Mark Richards and Sarah Richards

Recorded July 17, 2010 Archived July 17, 2010 37:24 minutes
0:00 / 0:00
Id: ATL000394


Mark Richards, 31, talks to his wife Sarah Richards, 30, about his birth in Colombia, his adoption, growing up in New Jersey, their meeting, marriage and new-born baby.


  • Mark Richards
  • Sarah Richards

Recording Location

Atlanta Storybooth

Venue / Recording Kit


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00:12 My name is Sarah Richards. My age is 30 today's date is July 18th, 2010. I am in Atlanta Georgia with my I'm the wife of Mark from with my husband.

00:35 I am Mark Richards. I am 31. It is July 17th, 2010. We are here in Atlanta, Georgia, and I am Sarah's husband.

00:47 Okay.

00:49 So Mark, can you tell me about when and where you were born and the little bit about your growing up?

01:00 Well, I was born March 15th 1979 in Bogota Colombia. Don't know too much about being there. I was adopted when I was 5 weeks old by my now parents are my parents. That's who they are. It's a friend hinder Richard's they live and live for how many years in in River Edge, New Jersey. So I was about to when I was 5 weeks old and they just brought me up there. So I don't know too much of anything or about my adoption my real parents birth parents, you know anything before my adoption really but virtually my entire High School in our childhood in New Jersey with them up there.

01:55 So is there anything that you know about your adoption there's a little

02:04 You know, my parents always told me I was adopted never kept it from me. There were pretty open and honest with me in a little bit of an Asterix there but you know is there was something like I found out when I went for my driver's permits on the back of my go to the DMV on the back of the or certificate. There's I'm looking at him just sitting there and I flip it over and it's and there's some some typing on the back and it says my birthday him on the back. So tell my parents never told me that Ramon Jaime Vasquez Vasquez, so that was a bit of a surprise but

02:50 You know, I don't know too much other than the fact that the adoption agency in Columbia close down pretty soon after I was adopted like a couple months or something in my my parents. I think they mentioned they were even thinking about adopting another child and went back and you know, and it was closed and so, you know, I always wonder what would have happened had

03:16 You know that perfect scenario not happened. You know, I've had a good life so that one moment in time where they adopted me pretty pretty good luck. So you ended up an only child and a New Jersey. So tell me about your childhood and a little bit about growing up and what you were like as a kid.

03:43 Childhood, I don't know. I don't even know what to say cuz it's it's it would be your you're very generic middle-class upbringing I would think you know, my parents have been married for God knows how many years they've always took great care of me. Definitely, especially now that we have a kid looking back. I think they did. They installed a lot of good values of me. They told me to be polite and respectful treat the other people how you want to be treated and play boss of sports growing up. And you know, I don't know if I was ever really close with my parents though. I don't I don't think that's based on my adoption though. I always feel like just we're different people.

04:38 And I love him very much. But it it's like they know that they're in two different things. They're more laid-back and slow-moving and me on some kind of fast paced always on the go and and doing things so we never really connected on those those but they've always been great to me and given me everything. I've Ever Needed and try to provide everything. I've always wanted.

05:08 Now we push me in school and I pushed me today. I'm Sports and let me know always had me doing all sorts of extracurricular activities, whatever they sign me up for everything growing up as a kid did mattered it gymnastics and I did ice skating lessons roller skating lessons everything under the sun and you know, if I didn't like it there like okay, that's it. So I feel like I had was really exposed to a lot of stuff and have a lot of interest because of its weather Boy Scouts and camping and fishing and this man. Is there one particular thing from your childhood that stands out that was really special or important to you.

05:50 Or just anything that comes to your head.

05:55 How to spell question

05:58 That's a good question.

06:05 Known, I can't really think of specific things to be honest with you like it I feel

06:14 Is there anything that you certain memory of when you are kid that stand that to you like something you did as a kid or?

06:24 Something from your

06:28 Growing up about is there any was there ever a time when you got into trouble as a kid necessarily the biggest disciplinarian on the earth, you know on the planet so, you know, I was kind of I was little bratty of the kid, you know, the only child spoiled I acted like that regrettably looking back, you know used to argue with my with my dad always about sports. We always used to fight when we were to go on the side of the house and we'd be throwing around the baseball data danced all night. We had this really long side yard and install.

