Jessica and I were both missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Germany when we first met. After the mission, we started emailing and calling each other on the phone. Jessica was at BYU and I was in Germany doing my civil service working with the non-profit German Child Protection Agency.
We are grateful and excited to be adoptive parents.
Through the many emails and conversations on the phone, we got to know each other very well. Since our family situations were similar, and because we both contemplated what to do next in life, we shared many thoughts with each other that made us realize that we had a lot of common experiences, ideas, and goals.
After a few months, Jessica came out to visit me in Germany. When I picked her up at the airport, it hit me how beautiful she was. On our second day together, I showed her lots of beautiful places in Hamburg: I took her on top of church spires, through a tunnel under the Elbe River, and to the harbor where we picnicked as we watched the ships departing. Throughout that day, I had a strong feeling to ask her to marry me. Three times I ignored it, since I had no ring and no plan on what should come next. But that night, after we had made dinner together, I felt it again as clear as day that I would want to spend all of my life with this wonderful woman. So I asked her if she would marry me. After the initial shock of that unexpected question, she smiled and said "Yes."
After 6 more months of a long-distance relationship, two more visits to the US and Germany respectively, and innumerable phone calls and emails (we actually printed them all), we got married in Washington DC on August 26th, 2003, the best day of my life! Even now, after almost 13 years, I still look at her sometimes and wonder how I could be so lucky to be her husband!
Jessica (36) is a former elementary school teacher who is now an adventurous mom to our seven-year-old son, while tutoring other kids once a week on the side. She loves sharing her life passions with Lukas while helping him discover his own life joys and talents. She enjoys hiking, archery, snorkeling, photography, and loves being outdoors as much as possible. Growing up in Virginia gave her a love of the woods and rivers, and she tries to get Lukas up a mountain, into the woods, or to the beach as often as time allows it. She sings in a professional choir once a week and looks forward to getting to sing in a major concert hall.
Jared (36), who was born and raised in Germany, loves being a dad, a high school teacher, and soccer coach. He enjoys playing sports and board games, hanging out at the beach, and playing Legos with Lukas.
As a German teacher, Jared really has a gift of reaching young people and motivating them to want to learn the language and also to become better people. As a result, the 2016 senior class voted him as Most Inspirational Teacher. In the community, his German Program is well-known and respected because his students can speak, read, and write at unparalleled levels.
As a soccer coach for the school, Jared led the team to its first league championship in seven years. His team is known for effort, attitude, and integrity on and off the field, because he not only preaches these principles, but lives by them. Whether teaching, coaching, parenting, playing sports, or playing board games, he always gives his all. The beach, the ocean, and camping are his places of respite where he recharges and enjoys being at peace with nature.
Lukas (7) is happy when he is outside: swimming, boogie boarding, horseback riding, hiking, and biking are just a few of his favorite pasttimes. He loves learning, especially about bugs, other countries, and sciences experiments. As a family, we love to travel, go camping, and spend time together at the beach or the pool. He loves to help other people! We have a neighbor with muscular dystrophy and sometimes she’ll call us when she has a hard time getting a necklace untangled, something unpacked, or something organized. Lukas asks to go with every time, and happily greets and chats with this kind woman while we help. We are so impressed by this strong, sweet, tender-hearted young boy. We cannot tell you how fortunate we feel to have our son Lukas through the courage of his birth mom who chose to place him with us. Having an open adoption has helped both us and his birth mom to continue building our relationship through visits, photos, and letters. We are grateful and excited to be adoptive parents again.