Hello! We are Chris and Aly from Stafford, Virginia along with our son, Ethan. Thank you for taking the time to learn about us. Whether you are considering us or another adoptive family, we truly wish the best for you and your child. Family means a lot to us, in many ways. We’ve found that being family doesn’t have to rely on genetics or blood relations. Instead, family means those we cherish most and hold close, those people we love completely and unconditionally. We feel that through love and kindness, there is an awesome potential for all of us to forge a unique connection based on the love of a child, and for that child to grow and thrive in an environment founded on love and rooted in family.
Dear Birth Mother...
We have always known that we’ve wanted children together, since we first met. Both of us grew up with siblings, cousins, and plenty of other extended family, and our vision of the future mirrors that mental image of a “chaotic household”. Adoption has always seemed like a natural method of growing our family, and we completely embrace the opportunities it brings. We know absolutely that our hearts are open to love children that are not related to us biologically, and we certainly both know that we have a lot of love to give children, whether born into our family or joined a little later.
In 2010, while Aly was finishing her college education in Portland, Oregon, Chris had just started college in San Diego, California after spending almost eight years deployed overseas as a U.S. Marine. One of Chris’ younger brothers and his wife invited Chris to a formal dinner gala back at their hometown in Portland, Oregon. They also invited another guest to their table, Chris’ sister-in-law’s best friend, Aly. To this day, they swear they were not trying to set us up, but after we met each other that evening and spent a night out on the town, we couldn’t stop thinking about each other. A year later, Aly graduated from Portland State University and moved down to San Diego to live with Chris, and in January of 2014 we were married in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
Fast forward eight years to 2020, when we welcomed our adopted son, Ethan, into our lives, and that’s where we’re at now.
About Chris, by Chris
I am the oldest of four brothers and we grew up in Oregon City, Oregon, a rural city in the green countryside of the Pacific Northwest. I was surrounded by farms, disappearing after school with my brothers and our friends to run around in fields and bike through the woods. I did well in school and participated in plenty of activities, as my mom encouraged a love of the musical arts and my father kept me involved in sports.
Rather than attending college immediately after high school, I felt a drive to serve, to do something bigger and grander, so I joined the Marine Corps in January 2004. I would not be the person I am today without it. I attended college a little later in life to study Electrical Engineering. Graduating in 2014, I was commissioned in the Marine Corps as an officer to continue my military career. I still work as a Marine, currently a military intelligence specialist. I’ve reached a point in my career where I'm afforded the flexibility to put family first and experience the joys of raising children together with Aly. Once again, I feel the pull to be part of something grand - so here we are now!
More About Chris, by Aly
Chris is the most supportive, loving, and caring person I know. He takes the time to do all of those little, yet amazing things for me every day, like waking up early to let the dogs outside so I have a little extra peace and quiet. He is also adventurous, always keeping our lives interesting. He is constantly dragging me out of my comfort zone and helping me to experience new and exciting things. While I am a bit of a worrier, Chris is very calm and thoughtful. Chris is truly my better half, and I couldn’t imagine my life without him. It has been a joy to watch him become such an incredible father to our son, and I know that he would be thrilled to welcome another child into our lives.
Fun Facts About Chris
- I played tennis through High School, and it was during one particular match that I had my two front teeth knocked out!
- I’ve lived for at least a year or longer in five different foreign countries
- One of my favorite authors is Isaac Asimov. Besides science fiction, I enjoy historical fiction and nonfiction.
About Aly, by Aly
I grew up just outside of Portland, Oregon, and was lucky enough to be raised by two sets of wonderful parents. Because they lived so close together, I was able to split my time equally between houses while growing up. A middle child with two brothers, I am extremely close with my family, and we all make an effort to visit each other regularly.
In college, I studied biology, and after graduating I moved to San Diego to live with Chris and work for a bio-tech company. After moving to Okinawa, Japan for Chris’ work, I transitioned to my true passion of working with animals. Since moving back to the U.S., I have continued working with animals and currently work as a behavior and obedience trainer for dogs, having previously worked at various veterinary clinics, animal rescues, and humane societies, focusing on animal care and fostering. I have always known I wanted to be a mom, and although I love my work with animals, being a mom is my top priority. I look forward to growing our family, and growing with the experiences that come with parenthood.
More About Aly, by Chris
Aly is the heart and soul of our relationship. She is caring and giving, almost to a fault. Fun, playful, and almost always willing to indulge in my crazy ideas, she has untold emotional strength and endurance, and limitless empathy. She is a much better person than she’ll ever admit. Her natural inclinations towards motherly love and care are readily apparent in her attitude and demeanor towards not only our own son, but also the children of our relatives and friends. Her professional life reflects this, too, rooted in the love of animals and the genuine care for their wellbeing. Although she can be a bit overly worrisome sometimes, it is always genuine and heartfelt compassion that leads to it. She is a wonderful mother to our son, and I know she would selflessly welcome another child into her arms with absolute love and compassion!
Fun Facts About Aly
- I love rescuing and fostering animals, in particular bottle-fed babies. I’ve done puppies, kittens, and rats, and have loved them all!
- My favorite movie genre is horror!
- Despite being left-handed, I do many activities with my right hand dominant, to include most sports
- I like to collect salt and pepper shakers
List of Favorites!
