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At a wedding
we’ve always leaned on our love and support system to allow ourselves to grow and relearn one another
Hi, We’re Ashley and Andre, We want to thank you for taking the time to read our letter as you are going through this adoption journey. We will not pretend to understand the struggles and painstaking decisions that you are going through right now, but we know that you know that you will make the decision that is best for your heart and your child. We hope that this letter gives you a glimpse in to our everyday lives, and that you feel comfort in knowing our story. Although we are only 34 and 35 years old, our story began in high school. You’ll come to know that through the years as we have evolved, we’ve always leaned on our love and support system to allow ourselves to grow and relearn one another. It’s that foundation of acceptance, and honesty that has allowed our lives to go wherever our path leads us. Through the years as our family has grown to include our 5 year old daughter Andrea, we felt that our family was not complete. It is also the journey that has lead us to you. We want you to know that wherever this journey collectively takes us, you are possibly forever in our story.
A little about Ashley
Whenever I can, I mentor current students, and I am fortunate enough to have a seat at the table where I can challenge some of the people making the rules on situations that seem unjust.
I’m going to write in the first person because let’s face it we’re getting super personal. My life hasn’t been a storybook, but it’s given me a lot of the strength that I have today. My parents also met in high school, and I think it gave me a warped sense of fairy tales as a child, that I’ve come to learn is not so true as I’ve become an adult. I grew up in NY the youngest and had 2 older brothers. We were a working class family, and my dad worked 6 days a week to provide for us. I don’t think I could have been happier as a child until I found out that my mother was sick at the age of 7. She had had a complication from a previous surgery she had when I was younger, and it had never been resolved. She passed shortly before my 10th birthday, and I was just forced to grow up in a different lense than a lot of my peers. I didn’t sweat the small things, because I knew that there were things that could be so much worse. I chose to bury my head in my books and in my sports, because that was how I chose to cope. My brothers had one another and my father always kept me extremely focused. My focus paid off and I received a scholarship to a prestigious middle school which opened my eyes to a world I never knew existed. The kids at my school lived a life that I had only ever seen on television, and from that moment on I knew that not everyone gets to play by the same rules. I learned their rules, knew the rules I grew up with, and I’ve used it to navigate my way through my career. Seeing this disparity of wealth has always also made me a huge advocate for my community. I’ve always been focused on giving some of this knowledge I have been able to receive to others, and make sure that I use my position to open doors for other people. The biggest disadvantage our community has is that we aren’t taught the rules in the first place. Whenever I can, I mentor current students, and I am fortunate enough to have a seat at the table where I can challenge some of the people making the rules on situations that seem unjust. My father has always said, I became a social activist at the age of 5 when someone told me what a petition was. I never sat by and watched someone be mistreated, I’ve always used my voice, and it’s something that has served me well. Any opportunity that I have missed for using my voice or being honest is a situation that I wouldn’t want to be a part of. Generally I would say that even people who dislike me will always tell you that I’m an honest person, and I’m ok with that.
A little about Andre
Being the middle child I was pretty much always the mediator in the family.
I grew up in NY with an older and younger brother. Being the middle child I was pretty much always the mediator in the family. Having two brothers was good. We laughed a lot played, video games, and were close. We lived in a project building where everyone helped out one another. All the kids played outside and all the parents looked after everyone’s kids. My parents divorced when I was 9, and we had to move to Connecticut with my mom. My mom worked 2 and 3 jobs at a time to move us to Connecticut. It was a really different town and I just focused on my sports. I was really good, and I broke all sorts of records at my new school. I was popular, but I never felt I belonged there. Seeing my parents work so hard I just try to do right by them. Help out whenever I can. Make small things easier for them. My dad always instilled in me to stay focused. Don’t be a follower and always do what’s right so that’s just how I try to live my life. Just take care of those you love and be a good dude. People always describe my personality as quiet and polite but mostly I just like to say I’m listening. I’m an observant guy, and I speak up when I need to. It’s gotten me where I need to be and served me well so far.
Ashley and Andre at their wedding
Children learn how to love from the way they see their parents love one another, and we make sure that we put a primary focus on the way that we relate to one another so that our child knows that no matter what situation occurs that we approach any c
Although Andre and I balance one another’s personalities, the thing that has always been the glue in our relationship is our values. We were both raised to honor family, celebrate the beauty of our differences, and to lean on our support system through hard times. We were both raised in Christian families who placed a strong emphasis on building a personal relationship with God. Ashley’s grandfather actually built her family’s church in Virginia, and as with any family you know it’s time to clean up when you hear the gospel music playing on the weekends. As a couple we place our core values in making sure that we always start with love. Children learn how to love from the way they see their parents love one another, and we make sure that we put a primary focus on the way that we relate to one another so that our child knows that no matter what situation occurs that we approach any conversation with understanding and love. Another core value is the value that we add to our communities. As African-Americans, being mentors in our communities to help young adults reach their full potential is extremely important to us. At any age, it is possible to serve your community with acts of mentorship and fellowship. We want to raise our children to love, respect, and give back.