Meet Shaun and Kate:

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Our Story

We met over five years ago in New York City, through our work as scientists studying the mind and brain.  It was a meeting of hearts as well as minds: we fell in love fast and have been together ever since.  After dating for a few years, we relocated to Boston and bought a house in a pleasant suburb just a few miles from the city.  Compared to Manhattan, the peace and quiet was a big change!  But we absolutely love living here and it’s a perfect place to raise a family.

We were married in a beautiful ceremony in Vermont’s Green Mountains, surrounded by our closest friends and family.  We’re a “transatlantic” couple: Kate was born and raised in a small town in upstate New York, whereas Shaun grew up “across the pond” in England.  Kate attended graduate school in New York City, where she then worked as a clinical neuropsychologist and researcher, aiming to help people with serious mental illness.  Shaun moved to the US in his mid-twenties, to pursue his career in research, studying genetics and neuroscience.  He’s currently interested in what sleep does to keep our brains healthy.

Our Family

Shaun’s son from his first marriage, Lorcan, is 11 years old and lives with his mom a few miles away.  He spends several days with us each week as well as weekends and holidays.  We have a lot of fun together, and Kate and Lorcan are very close.  As an only child, he’s very excited to become a big brother!  Our fourth family member is Clover, a two-year-old golden retriever. She’s a very sweet and gorgeous girl, who loves to go for long walks, chase balls, and snuggle.

Our Hobbies

Having competed through her college years, Kate is still an avid runner (and still pretty competitive in general!).  Nowadays she rarely has occasion to sprint, but she goes for long and leisurely runs to stay in shape and enjoy the outdoors.  She also has a passion for cooking, playing games, reading and travel.

Shaun likes to play games as well – but he also enjoys creating new games. He has developed a card game of his own, called Squirrel, and he is a pro at organizing scavenger hunts whenever Lorcan has friends over or our nieces and nephews visit. He is a bit of a “tech” guy and when not working on his computer, you might find him playing a video game or two with Lorcan.  Together, we share movie nights, board games, and sitting by the fireplace.  We’re lucky to have a pool in our back garden, where we spend a lot of time splashing around, playing volleyball and grilling out.  We also frequently go on nature hikes with Clover, who loves running through the woods, creating obstacle courses for herself, and greeting everyone who walks by.

Qualities We See in Each Other

Kate on Shaun:  Shaun is an optimist.  He has a special way of seeing the silver lining no matter what happens.  If we plan an outdoor activity and it starts to rain, he will inevitably say it is better in the rain (he is from England, after all).  He puts a positive spin on everything and refuses to let things get in the way of enjoying our time together.  This is one of the reasons that I love him. He is the most intelligent person I have ever met but he’s still able to enjoy silly films and playing kids’ games. He works hard and is dedicated to his career, but his priorities are centered on our home and he always puts family first.

Shaun on Kate:  Kate’s awesome, although I may be biased.  She has a great capacity for joy – a very important quality – and is able to appreciate the good things in life and not take them for granted.  She is a very social person who effortlessly elicits warmth and connection in others.  Kate’s very caring and despite not having had children of her own, has a naturally maternal way.  (I sometimes think she’s like a mom to the younger people in her group at work.)  But she’s a cool character too, who is pretty unflappable and doesn’t sweat the small stuff.  We already mentioned that she’s competitive: in fact, she’s usually the one who wins no matter what we’re doing, from tennis to card games to shooting pool. But it must be love, because I don’t even mind…

Our Extended Family

Kate: I have one sister (Beth) and one brother (Dave) with whom I’m very close.  When I was 18 years old, our mother was diagnosed with cancer and passed away five years later.  Through those difficult times, we learned just how important family is and we do not take one another for granted.  Beth still lives in upstate NY with her husband and four children.  We see them several times a year and I revel in being an aunt. Dave moved to Texas about 15 years ago, where he lives with his wife and two children.  Because of the distance, we see his family less frequently than Beth’s, but still manage to visit once a year and take advantage of FaceTime and texting between trips.  I’m very close with my dad Hank and his wife, Judy - who live together in the town where I grew up.  We travel together when we have the chance and have been to Ireland, Italy, and Hawaii – among other less exotic places. We truly enjoy spending time together. Hank and Judy are both looking forward to doting over their newest grandchild.

Shaun: I have one sister, Claire, who lives in Cheltenham, England with her husband Gareth and their three children.  My parents, Steve and Ann, live about an hour from Claire, in the house where I grew up, in a town called Rugby.  Despite living in another country, we’re able to visit once a year, and my family enjoys the excuse to travel “stateside” and tour all over New England, Colorado and other places (as well as seeing us, of course!).  It’s always a pleasure to see the kids get together, as they particularly love their American cousin Lorcan.

Our Adoption Story

We wanted to start a family but couldn’t get pregnant.  We went through two unsuccessful courses of IVF.  We were disappointed of course, but not devastated as adoption was something we’d considered right from the start.  To us, growing a family is what matters most and DNA has little to do with how we personally define family.

Special Activities We Look Forward to Doing with Our Child

We’re excited not just for the special occasions and achievements our child will enjoy, but also for the little moments we’ll share with our child, whatever they may be.  Perhaps building snowmen in Boston’s snowy winters, followed by a hot chocolate and a cozy fireplace.  Or laughing at something silly at the dinner table.  Or making up games during road-trips, or the tooth fairy’s first visit.  We’re excited about a life full of such moments, made special because they are shared moments, family moments.

But when not just having plain old fun, we do look forward to encouraging our child to grow to be true to his or herself, by providing opportunities and enriching experiences for them.  We’ve been fortunate to have resources but also flexible work schedules, and we look forward to taking advantage of these to provide for our child:  for example, through exposure to new places through travel, opportunities to engage in sports and hobbies, as well as a solid education and love of learning.

Holiday Gatherings

We love the holidays!  Kate’s favorite is Thanksgiving, as we get together with our extended families and eat and play games all day. It is a perfect time to catch up with each other without any set agenda (except for mealtime!) and it is usually right around the time that it gets cold outside, which makes for a nice setting by the fire.  Shaun is a big fan of Christmas. We decorate the house early and spend a festive evening decorating the tree and listening to Christmas music. Every other year, we travel to England to spend Christmas with Shaun’s family. Lorcan gets the chance to see his British cousins and we usually rent a house where we can all stay together.

Our Home & Neighborhood

We live in a safe, leafy neighborhood just outside of Boston, on a small street with friendly neighbors, most of whom have young children themselves.  The town has some of the best schools and libraries in the state.  It’s still easy to get into the city whenever we want, which is good for many family-friendly activities, from the Children’s Museum, to Swan Boats in Boston Public Gardens, to baseball at Fenway Park.

Our home is a spacious split-level, mid-century modern house, with four bedrooms, a large kitchen where we often gather, living room, dining room, a family den (where we mostly hang out when not in the kitchen), as well as a games/media room and finished basement with a pool table.   Our back garden is fenced-in, with a lawn and patio where we often grill, and spend time in the swimming pool.  There’s also a little pool house with a mini-kitchen that’s a fun place for the kids to play house in.   It’s a nice home and a great place for our family.

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