We met in a salsa dancing class when we were in graduate school. Max was such an awesome dancer that Katharina was swept away (so the legend goes—actually, she also liked his kind eyes, wit, and humor). We lived in California, Colorado, Florida, and Germany (where Katharina grew up) before we settled in Silver Spring, Maryland, outside Washington DC.
Back then, Katharina couldn’t cook, even frozen pizza was a challenge. Trained by his mom, Max knows his way around a kitchen. When Katharina is homesick, he even bakes her the dark, fragrant bread of her German childhood to make her all better again. Kat bakes too—cupcakes and brownies.
Max is very patient and well-organized. Katharina is curious, social, and creative—we make the perfect team. We have conquered all difficulties with love, patience, and respect, including the fact that we can’t have children on our own. We take delight in the children in our lives: nieces, nephews, and seven godchildren.
We live close to the Chesapeake Bay and the Blue Ridge Mountains, which we love to explore on the weekends. We look forward to sharing our love for hiking and biking with some little ones. As teachers, we enjoy the company of young people and love helping them learn and grow and achieve their dreams.
Lifestyle & Community
We are kind of health nuts, but only as long as it is fun, too. We like to move: we bike, dance, and Kat even flies on the trapeze. We cook from scratch most nights. We like to prepare fresh food, but don’t mind regular helpings of ice cream either. In the summer, we barbecue in our garden. In the winter, we bake sweet potatoes, beets and apples in the fireplace, so the whole house smells like the holidays.
Building community is important to us. We do a lot of volunteering at our university. Katharina started a group to help students new to college be successful at school. We drive people to the polls on election day and run events on hunger and homelessness. We look out for each other. We help our older neighbors with snow shoveling or clearing tree limbs. They look after our house when we are away. It feels like a small town in a big city.
We live in a blooming garden in a cozy three-bedroom house in Silver Spring, Maryland. In the spring and summer we are awash in flowers, in autumn in falling leaves, and in the winter in snow. Squirrels and rabbits come to play. Our friends bring their children to hunt Easter eggs or kick a soccer ball on our lawn. There’s a child’s bedroom right next to ours.
Each morning, we hear the shouts and laughter from the nearby elementary school. Montgomery County is well-known for its excellent public schools. Our neighbors live in blended families. They speak English, Spanish, and many African and Asian languages. All kinds of children live here in a safe and loving community, one of the most diverse in the country.
I grew up in Germany. My family is small, but we are loud, big-hearted, laughing people--we certainly sound like more than four when we are in one room. The prospect of a grandchild makes my parents ecstatically happy. My own grandparents played an important role as I grew up.
I love the energy children have. Seeing a child exploring a new shape, texture, or color feels like an electric jolt to me that makes my heart beat faster. I have a lot to give a child and have no doubt that loving a child will fundamentally change me and make me a better person.
My grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Poland and left school to go to work at sixteen. I grew up in California, where I learned fluent Spanish and French, and spent time volunteering in Latin America. I’ve worked as a journalist and now have a secure job as a history professor. My sisters have two children each, whom I have helped look after since they were born, everything from changing diapers to teaching them to play guitar and ride a bike.
My mother died when I was 21. My father and I were always very close. I learned so much from him about how to be a good father, by being involved, responsible, and affectionate. I will try to be that way with my child.