Chris: Dungeons & Dragons
Chris: James Bond (any)
Aly: Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Chris: Carrot Cake
Our Hobbies & Interests
Admittedly, with a three year-old toddler at home, he consumes the majority of our free time. We absolutely love it, though, doing everything from playing soccer in the front yard, working on riding a trike, going to swimming lessons, visiting the zoo, to adventuring out to local parks. We all love spending time outdoors, whether that’s going to the beach, camping in the woods, hiking through the mountains, or just running around and goofing off around the neighborhood. We are all particularly fond of camping, and our bucket list includes visiting every U.S. National Park. We also all love our dogs, and try to include them in as much of the activities as possible, too!
When afforded downtime to ourselves, we enjoy playing board games and watching movies. Chris enjoys puttering around the house and yard doing various work and projects, tinkering with electronic devices and old video game consoles, as well as playing video games and tabletop roll playing games, such as Dungeons & Dragons, with his family and friends. Aly likes crafting, particularly with fabric and vinyl. Whether sewing together a quilt or personalizing all sorts of gifts for others, she loves going that extra mile to show she cares. Neither of us can wait to introduce these fun activities and hobbies to any children in our lives, as they grow and become more curious and involved in the things we do!
Our Favorite Family Activities
- The park
- Board games
- Relaxing at home
Our Home and Community
We live in Stafford, Virginia, which is about an hour south of Washington, D.C. Our home is a two story, four bedroom house on a dead-end road in a small and quiet neighborhood, and right next door to the local high school. We are close to a few large city parks, and only a few miles away from some great forests, campgrounds, and hiking trails. We have a backyard where the dogs love to run around and play, a swing set and slide, and children's toys littered everywhere. We look forward to keeping active outdoors and the coming years filled with youth sports and community activities. We also enjoy volunteering at the local animal shelter and we look forward to a family life enriched with community service.
We have three amazing rescue dogs, Cali, Loki, and Churro. Cali, a Golden Retriever mix, joined us when we previously lived in Virginia in 2015. Loki, a Japanese-breed mix, joined our family a couple of years later while we lived in Okinawa, Japan. Churro, a mixed-breed from Puerto Rico, is the most recent addition to our family, joining us just last year. Cali has the most experience with children, and loves playing and being the center of attention. Loki enjoys quiet-time cuddles, and Churro still has his energetic and dorky puppy energy.
Meet Future Big Brother, Ethan
Ethan is our kind, joyful, and incredibly energetic 3 year old son, adopted in 2020 from his wonderful birthmom in Ohio. The two and a half weeks we spent quarantined in a hotel with a newborn infant (to include over the 4th of July weekend) seemed like forever, but it was infinitely worth it. He’s curious about everything, will never pass up a playground slide, cares deeply about all his friends from daycare, and is crazy about dinosaurs!
Our Family & Friends
We both hold our families very dear, and keep in touch with our immediate and extended families, to include aunts, uncles, cousins, and all other manner of relatives. Although we live in a different state than most of our family, we make regular trips back to Oregon to visit, and we have family stay as guests in our home throughout the year, as well.
Aly is very close with her dad and stepmom, her mom and stepdad, as well as her two brothers. Her family gets together for birthdays and holidays, and frequently visits us throughout the year.
As for Chris, his parents are always more than willing to host us when we visit Oregon. Of Chris’ three brothers, we probably see the ones that live in Oregon and Washington the most. As for Chris' other brother and his wife, we love spending time with them and their four kids when our paths cross. All of us stay close through occasional visits, social media, video chatting, and all the other ways we keep in touch.
When it comes to friends, we have a rather diverse group, including those from our Oregon hometowns, those we’ve met living in San Diego over the years, as well as those met through our travels with Chris’ job in the military. Most of our friends are married, and a few have young children of their own. Based on our son’s experience so far, we can say with absolute certainty another child would be loved and cherished by all.
Our Favorite Family Traditions
All, of course, made better with plenty of friends and family!
- Halloween parties and candy hand-outs, costumes are mandatory
- Thanksgiving feasts featuring outside the box main dishes such as duck, ribs, chicken wings, homemade pizzas, or turkey sliders
- Christmas Eve with fancy dinners and gifts
- Christmas Day brunches and gifts from Santa, relaxing at home in holiday pajamas
- New Year’s Eve parties featuring plenty of board games, food, and drink
Thoughts on Parenting
First and foremost, we believe parenting is all about love. We believe that firmness coupled with fairness, compassion, trust, and discipline, which are all born of love are important components of family life. Due to life’s uncertainties, the family should be a rock-solid foundation that can always be counted on and believed in. Growing up, neither of us ever once doubted our respective parents, or our love and trust in our families. We sincerely hope and strive to be able to replicate that level of unquestionable love and support for our children. We also both believe that parenting from a place of respect is important, and we realize that children will react and learn from our examples. We know that children must feel free to experiment and explore, and be able to make mistakes in a safe, supportive environment.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know us a little. We realize that you probably would not be reading this if the path before you were clear or easy. An inspirational quote comes to mind: Life can be hard, but you can chose your “hard”. Adoption is hard, but unfortunately the alternatives are also hard. The fact that you’re reading this means that you are at least getting to choose your “hard”. No matter what you decide to do from here, we wish you and your child the best, and please know that our hearts go with you in your journey.