07:15 A pitcher's mound and Home Plate and we used to go out there and throw the ball around and practice pitching and ground balls and pop-ups all that sort of stuff and behind home plate. There was first stack of firewood and then there were some really tall trees by like 50 50 ft tall and it was you know all overgrown or what. I remember, you know, how to make up Adam Young. I'm not a professional picture anything like that obviously, so I throwed be a ball in the ground. He wouldn't know he's not like really being a catcher back there expect me to hit the mid every time I throw one of the dirt gets past them and he goes and chases it, you know after about three to five of those he's yelling at me and we're fighting or arguing and then I get tired. I'm going to go inside and moms, like what happened?

08:13 Looking back as as frustrating as that is going to piss me off because I look back on it. Now. I can't wait to do that speaking of that. So well, I'm so we're going to talk about your childhood. So as you grew up on talk about when you met me when I met you, it was what year was it now? It's so long ago. I was a junior 1995-96 96 because I was sixteen just turned 17 in March and you were a sophomore in high school and it's Riverdale High School in New Jersey and

09:10 Yeah, we were well first we met when we we met in the High School Musical and it was we were in auditions and the music. I'm sorry, and we're going through audition. So it's like early January or something like that or somewhere. I don't remember.

09:32 And we were going to the dance group partner auditions. And I remember we are getting we got parrot. Everybody got paired up there about 20 couples. I got paired up and everybody did their little dance and I was paired up with you obviously and we did our addition and what not and you know, they cut it. Let's say and half that were 12 couples made it through to actually be like all you guys are good enough dancer. We're going to use you in the musical and then I remember sitting here in the the high school in the auditorium. And I remember them putting people on stage matching up guys and girls. I remember like Eric was first or something like that and

10:16 And you know, they start doing all the guys up there and everybody's mashed up with a different partner except for me. Somehow Cecilia. Who's that? Who is the dance instructor match me up with you again right hide. I got to see this whatever was mattress up again together and

10:42 And I was really excited about it. I remember.

10:49 You know talking talking to friends about you know, I think I like Sarah blah blah thing that you always talk about is me putting these little pink Post-it notes crumpled up down. You're sure right here about the rod stage during the actual show me a mini.

11:17 But no, I was just crazy. You know, I always look back at you know, those those moments in life where things just sort of magically work out and it's not mention my adoption let you know my parents adopted me. They didn't have to do that could have waited a couple months and who knows where I could have been I could have been Columbia still and you know, they they gave me everything they

11:45 You know, I had clothes and food and all the stuff I go to HighSchool and educated and then I meet you and then I get matched up with you again, and then this and that and you know one of those things.

12:00 Like it was meant to be well as especially meant to be at that because we broke up when we went to college and then would happen as long distance for a year and that it's not so much now. It didn't work out because you're the one distance thing is hard and we both want to kind of want to experience our own thing in college and not have that take away from our experiences. But then when she is I think was about four years after we broke up. That's our high school friends all went back to Vegas and we will be there if we get all graduated you would just graduated you were looking for a job in New Jersey and you would you were unsure of the everywhere organizing this trip to Vegas just because and

12:53 And I was going and you're like, I'm not sure if I'm going to go I need to find a job and then magically you get this job out of nowhere and decided last minute you're going to go and I remember you always tell the story of you flying out there with Eric and Rachel and being like cuz of a broken leg. I remember I had just broken up with Annie the time like something like that and you you were single or something like that. I think and you're like, you're going to hook up with Mark or something like that and and you were like, no it's not going to happen. He's just a friend blah blah blah and then we got to Vegas and I'd actually had before we went to Vegas. I had that sort of epiphany moment. I was at my brother's wedding South diamond, and he I remember just sitting there cuz I went by myself. I knew people there but I was fine. I just remember him going through the whole experience and me just for today.

13:53 Sound like an owl.

13:56 There's nobody else. I really could picture myself doing this with other than you. So I remember being in our apartment in Alpharetta with my apartment in Alpharetta. I was with Chad Culbertson and I was like man had this Epiphany moment. Then I'm like, I got to tell her how I feel and eat and we were just talking about him.

