We are fortunate enough to have two loving and supporting families with whom we are really close with. Everybody in our family is excited for us to adopt a child and have our own family. Here's a little more about them:
The two pictures above are from a recent Roger's family reunion
With Roger's father in Hawaii
Roger and his niece in Kauai, Hawaii
Roger's Family in Hawaii
I come from a large family, which is fairly common in Hawai'i. I grew up with extended family members, "hānai" (adopted) family members, and family friends who were treated as our own, around all the time. I am fortunate to come from a community and culture that is very family-centered, where we all watch out for each other.
My family composition is somewhat unique. I am the child of teenage parents and was raised by my mother’s side of the family. My maternal grandparents played a major role in my upbringing along with my mother. My father moved to a different island when I was still a baby, but my family always made sure we were in contact and that I knew who he was. I spent many summers in Honolulu with my father and his side of the family.
Being raised by my grandparents and having such young parents made for a very interesting childhood. It was almost like have an older sister as a mother, but as I grew older, I understood more the roles each person plays in my life. I am grateful to have a strong bond with both my mother and grandparents as parental figures.
My mother also had two more children with my stepfather, whom she met when I two years old. He also played an important role in my upbringing and I consider him to be a father figureI have two younger half-brothers, whom I consider as full brothers more than anything else as we are very close and grew up together. I also have a few cousins from my maternal uncle whom I consider sisters as we also grew up together, seeing each other almost every day.
My home life growing up was fairly typical of a Filipino family. There were always lots of family members around and I never felt lonely. I grew up seeing cousins and extended family members all the time and consider myself very lucky to have grown up with so many of them close by.
Outside of that, growing up in my home was pretty normal. We ate dinner together, watched TV together, celebrated the holidays, went camping and fishing, and took family trips.
Most of my family is still in Hawaii and we try to visit them once a year.
Arnau's Family in Barcelona
When we were little, we had the luxury of living in a small town, and when we were old enough, we would walk ourselves to school and go back home for lunch. The days that my mother was working, since she had an hour-long commute, we would go to our grandparents' place for lunch and back for afternoon school. After school we would go to extracurricular activities such as music, sports and English lessons. My mother would pick us up from there and we would go home. While she was cooking dinner we would do homework -she would help us with it-, and eat dinner together. Until we went to high-school TV was not allowed during dinner time, neither during weekends mornings
My mother has one sister with whom she is really close. My aunt has just one son, so we would do a lot together -from family vacations, to shopping, or just hanging out around the house. Every Sunday we would go to our grandparents to eat lunch (all nine of us) together and we kept this tradition going until my grandmother was too old to live alone, so she moved in with my mother and we alternated Sunday lunches at my mom’s and my aunt's.
My father has five siblings. Although we were not as close as my mother and her sister, we would hang out often and visit them and I would play with all my cousins. It was especially easy to visit both my grandparents because they ended up living next door from each other.
When I started college, my mother rented an apartment in downtown Barcelona so we would be together as a family during the week and go back to my town during weekends.
My mother is a college professor back in Barcelona. She has a strong personality but is very nurturing. She is probably the biggest influence and role model for me and my sister. She is a successful woman professionally and an actively engaged person in her community (working for a non-profit, running for local government etc.). She taught my sister and I good moral values but also to be hard workers and how to be independent, strong individuals with great careers. My mother and I are very close -we talk on Skype every Saturday and Sunday and she comes to visit us often in New York. We also go to visit once a year to Barcelona.
As a family we would do a lot of activities during the weekends, from visiting relatives, going to the theater or museums, or taking small road trips to hike at nearby forests.
Family picture at Arnau's mother garden in Barcelona
Arnau with his mother at our wedding
Arnau with her sister and his mother for her mother 58th bithday
Roger with Arnau's mother at the Rockefeller center
Our Family in New York
We have a strong group of friends here in New York City, that are considered like family. They have kids and we often babysit them. This is important since most of our immediate family members, while they visit often, do not live in the city. We feel it is important to have a support system that is close by.
Our friends at New York City Clerk when we got married