A + J intended parents ready to match

Dear Prospective Surrogate,

Thank you for your selfless decision to help others fulfill the dream of becoming parents.  Our appreciation for you and your intentions is immeasurable. Our names are A and J.  We are a fun-loving couple who live in Orlando, Florida. We built our dream home nine years ago with our future children in mind.  We enjoy hosting family from New York, Maryland, Australia, and Italy as often as possible.      

J grew up in upstate NY and manages the optics and machining engineering teams for one of the major defense contractors.  He has his BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Rochester, his MS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University, and his MBA from the University of Scranton. 

I (A) grew up in Long Island, NY, and split my time between running my own embroidery business and doing software consulting for a firm that supports nonprofit organizations.  I work exclusively from home.  I have my BS in Computer Engineering from the University of Central Florida, and my MS in Engineering Management from the University of South Florida. 

I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease about five years ago. When I have suffered from flares, the symptoms have been debilitating. We traveled the country looking for answers from experts in their field. The good news is that after a few years of struggles, everything is now under control. The bad news is that the medications I take, and for which we are grateful that work, are not safe for a baby during pregnancy. Additionally, it is suspected that there is a genetic component to this disease, but they have not identified what that is and therefore there is no test to screen for it. This has led us to accept that our path to parenthood is going to look a little non-traditional, as we will be pursuing surrogacy using donated embryos.

We are no strangers to searching out and finding life-changing relationships via profile matches; we met via eHarmony 15 years ago! At the time, we were both working for the same company, in the same building, just a floor apart from one another—and we had never seen each other before! We married just over a year later. We had a traditional NY-style Italian-American wedding at a beautiful golf course in Florida, surrounded by our family and friends who came to support us from all over the world!

Volunteerism and community involvement are important to us. We have raised three puppies as potential service dogs. Two (Trisha and Tanika) were released from the organization’s program, and we adopted them and kept them as cherished family members for 15 and 14 years, respectively. The third puppy, our sweet Derby, graduated with a young man who lost the use of his legs in a car accident. Derby helped enable his partner to leave his parents’ home and establish his independence. Together, they have lived all over the country and have participated in all sorts of adaptive outdoor activities. We stay in contact with them and their family and are very proud to have been a part of their journey. We have volunteered for many facets of the service dog organization (since 2002!) – from puppy raising and dog fostering to fundraising, events, and supporting the program’s participants. We also volunteer with Joe’s employer’s Day of Caring, which benefits an array of local nonprofits, and our homeowners’ association. We enjoy shopping for children in the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree program every Christmas!

We currently have two rescue dogs, Casey (~8 years old) and Renzo (~2 years old). We have recently adopted another 2 year old pup named Wyatt, who was released from the service dog organization. He was raised by friends; we were honored when we were asked to take him after she passed away and her husband realized his health was not good enough to properly handle and care for a dog on his own. All three boys are gentle snugglers who enjoy engaging with kids of all ages. We recently learned during a two-week visit with our youngest nieces how much our dogs love story time and “Elmo Slide” dance parties. Who knew?!

When we are not in the midst of a global pandemic, we enjoy traveling (and, particularly, the food that goes along with it). We are just as happy on road trips as we are cruising the Mediterranean and Hawaii. We have traveled on our own, with family, with friends, with and without dogs, and with and without kids! Our favorite place that we visited was Greece. Our next big trips will be cruising the Panama Canal and visiting family in Australia, with whom we are extremely close, despite the distance! Our proximity to the world’s most popular tourist destination is not lost on us; we spend a lot of time in the theme parks and at the resorts as well.

In our social circles, we are known for hosting two events each year: our “Christmas Cookie Hoopla” in December, and a pizza party for St. Joseph’s Day in March. While our in-person celebrations have been on hiatus due to the pandemic, we have previously hosted 90+ people at our Christmas party! Everyone brings cookies to swap (THOUSANDS of cookies) and we all enjoy an evening of food, music, and festivities. We set up an outdoor movie screen to play Christmas movies and a fire pit for toasting marshmallows. Santa has been known to show up and visit with the kids. One year, we tried to invite some reindeer, but it didn’t quite work out. As a consolation, we rented a donkey, threw a Santa hat on his head, and proclaimed him to be the one and only “Dominick the Italian Christmas Donkey.” He was a HUGE hit. The party has grown every year as friends, coworkers, and the (somewhat incredulous) neighbors are always wondering what we’ll be up to next. (For your eyes only: we have a lead on some acrobatic elves!)

We started hosting a party for St. Joseph’s Day after visiting New Orleans. We were curious about the St. Joseph’s Day celebrations and traditions we had heard about in Louisiana, so we hopped in the car to see for ourselves. We were absolutely awestruck by the hospitality and generosity of the churches, businesses, and individual families who hosted St. Joseph’s Day altars and invited us to sit, eat, and hear their stories! We knew we had to bring this type of tradition back home. We make trays of traditional pastries for the party (called sfingi, or zeppoli), and spend the afternoon firing pizzas in our outdoor pizza oven for everyone to enjoy. As is tradition in Louisiana, we collect contributions of food and donations on behalf of our local church’s food pantry.

We have always made sure that our nieces, nephew, cousins’ children, and friends’ children have felt welcome, included, and special in our home. We pride ourselves on being the “fun” aunt and uncle! We cherish their visits and the adventures we have with them, and we have long yearned for the opportunity to add our own children to these experiences.

We have three remaining tested embryos at our clinic in Florida. We have a wonderful, open relationship with the generous family who selected us to receive the gift of their donated embryos. They had created six embryos, and the first one resulted in their perfectly healthy identical twin boys. 

We were so fortunate to match with a wonderful surrogate through Family Makers who is currently carrying our own little boy and due very soon! We are over-the-moon excited to finally become parents and are so grateful for our current surrogate and the relationship that we have with her and her family. Our extended family is actively supportive with this journey and in awe of the woman who is helping us to welcome our new family member!

Being familiar with the surrogacy process now, we understand what it entails to achieve that first positive pregnancy test. With a goal of having a family with two children, we made the decision to engage in our search for a second carrier for our little one’s sibling sooner rather than later! We are excited about every aspect of a second journey and can’t wait to meet the compassionate woman who is willing to help us bring our second baby into our arms and forever hold a place of honor in our family.

As parents, we promise to provide a stable, financially sound environment where our children feel safe, secure, and treasured. They will be raised to value and model integrity, generosity, kindness, and compassion. They will know the story of how they came to be, and who played a role in bringing them here. They will be encouraged to pursue their own interests and passions, and they will enjoy the adoration and support of an extended family of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. All with lots of giggles. Lots and lots of giggles.

Thank you for considering helping us to complete our family by giving our son the precious gift of a sibling to grow up with. We can’t do it without you.

With Love,

A + J

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