14:19 And I remember my big plan was I don't have the guts to tell her been so much history. I'm going to I don't know what to do. I'm just going to get her drunk when for sure we're both going to get drunk when we get to Vegas and then I'll tell her so fast forward to after your plane flight out to Vegas. Where is the Hard Rock Cafe and casino? How old were you at? The store said hi to everybody at 10 minutes later as like shots shots. And I think we have like seven shots in like the first hour or two and Jager and I like lemon lemon drop shot and I was like man what's going on and I am absolutely hammered at that time, right? I remember you saying. Oh I'm going to go to the vet.

15:19 But I remember that point I'm like, okay, I guess I have to get up and up courage, right? So I followed you to the bathroom and when we walk behind the corner I said, hey Sarah and I grabbed you when I kissed you and I told you how I felt then you were a little I'm a lot overwhelmed but that's why I'm surprised cuz you were drunk and it was I know I needed some liquid courage and I've told you how I felt and then we proceeded to talk about it the entire rest of the weekend and long nights. Just talking about a relationship and what this man than what we were going to do and how I felt that you felt then I went from there and so what happened after that

16:19 I was living in Atlanta and we do the long-distance thing for about a year and us being a little OCD and we made the lives we knew we had to decide where we that we were going to move someplace want to give it a try. So we

16:36 Made his big list of pros and cons of staying in Atlanta moving to New Jersey moving from New Jersey moving to Atlanta all that stuff and it worked out that we wanted to have you move down to Atlanta. So we didn't fall back into our old rides of hanging out with her high school friends and doing the same things that we've been doing for years. It was a little more of a clean slate and I had a I had a decent job and I made a lot of new friends. So you decided to move down and we moved in together in Buckhead the now-defunct The Windsor at Lenox Park now 10:50.

17:16 And we were we live together for a year. We then got engaged and then we got married after year and but now married for little over 5 years 5 years and some change. So did you ever think that when we first met back in high school that we'd be married with a baby first met no.

17:43 When we first met now when

17:49 You know once we were together for about a year and you know, I said things like and I meant them, you know, like Yaz all I can see myself marrying you I'm not sure I ever realistically expected that though.

18:05 But yeah, I mean you're always kind and sweet and we all remember the thing my parents always used to say about us and you whenever Sarah's around you guys are always laughing guess you're always just talk for hours and just use the laugh for hours on end. And so that always stuck out my mind is as

18:32 Be encouraged. That's where we are now to.

18:41 Alright, so

18:45 This year's been especially big year because we had a baby and so just let's go back. So let's just talk about like deciding to have a baby and then when we found out

19:03 Well, we've been talking about it Evans. Jesus is 6 1/2 months old now approaching 7 months. So rewind a year and a half or so two years now was when we really started talking about it and like the timing of when we would do it and you know, whether or not you wanted to have it so you can take the rest of the school year teacher the time and all that sort of stuff is just the timing of it when we would try when we start trying and I remember we were we decided that we were going to do it start trying after the new year. So this was 2000 December 2009. I remember specifically was Christmas or Hanukkah in 2009, January 20th, 2009 and

20:01 You know, I'd only remember spending the holidays with my parents thinking about it. We we had spoken about, you know, I guess I became a lot more curious about my adoption. Once we decided to have kids, you know, and it's not because I wanted to find my birth parents and I've never really had much of a desire but I've been interested in learning more about my medical history and where I'm from a little bit more about me who I am. So those questions hard to pop in my head. I remember, you know, you were asking my parents around the holidays in 2018 questions about my adoption and you know how they live with their feelings were and and what not.

20:47 I know so we got some more answers from them then but I remember and I would definitely be nervous going into the new year.

20:58 Trying to have a baby and I would've been just ask for so long. And then when we found out, I mean there was way overwhelming overwhelming afterwards. I was I felt a little more deer in headlights at first. You don't even know we were trying it still.

