it would be an honor to welcome you into our family.
We believe strongly in building and maintaining an intentional community. When we bought our first home five years ago, we were not only shopping for a house but also for a diverse and strong community in which to raise our children. Our two-story home was built in 1926 and is a classic bungalow with tons of original features along with some updated to bring in a modern touch. We installed a little patio in the backyard and often host campfires with friends and neighbors. We have a thriving flower garden that Arlo loves to help water. Arlo loves spending time in the backyard playing with the water table with rocks he's collected on recent hikes, drawing with chalk on the patio, playing with the "busy board" Ashlee's dad made him, and enjoying and goofing around on the jungle gym. We are only a few blocks away from several incredible city parks and many of the schools nearby offer bilingual programs. In the summer, we can buy delicious paletas right from our front porch! Last fall we installed a Little Free Library in our front yard. It's awesome! We have it well stocked with all kinds of books now. The neighbor kids are psyched. It's been cool to see how a little box of free books has helped create a sense of community and togetherness.
I, Travis, am the oldest of five in my family–– two brothers and two sisters! I was born to a very kind and empathetic mother and father who worked insanely hard every day of their lives to make sure their children had access to the opportunities and passions they sought out. The same can be said for my stepparents, family friends, and other mentors who helped along the way. I focused heavily on illustration and music in high school, and that carried onward through college. I earned an undergraduate degree in animation, video, and sound design from the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design and have put my diploma to practice ever since. I currently work as a motion designer for a creative agency in Milwaukee.
I, Ashlee, am the oldest of three and am very close to both of my siblings and am an Enneagram 2. While I was born here in Milwaukee, where both of my parents were born and raised, my family moved to a very rural area until I was in the 5th grade. After high school, I completed my teaching certification program at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and moved to Milwaukee to student-teach. I took a job as a middle school special education teacher immediately after graduation and continued teaching for 11 years at an incredible K3-8th grade public school. When we began to explore growing our family, I knew I needed to take a step back from the classroom and make space for more flexibility so that I could be fully present in the life of our children. I now work as a recording studio manager and it is perfect for this season of my life.
One of the very first things that struck me when I first met Travis was how incredibly fun he is! Every time I watch him sneak around the corner and snuggle Arlo, play and run around the yard with the neighbor kids, or see him transform himself into a human jungle gym for our nieces and nephews and all our friends’ kids, I am reminded of how he was simply meant to be a dad! He has a seemingly endless supply of creativity: from drawing to painting, animating, and songwriting-he simply never seems to run out of it! Travis’s empathy shows in how attentively he engages in conversations through his active listening. I love watching him engage in conversation with our friends, neighbors, family, and even strangers. Travis is extremely patient and selfless. His kindness is extended towards all those he meets and I am beginning to see those same qualities show up in Arlo’s budding personality.
From the first day we met, I knew Ashlee was one in a million. I was quickly drawn to her wit and ability to navigate any room with her very own style and grace. As our relationship has grown, I have seen these wonderful traits materialize in a multitude of different ways: from the tireless amount of effort she puts into making sure Arlo excels in his growth and character every day, to the evenings, after our boy is asleep, she spends writing handmade notes to friends and family in faraway places. Ashlee sees the best in all people first and foremost, and whenever a conflict presents itself she approaches it with a vast amount of empathy and patience, and perspective-taking usually reserved for saints. She is an unofficial stand-up comedian, a hard-earned molder of minds, the goofiest lady on the dance floor, and the most creative meal-maker in the Midwest. If we were working through a math equation here, it is safe to say Ashlee is an innate Mama by nature.