TNF: How did you two meet?
Danael: Jason and I met through mutual friends in the fall of 2008.
TNF: What made you decide to have kids?
Danael: I was previously married to Samuel’s mom. We divorced in 2008. I was lucky enough to find an amazing man to be Samuel’s stepdad.
TNF: Tell me a bit about the process of creating your family.
Danael: Our process was more about figuring out how to be a family with no role models or guidance. For example, when I told Samuel that Jason and I were getting married Samuel asked me ‘what do I need to call Jason?’ He was stumped. And I was stumped. I just responded with ‘you can still call him Jason.’ We are figuring it out as we go.
TNF: I heard that there was a big fire that changed your lives, can you share with us?
Danael: The fire was crazy. Samuel and I were home that night. At 1 in the morning the smoke woke me up. I am so thankful that I was able to get him and our dog out. It was a small 12 unit condo complex. All the units burned. Everyone lost everything. Unfortunately we did not have renters insurance but I learned a lot about people during that time. I learned that people truly care for other people and that kindness matters. We have a mantra now that we live by because of the fire. ‘Give something back’.
TNF: How did you re-build?
Danael: Slowly but surely we brought it all back together. But we could not have done it without the love and support of people we knew (our friends and family) and people we had never met (complete strangers). People were so kind I could not believe it. It still amazes me how thoughtful people were during that time.
TNF: Tell me a bit about life today. Jason and I have been together for almost 7 years and this August we will have been married for 2 years. We bought our first home together in January of 2014 and we love it! We keep busy with all of Samuel’s activities. He has soccer, Tae Kwon Do and piano. Jason is working on his second masters degree in education. I keep busy with work and working on backyard projects.
TNF: We posted this picture above of your family on The Next Family Instagram and Tylenol picked it up for their #Howewefamily campaign and it went crazy, I think it had something like 31,000 likes. What was that like for you?
Danael: I was so surprised and excited that there were so many likes. To us as a family that means acceptance and SO many others recognized us as a family as well.
TNF: Tell me about the day you took this beautiful photo with your family?
Danael: This day is one of my favorites. Top three hands down. Apart from the day Samuel was born and the day Jason and I got married in Brooklyn.
We got married in Brooklyn August 2nd of 2013. It was at the court house with just a handful of close friends and Jason’s mom. We wanted to do something at home within the next year but we didn’t want another wedding. So we called it a celebration. We hosted it at our house and asked Marcia our photographer from Love is Love photography if she would capture the day for us. It was perfect.
This particular photo we were on the front porch. J ( that is what me and Samuel call Jason) specifically asked Marcia to take family photos before the day was over. We completely forgot about the face painter we invited to entertain the kids. So we have Samuel painted as a knight in the family photos. Ha. Jason got stressed and I just laughed. What can you do, right? We went with it and they turned out amazing.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful family with us.
Photo Credit: All photos taken by Love is Love Photography.