21:22 You know, it takes a little more time maybe for me to soak it in and in for the hit me but I was very excited in jaw grenade. It said I wanted a girl actually and I'm not even really sure what I think and I think we'll be a tournament was that I I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to raise a boy more than anything else. Obviously we ended up with a boy and get out. And of course and you you would you said to me you said to me a few time you like we're going to have a boy and you're going to be a great father for a boy and that

22:04 You wanted to have a boy because it would be good for me to see myself in someone else which I've never had it cuz you know, I'm adopted I don't see myself in my parents and in retrospect. I think you're right. I think it was it was better for me to have a boy first cuz 90% like me so it's so how do you feel when everyone tells you Avenues your Mini-Me with my parents and the birth natural connection with Evan. It's pretty cool. You know, it's actually something that I don't get very emotional over because it's actually we just cool. You know, I smiled I don't like yeah, it looks it looks a lot like me the hair and the skin zits less.

23:03 You know, if first it was it was more emotional now, it's it's more like less crime or massive smile type. So go back a little. So do you remember when we first went to the doctor and saw the ultrasound them terrified? Cuz we you know, we had looked on the internet that we took the home pregnancy test in the things are like 99.999% I knew you were pregnant and the little lines I wear really we're not sure if you see anything at all your pregnant, but going in there we had a good idea what was going on, but I remember

23:55 I'm showing them on the screen and

23:58 Yeah, I was definitely amazing. You know, it's you see him dancing around up there and you can see him and we will take it. You know, we did hip-hop dance class at the gym and realize she's a dancer horse wilmed dancing. It was really cool. And then heard the heartbeat the heartbeat. That's probably that's that.

24:29 Then we changed me for life and death.

24:34 It makes me think about it being more of a life than I expected it to be definitely had a lot of protective parental instincts come in at that point for you and for him.

24:51 Definitely changed me for life.

24:54 So then we went through pregnancy and then we got to the day where he was born. And so can you describe about that day and what it was like when you saw him for the first time?

25:15 A day was December 28th? 2009 you were your due date was December 30th, but we wanted to have you in Tuesday cuz we want to have have Evan on the you-know-what 2008 2009 and so we got up he is it was the hospital calls you first thing in the morning when to come in and call the like 5:30. Lake come in at 7:30. So we may get up you obviously we're not going back to sleep after they call. It has come in yours the time you need to be here to have your kid. We we get up and we shower and pack everything that we're ready to go Dover the hospital at 7:30 in the morning. We

26:13 They check you in and we get into the really in the Northside Hospital and were in there and it's really nice hospital room is really nice. And we're just chilling and hanging out for about an hour something like that and then they come in and they start you on the medication to induce you and that went on for what seems like days is 11 hours. The whole pregnancy was it was scary until point cuz you had blood pressure problems.

26:48 You know, it made me appreciate how many things can go wrong with either the pregnancy or a childbirth to hear all sorts of complications. And you know it. We had a newfound respect for it because you were so healthy entire pregnancy working hour going to the gym and doing all sorts of stuff stand-up laid and and then we get there and we had this little snafu. So they started you on the Magnesium which you know, I made you drowsy and they gave you that point they gave you the

27:23 Epidural epidural and they thought that would release some of the the high blood pressure but that didn't do so, they can start you on the Magnesium which major KV likely like symptoms and just sore a week so you can get out of bed. So that was hard watching you like that as it was hard seeing you in pain and uncomfortable. I didn't like it at all but then it was about Jesus was about 6, I think 6 p.m. That was 6 p.m.

27:58 We started you started haven't started to come and long hours later after an hour and change of pushing out pop Devin and I didn't sell a similar to that shock value that I was more shocked than anything else because I had such a wide range of emotions obviously like oh shit call parents. What am I going to do?

28:28 And I wish I was still really worried about you. You know, they had the second the second he pops out they hand them to me and

28:40 And they were they had to make cuts on you and all the stuff. So I was concerned about you. I'm like watching him looking at him looking over as you looking back and forth. And you know, I've never been around kids really don't know we don't I've held the baby like twice in my life, and I remember to soothe a real life.

