Meet Derek and Amy

Hello! We are Derek and Amy Gongaware, and together we enjoy all the adventures that life brings! We met in 2016 and will be married for five years in September 2022.  Since getting married, we have dreamed of bringing children into our family to share our love and life with.  

Our ultimate goal is to be parents.  We dream of opening our hearts and home to a child that will continue the adventure of life with us.  We want to support our child's hopes, dreams, and aspirations while guiding and teaching him/her new things.  We also understand the importance of open adoption and ensuring that the child we will love unconditionally maintains connections to the biological ties that will be a large part of his/her identity.  

We have gained some experience through previous fostering, and Amy has dedicated her career to supporting elementary children's learning through her work as a reading specialist.  We love our niece, nephews, and cousin's children and look forward to a future of guiding a child as parents. Our greatest adventure will be experiencing the joy of parenting a child with unconditional love and support.  We appreciate you taking the time to get to know us better.

Our Beginning

We met in 2016 on an online dating site.  We actually lived in the same town, and we thought it was funny that the dating site brought us together when we only lived a few minutes apart.  

Derek's Perspective: "In 2016, I saw the picture of my stunning wife on eHarmony.  We had our first date, and I couldn't stop smiling.  From that point forward, I still cannot stop smiling.  We love spending time together, learning from each other, and growing together as a couple."

Amy's Perspective: "Derek and I have a wonderful, loving relationship.  He is hard-working, outgoing, generous, and considerate.  He is always coming up with new ideas and life experiences for us to try.  Our personalities complement each other so well."

In September 2017, we got married in an intimate ceremony with our immediate family.  Later, we had a reception picnic at our house for all of our family and friends.  

Our Lives Together

We have experienced so many things as a couple.  We love to go on vacation and have enjoyed adventures such as an underwater sea walk, going on a Red Rocks scooter tour, and taking a hot air balloon ride.  Currently, we are enjoying spending time at our condo in Florida for beach getaways.  

We love going fishing locally and deep-sea fishing when we are on vacation.  We plant a garden every summer that keeps us busy.  We drove to North Dakota one summer to purchase two vintage trucks that Derek is refurbishing.  

Derek's talents have allowed us to purchase and flip rental properties and homes for sale.  In 2019, we ran a food truck that we have since sold, and we also spent time buying and selling vintage items at an antique mall.  

We love our sweet dog, LuLu.  Her cute personality brings us joy and laughter.  

Derek has also picked up a new hobby of making his own t-shirts.  We love trying new things, spending time together, and enjoying our life together with our loved ones.  

About Derek

Hello! I would describe myself as an outdoorsman.  Hunting, fishing, and trapping are all outdoor activities I enjoy.  I like to work with my hands, such as working on my two antique trucks.  

I grew up with my mom and stepdad.  My stepdad taught me a lot of hands-on skills and how to hunt, which helped build my love of the outdoors.  I later taught myself how to fish and trap.  My biological dad helped me form an interest in golfing.  This is a fond memory for me, as my father passed away in 2019.  

In high school, I pursued plumbing through the vocational training that was offered, which prepared me to open my own plumbing business as an adult.  At 21, I joined the Air Force, which provided me with great life experiences.  After the military, I worked with the United States Geological Survey before opening my first plumbing company in 2010.  In 2012, I started buying rental properties.  

I have had a lot of great experiences personally and professionally. We are excited to welcome a child into our family.  As a parent, I plan to take interest in things my child enjoys.  I also want to provide new learning experiences to our child like my parents did for me. 

About Amy

Hello! I would describe myself as a person that enjoys simple pleasures in life.  I love to take a walk with our sweet little dog or just be outside on a beautiful day.  I look forward to spending time at the beach for vacation. I love to read and share books with my dad. 

As a child, I grew up with my parents and older sister.  I loved playing with dolls, gardening with my neighbor, reading at the library where my beloved grandmother was a librarian, and riding my bike.  

My love of reading transferred perfectly into my career as a reading specialist.  I started my career teaching social studies classes to high school students.  At the same time, I earned my master's degree as a reading specialist.  I have been teaching for nineteen years.  This is my sixteenth year working with students that need support in reading, and I have a true passion for helping my students. 

Another simple pleasure I enjoy in life is having a nice date night dinner with Derek.  Derek has passed some of his hands-on skills to me.  I love working with Derek at our properties that we flip and rent, as well as our own home.  My favorite part of working on homes is picking out the finishes and making everything look beautiful.  Derek and I hope that through adoption we will someday take pleasure in learning and supporting our child's interests and passions.  

I love the life that Derek and I have built.  We have a wonderful, loving relationship and dream of expanding our family.  

Our Families

We have a wonderful support system with our family.  We greatly enjoy the time we spend with family.    

Derek’s mother and stepfather live about fifteen minutes away from us, and it is so nice having them close by.  Amy’s mother and father live about forty minutes away, and Amy’s sister lives about one hour away.  Amy’s sister is married and has three children.  We greatly enjoy spending time with our niece and nephews.  

In addition to our immediate family, we have many aunts, uncles, and cousins on both sides of our family.  Amy’s extended family primarily lives in the Pittsburgh area.  Derek has family both in the Pittsburgh area and in Chicago.  We enjoy large family get-togethers, and we have enjoyed several trips to Chicago to visit Derek’s extended family.  

Our Home

Derek and I have had so much fun renovating our home from top to bottom.  Over time, we worked on making every room just right for us.  

We have a three-bedroom, two-story home with two full baths and a big backyard.  The main floor has a big eat-in kitchen, dining room, living room, office, and bathroom.  The upper floor has three bedrooms and a bathroom.  We also have large porches on the front and back of the house.  

Our community offers local parks, a YMCA, and great activities for kids through the community.  We also have access to a local pool, bike trails and hiking areas, and many more family-oriented activities nearby.