Makenna writes: "In 2009, I responded to a Craigslist personal ad entitled "Dear Joyous Spirit..." I was hooked by the long and thoughtful piece. Over the next two years, Matthew charmed me with his cooking, the way he made me laugh and his sweetness. Bonus: He was (and still is) willing to challenge his own ideas about race and gender; big ups for those skills. Second bonus: He did not think it was weird that I was a complete Black Girl Nerd :0)
Matthew remembers: She was beautiful, she was smart, and she was funny. She told me she had moved to California because she wanted to live by the ocean. She said she was working on her PhD in Psychology and that she wanted to help people. She was just too interesting to not see again. And again. So it started there and it's never stopped!
In 2011, we flew to Hawaii and got married with our bare feet in the Pacific Ocean. Then we came back to Oakland and had a big celebration with friends and family. And then another party in San Diego with friends and family there. And then another party in Denver with friends and family there.
We began to pursue our shared goal of buying a house in the Bay Area and starting a family. We bought our home in 2015, but a successful pregnancy has eluded us. We’re turning to open adoption because we both feel strongly that raising a child, or two, together is something we are meant to do.
Matthew’s parents are both retired teachers in their 70s. They have been married for 49 years. His mother has taken up abstract painting in retirement; his father learned to surf. He has one younger brother who lives with his wife and newborn son.
Makenna’s parents are also in their 70s, and have been married for 46 years. Her mother exercises every day, sews, and finds time to learn about new topics on her own. Her father uses his artistic skills to refurbish and sell antiques out of his small store. One of her brothers is a vegan who practices Muay Thai, and her other brother is a tech wiz.
We both come from small families, so we know the value of building out a “family” with lifelong friends who are always there for you. They are the kind of friends that have been with us through the good and hard times. We have a diverse community of friends that are within a short drive from our home. Many of them have children, so there will be plenty of opportunities for birthday parties, celebrations, and playground times with their children.
We have dear friends that have been by our side throughout our journey toward parenthood. They are all supportive and excited, and cannot wait to help us.
In 2015, we achieved our dream of buying a house in Oakland. We live in Fruitvale, a working-class neighborhood that really shows off the fact that Oakland is the most ethnically-diverse city in the country. This is one of the things that we love about Oakland; it mirrors who we are as a couple.
There is a room in our house we call the “Kid’s Room.” We painted the walls a bright, happy yellow. People suggested that we let it be a guest room while we’re waiting to start a family, but we resisted. We’ve left the room mostly empty, awaiting its purpose.
Not long after we moved in, a kitten we named Zhora came to live with us. We also created a shared space in the house for meditation, which we do when we can. Mindfulness is a shared practice for us. Some nights, Makenna will sit outside under the moon to reconnect with herself.
Makenna is my fun-loving geeky girl, smart as a whip and cute as a button. Her smile melts my heart; I love to hear her laugh. Early in our relationship, I got very sick with a case of shingles and Makenna looked after me in a very patient, selfless, tender way that made me realize she would be an excellent partner-- and an excellent mother. I've been looking forward to raising a child with her since before we were married.
I also learned early in our time together that Makenna can cook up a storm. Although it’s her fried chicken that is now legendary on my side of the family, Makenna really can cook anything and everything, and since we moved to a house with a backyard, she has also been growing insane amounts of food. She keeps saying she’s going to make me build a chicken coop someday...
Makenna fills her spare time with a wide range of pursuits. In the years we’ve been together, she has taken dance classes, ceramics classes, and Spanish classes. She belonged to a drum circle. She danced in a Carnaval parade. Reading groups, meditation groups, women’s groups … Makenna is a joiner and a doer who loves new people and new experiences.
Written by Makenna
Matthew is a lifelong Californian and grew up in suburban San Diego, less than 25 miles from the Mexican border. He loves the beach, but loves the Bay Area just as much. He’s a nester, and enjoys making his home cozy.
He loves singing his favorite tunes, working on fixer-upper projects around the home, visiting our local parks, traveling (when we can), and making his favorite foods for me. He makes the world’s best chocolate mousse — really. Matthew throws his heart and soul into everything he loves, and when he does that, it’s bound to be good.
More recently, he has tackled the goal of learning to play a musical instrument; his ukulele sits in our bedroom. Matthew is committed to his spiritual path of Buddhism but also attends a monthly Gregorian Chant service at a local church. He always ends his phone calls with family with an “I love you.” His parents are kind, and they accepted me into the Newton family with open hearts and love.
When we met, I had the joy of seeing Matthew play with the children of close friends. He could always get them to smile and laugh — “Uncle Matthew” was the best. I chose to be with Matthew for a number of reasons and one of them is that I know in my heart he will make a wonderful father. I can see him making a baby smile with stories and songs.