28:58 Oh my God, you know what hit me later that night that you so they clean them up. They took him away for a couple hours to get all his Vital Signs. He's perfectly healthy. So that was that was a relief and you were good. And so they had your medication your blood pressure was looking good day later. So I bet I remember the middle of the night just you know, we had passed them on to the nurse at the hospital a couple of times so we can get some sleep because going 5:30 in the morning through that whole long day and then that's how you start off your parent Neil parenting is just totally exhausted. We got a little bit of sleep, but I remember waking up in the morning the next day being like

29:52 Here we go, you know and then just being like wow, and that's really wanted. It started to hit me. You know that this is a real person and and I and I

30:07 It's all the feelings of now having that natural bond, and it was very overwhelming a lot to take in. So how's it been being a father and great. It really has been you know, the first three months he's very much. I guess, you know you sleeps a lot and he eats a lot, but you know he

30:38 Yeah, the great personality. I love his smile. I love he's the happiest kid in the world.

30:45 I enjoy being around him. I love taking care of them.

30:50 Waitress I like it doesn't matter. I'll come home from work. And I guess I've had the worst day in the world and when you're there on the sitting on the couch and you're holding him and you go is Daddy Daddy's home and you like turn the logs and as like those big like throws are nothing like as it's big like charcoal like everything goes away doesn't doesn't matter. There's nothing else in the world. So how to find that it's hard work and lucky. I have a much greater respect for my parents having been, you know, being a parent understanding the reasons they do things or what they had.

31:30 My parents had to go through these things to raise me and take care of me and I'm going through them now and it's a lot of hard work and there's a lot of tough talks to have with me when I am decisions to be made so

31:47 It's fine. It's hard. I'm a little afraid in that I don't I want to do everything as best as I can. I want to take the things that my parents that I think my parents did really well with me like spending time with my school work and spending time with me practicing Sports and going to every single thing I ever did the weather was band concert chorus concert a sporting event this or that you know, and then improve upon some of the things that I would like to improve upon like trying not to yell as much as they'd dad and or or being a little more open with communication

32:29 Dip so it's hard, but it's a lot of fun. It's great.

32:35 So I guess what we have kind of looking to the Future as Evans just a little over six months now. And so hopefully he'll listen to this, you know, many many years from now. What do you what are your dreams for him and for our family?

32:59 What do you want to say to him?

33:02 I want him to do whatever makes him happy at that easy.

33:10 Follow your heart

33:16 Just do what makes you happy work hard.

33:20 Play hard.

33:22 Be nice to people.

33:31 But what makes you so much know about it.

33:37 How can I remember I love you.

33:58 Like I said, I understand everything that my parents do for me. That's all I want like.

34:07 Olive Way, they went out of their way things to make me happy so I watch for him.

34:15 You're a wonderful father.

34:23 Is there anything else you want to say?

34:31 Are there any thoughts you have about his future or anything else?

34:49 I hope he's as lucky as

34:52 I was to find someone like you.

35:01 Noemi guys it's a it's a

35:07 It is emotional. You know, I think it is for any parents.

35:15 I want to be happy healthy.

35:19 I hope he wants to be an astronaut. Do you ask her if you want to be an athlete, you know, if we don't get cooked and whatever find someone you love take care of them.

35:31 Still makes you happy. Life is all about balance.

35:37 Yeah, I'm balancing your personal life and professional life and fun and work.

35:46 Saving and spending so it's laughing and crying at the you know, you have to find a good balance and I feel like you and I and you know, at least the three of us right now, hopefully more, you know, we have a good balance in our lives. We do a lot of things and we're very happy and I think that that shows through very

36:11 Watching Evan and hopefully it will continue for many years. It says I'm excited. It's flown by six months has flown by going to continue to fly by and I'm excited for everything in front of us. The challenges the experiences.

36:36 Well, thank you very much for talking to me about this today. And I think it's going to be wonderful for the future for our children to listen to this Sunday.

36:48 I think so Tim. Thank you for doing this is what I told you. I when you said this out that I thought this was

36:55 Damascus

36:59 I appreciate it. And

37:02 I'm sure hopefully they will too.

37:06 Are children not just having them on you and future generations of our family a little bit more about us.

37:15 Where we came from what we do what we like who we are. I love you. I love you.