Hello! We are Ivan and Alexandra.
Through this letter, we hope that you are able to get a sense of who we are, what we believe in, and the life that we have created together. We are an adventurous, loving, and international couple who share a love of learning, and an endless curiosity about the world around us. Our home is grounded in kindness and respect, and we’re grateful to be starting this next chapter of our lives together as parents.
Being parents has always been a dream for both of us. Following our experience with infertility, we wholeheartedly embraced adoption. We now believe that this is the way it was always meant to be.
Regardless of the decision you make, we recognize the strength it requires to consider adoption and hope that through this journey you are able to find the right fit for you and your child.
We met through Alexandra’s friends six years ago in New York, when we were both living and working there. We spent a year and a half together in New York until Ivan got into graduate school in Norway and we moved overseas. Over the following two and a half years, we lived in Norway, Austria, and finally the Netherlands, where Ivan completed his master’s program. We love the time we spent overseas as a couple, and cherish the experiences that allowed us to grow and create memories together.
We have since chosen to settle in San Francisco and now live in a house by the beach with a backyard. We have a very sweet dog Emma, who has never met a squirrel she didn’t “like,” and when at home she loves nothing more than to cuddle and/or hide socks under pillows. She is truly a hilarious and loving member of the family. Alexandra’s brothers and their families also live in San Francisco, so we have a close built-in community and spend a lot of time supporting our nieces and nephews and love going to their school plays and athletic events. In our free time, we love to be outdoors – going for weekly hikes with Emma and beach outings where Alexandra is teaching her nephew how to surf. At home, we cook, watch movies, have board game nights with friends and family and love to spend time working on our garden. We live near the Golden Gate Park so on a sunny day when we’re feeling lazy, we’ll grab a blanket and some books and have a picnic.
Alexandra has always felt a strong commitment to work in areas of social justice and before beginning to work as a school counselor, she taught creative writing and poetry to incarcerated youth and worked with AIDS patients in Argentina. In her current role as a school-based counselor at an elementary school in San Francisco, Alexandra works therapeutically with children who have experienced loss, trauma, and/or self-esteem challenges. Alexandra was dyslexic growing up and experienced the isolation of what it’s like to have adults who don’t understand your challenges. She has since been committed to being a source of healing for these children, and a passionate advocate for their value and talent. She considers herself lucky to have supportive employers and plans on taking maternity leave after welcoming a child into our home, and only returning part-time when she does return.
Ivan works full-time as a business strategist for a healthcare organization. He has always been equally interested in math and art as a child, and he loves that he gets to combine these two elements in his job through analytics and graphic design. Ivan was the first person in his family to graduate from college. There, he was strongly influenced by people who were building their dreams and from this he found the inspiration to eventually build a purposeful and interesting career for himself. He chose to work in healthcare because he felt it was a field in which he could make a meaningful difference. Ivan loves his career and knows he is lucky to be able to say this. For this reason, it is especially important for him to someday support a child towards discovering what is truly important to them and help them on a path towards those goals.
Support and teamwork
Teamwork is a key part of our relationship. We really value taking care of each other and work as a team to take care of our household – we both cook meals, share in keeping our household clean and taking care of Emma. Through our fertility struggles, we have achieved a new level of support with one another and treat each other with kindness, patience and understanding. We believe that this will be one of the most important examples we set for a child.
We are both very close to our families and see and speak with them as much as possible. We spend a lot of time with Alexandra’s family here in San Francisco – which includes her brothers and 5 nieces and nephews. We get together weekly (sometimes more) for dinners, board games and just hanging out in the kitchen. Ivan has coached kids basketball and will often be at the court with Alexandra’s nephews teaching them how to shoot and playing simple pick-up games. Ivan’s family live in Europe and he stays in close contact with them over daily video chats and loves to visit several times a year. When he makes these visits, he spends time working on their vegetable farm and harvesting their grapes for wine – skills he looks forward to teaching a child someday.
Fun and Humor
Neither of us take ourselves too seriously and through all of our challenges, we have kept our goofiness intact. We love to dance, be silly and make each other laugh. A home centered around joy and warmth is an important part of us as a couple, and it will be a central part to our life as a family.
Ivan is from Croatia and has lived all over Europe and Alexandra was born and raised in Hong Kong and grew up traveling around Asia. We both have blended cultural identities from our time spent living abroad, and credit so much of our learning and development to these experiences. We continue to travel as a couple and are committed to instilling in a child an excitement and curiosity about the world as well as the opportunities to explore and learn from it.
About Alex by Ivan
The night I met Alexandra, I jokingly asked her to marry me. It didn’t take me too long to realize that I wanted to spend my life with this incredible woman. She was unlike any person I had ever met. An individual bursting with passion for life, courage and love.
