IT ALL STARTED WHEN…
We met 15 years ago in Vienna, Austria. We still disagree about the date - but we do agree that it was fate.
Neither of us were supposed to be there that night. Michael was supposed to leave the country three months later. It was not the ideal time to fall in love. But we couldn’t help it. We fell. We fell as we lost ourselves in each other and in the streets of Vienna, as Karin explored her homeland through Michael’s eyes while Michael learned the unwritten history of his host country. We spent an incredible three months together, which came to an abrupt end when Michael had to return to Minnesota. We decided to try for long distance. Really, there was no alternative—there was no chance we were letting each other go, even after such a short time together. This was it for us. We navigated the choppy waters of a new relationship spent on separate continents and found that the challenges only strengthened us. After three years, Michael asked Karin to marry him and we decided to move to Vienna. It was intended to be a permanent move, but the universe had something else in store including stops in Iowa, Chile and our current home New York City.
We got married in a 600-year-old church in Karin’s hometown in Austria. People came from far and wide, including Michael’s 80-year-old grandmother from El Salvador who described Vienna as “the other side of the world.” That night we celebrated with our guests in a converted stable with traditional food and wine, untraditional music (including a Mariachi Band), and lots of smiles, laughter and love.
We have had lots of adventures over the last 15 years, and we confirm every day that our instincts were right during those first three months in Vienna—this was it. This was right. This is love. We decided very early on in our relationship that we wanted to adopt children. We’re more than ready for this adventure. And that’s why we’re here.
Karin grew up in a small town outside of Vienna, Austria. Michael grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. Together we have lived in three states (Minnesota, Iowa, New York) and three countries (U.S.A., Austria, Chile). We have decided to make our home in New York.
Our home is on a very pretty, tree-lined street near shops and restaurants. We are surrounded by excellent daycare centers and schools. We are very lucky, as many people in the building have young children and the community here is very social with each other, organizing events, walking dogs together, and having play dates.
The day cares and schools in the area offer math, science and language programs (Spanish, Chinese, French, etc.). There are children’s museums and children’s activity centers peppered throughout the neighborhood. The local soccer league is headquartered nearby, the little league fields are 500 steps away and there is a basketball league across the street. There is ample activity for kids of any age.
New York is a very diverse place and our neighborhood is no different. Our building houses college students, young professionals, families and retirees. There are at least 30 different cultures represented in the building, and just as many languages. We think that this is a strength; New York and our neighborhood specifically is multicultural. We ourselves are fluent in Spanish, English, and German. Our kids will be presented with lots of different ideas and cultures, which will foster thought and questions and helps them strive in a changing world.
It would be easy to describe Karin as intelligent, and beautiful and honest, but that alone wouldn’t do her justice. Karin brings out the best in people. She is incredibly thoughtful, compassionate and dedicated. Karin never forgets a birthday, a saint’s day, or an anniversary. She does not miss any opportunity to text or call a friend to check in.
Karin has brought out the best in me. Her interest in my interests has kept me learning and striving. She has brought a light to my family; she is more popular with them than I am! I can remember how animated my 95-year-old grandfather - generally a stoic man - would get speaking with her. She brought something out from his childhood.
Karin will be the world’s best mother, just by being who she is. She will show interest in the kids´ activities, challenge them to learn more, and help them when they need it. All the while always making them feel like the most special person on the planet.
Everyone loves Michael. And I mean EVERYONE. I have yet to meet somebody who did not love him right away. He is such a charmer, a people person, and he loves meeting people from different backgrounds and making new friends. I got lucky that I have been able to call myself his best friend for 15 years now, as well as his partner and wife. Michael is very intelligent and interested in a wide variety of topics – from soccer and baseball over music to literature and superheroes – and the huge array of random facts he can hold in his head never ceases to amaze me.
Michael is extremely good with kids. He is the favorite “fun uncle” of our god-children and the children of our friends. He plays baseball and soccer with them, supports them when they climb around on jungle gyms, takes their hands as they cross the street, blows their noses, cuts their food into bite-sized pieces, and changes diapers. It comes as second nature to him, directly from a place of fatherly love.
Though it is cliché, I have to say that Michael is the best thing that ever happened to me.