Tess and Matt met at Tess's childhood church in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. At the time, Matt was a Peace Corps volunteer. Since then they have become best friends and married. With a passion for education, they both got Ph.D.'s. Tess focused on Haitian children who were given away to Dominican families by birth mothers. Matt focused on Haitian children's experience in Dominican schools. Now, both of them work in higher education. Tess is a professor and Matt is an administrator. They are happiest when working with students in showing them different ways to understand the world we live in. They are also happiest spending time together at their lakefront house in Iowa. They have amazing and generous neighbors who can't wait for them to adopt. Their small neighborhood alongside the lake is very special and tight-knit with children of all ages.
Providing a child with a loving, patient, and safe home are their priorities. Education is very important to them. They hope for their adopted child to be successful in the passions and interests that s/he develops. Education is more than just going to school. It is nurturing curiosity and loving to learn.
Tess and Matt come from loving families who have been incredibly supportive and are excited to share this love and support with an adopted child.
We are so happy living where we live. We feel fortunate to live on a lake in a small neighborhood that's filled with amazing and thoughtful neighbors. It is truly a special place. Our home has a deck that wraps around the whole house. We often drink our morning coffee as we watch the cliffs on the other side of the lake turn different shades of red, orange and yellow as the sun rises. Though we have neighbors who live very close, we feel like we live quietly in the woods. It is so peaceful. We can't imagine living anywhere else.
Tess is smart, strong and dedicated. Having grown up in the Dominican Republic in a tight-knit family, Tess loves family gatherings, where they share stories, dance and enjoy each other's company. Family is everything to Tess. Her loyalty runs deep.
At home Tess loves to cook - trying new recipes and ingredients on a weekly basis. Matt is the guinea pig! He doesn't complain...too much! Also, Tess loves gardening. She gets excited every spring when the flowers and hostas come out of their winter slumber.
Professionally, Tess is an educator and researcher. She is very dedicated to giving her students 100%.
Overall, Tess is passionate about life. She believes positivity gives her strength in jumping hurdles and getting through difficult situations.
Matt is best described as social and curious. He loves meeting new people and learning about their life's story. Also, he very much enjoys working with his hands. Whether it is in the pottery studio making bowls, vases and cups, or, attempting to remodel a part of the house, Matt is always finding a new project to do, even if he has no idea how to do it. His response - "That's what Youtube is for"!!!
Matt is very lucky to work in the field of international education. He has traveled to many parts of the world. This is something he shares with Tess and looks forward to sharing with their future adopted child. He believes there is so much goodness in the world, that he can't imagine not sharing it with his family.