Out of all paths in life, she chose to dedicate hers to working as a social worker and helping others in need. When Alexandra was two years old her mom passed away, and I know it’s this history of loss that helps her connect with the kids she now counsels. I constantly hear from her colleagues how dedicated and capable she is at her job, which is no surprise to me because she pours her heart into it.
When you talk with Alexandra she makes you feel like you’re the only person in the room. She is deeply curious about people and is always ready to listen and give valuable advice. Alex is a loyal friend and truly nourishes her friendships. She still regularly talks to and sees a friend from middle school, although they have not lived in the same place since they were eleven!
Alexandra was a theatre geek in high school and could have been a great comedian. Once she starts cracking jokes, I can’t stop laughing. She is somewhat clumsy and goofy so I get to witness a dose of unintentional slap comedy as well. Alexandra is also an incredible cook! She has a superb feeling for flavoring and even when she thinks she didn’t prepare a dish well, I always run for seconds. She has an adventurous spirit and has lived on every continent except for Antarctica, but who knows, there’s still time.
Alexandra will devote herself to a child with all of her heart. She has an amazing ability to see the best in people and lift them up when they doubt themselves and her ability to listen and talk through things can make people feel truly seen. She is very expressive with her love and this will offer a great sense of security to a child. When I imagine her as a mother I imagine all these qualities coming together to make a beautiful home with lots of cuddles.
About Ivan by Alex
When I think of Ivan, the first two words that come to mind are warmth and acceptance. His smile, gentle nature, and deep kindness are qualities that draw people to him and put them at ease – he is truly most happy when the people around him are thriving. It’s this selfless nature that I fell in love with, and it’s also what I know will make him a great father.
Ivan approaches life with a passionate curiosity. He is constantly studying languages, learning new things in the world of science and history and embracing new experiences. He finds a great enjoyment in solving puzzles and brain teasers, and at work he is known as the person who always finds creative solutions to challenging problems. His love of learning is infectious and makes life with him fun and engaging.
He enters into new interactions with an open heart and an open mind. I’m always inspired by Ivan’s desire to see things from others’ perspectives instead of reacting in judgment. For me, this is one of his most beautiful qualities.
Ivan is the most dependable person I know. He is not someone that is easily swayed by a sense of convenience but instead believes that being a good husband, friend, family member, or citizen means showing up when he says he will and helping when help is needed – whether it be driving across the state to help someone move, or helping a young student from his home-country apply to college in the U.S. It is this attribute of reliability that brings a great sense of security to life with him.
In sharing a life with Ivan, these qualities not only serve as inspiration for me, but will ensure a child always knows they are loved deeply and unconditionally, and that home is a place where they feel safe, supported, and encouraged.
Fun Facts about Alex
Born in: Hong Kong
In High School: Theatre Kid/Artsy
Favorite food: Thai
Books I love: The Giving Tree and To Kill a Mockingbird
My happy place: At home, talking/laughing with friends or family
Turn off: Bullying
Most important value: Kindness
Favorite pastime: Surfing and gardening
Place I would love to travel: India or New Zealand
Guilty pleasure: Travel food shows and mysteries
Quote I like: “We are all here to awaken from our illusion of separateness”
If you really knew me: You’d know that even though I can come off as
outgoing, I’m actually quite shy. It’s just something I’ve learned to overcome
Fun Facts about Ivan
Born in: Split, Croatia
In High School: Basketball player
Favorite food: Indian
Books I love: The Great Gatsby and Limbo
My happy place: Hiking in nature, relaxing at home
Turn off: Arrogance
Most important value: Honesty
Favorite pastime: Reading and hiking
Place I would love to travel: Peru
Guilty pleasure: Coffee and cakes
Quote I like: “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
If you really knew me: I am an inch shorter than what I tell people
We promise to teach a child we may have to be polite but fun-loving, to make friends, to explore the world and ask questions about it, to make mistakes and learn from them and to be themselves and love that person. As parents, we will be there to support our child – to accept them, listen and talk openly as a family. We firmly value learning and will provide the best educational opportunities that we can.
Most importantly, we are committed to making sure that a future child understands that every choice that led him/her to be raised by us was made with love, and they should feel pride in where they came from.
Should you choose our family to adopt your child, we look forward to weaving our families together through open adoption – sharing photos, updates and planning visits together.
We sincerely thank you for taking the time to get to know us. We would love to learn more about you so if anything you’ve read feels like it may be a good fit, please contact our adoption coordinator, Cindy Simonson at A Loving Alternative, 800-556-5635.
Alex and Ivan