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We are so happy you found us! We can only imagine the many feelings you have at this very moment. We have always talked about growing our family through adoption, so this is us embarking on a very special journey close to our heart. This book is a collection of our happiest moments over the past nine years together. We recognize that you have your own “book” and we look forward to our stories possibly combining.
We grew up together in a fairly small town. Though we didn’t know each other well, we shared classes and friends at school (side note: Tom actually worked at a restaurant where Karen dined frequently with her not-so-intimidating dad).
It wasn’t until our 10-year high school reunion when we reconnected and exchanged numbers. The rest is history! We were long distance for about a year and a half, but finally that changed. What hasn’t changed is our love for dumplings, pizza, cheesesteaks, hoagies, and each other.
After three years, we were engaged at none other than Tokyo Disney Sea, Karen’s favorite place. Funny enough, Tom’s job took us back to Japan in 2017. We got to explore Southeast Asia while we were there, but we are happy to be with family and home now.
We look forward to revisiting all of our favorite places with a tiny person when they are able to travel with us safely. We feel incredibly fortunate to experience the world in this way; a way that is so different from our parents. We are excited to pass that on to a child.
Expectant mothers who choose to make an adoption plan may qualify for some level of financial assistance during their pregnancy. However, each person's situation and specific needs are different. Your adoption social worker can help you determine what level of assistance you qualify for and deserve. Many expectant mothers qualify for financial assistance to cover basic pregnancy and living expenses, including but not limited to - transportation reimbursement, utility assistance for phone, water, and electricity/gas, maternity clothing and supplements, etc.
Navigating a pregnancy alone is never easy. Depending on your situation and location, you may qualify for financial assistance to help cover the cost of basic living expenses, such as food and groceries.
Receiving quality medical care during your pregnancy is vital to both your health and the health of your baby. If you choose to place your baby for adoption, all of your pregnancy-related medical expenses will be covered by the adoptive family.
Women who choose to place their baby for adoption may receive financial assistance to help cover the cost of rent and utilities. If you feel that you’ll need some help with these costs, it’s important to talk to your adoption social worker about it early in the process. Each expectant mother’s situation is different, and eligibility may vary.
In order to have a healthy pregnancy, it’s important that you have everything you need to lead a healthy lifestyle. Like food and groceries, the cost of some household items - like feminine and dental care items, along with prenatal supplements - may be covered during your pregnancy.
Placing a baby for adoption is a loving, but incredibly challenging decision to make. Many women experience an array of emotions during this time and find that counseling is very helpful in navigating those feelings. If you would like to receive counseling during or after your pregnancy, that can be arranged by your adoption social worker. The cost of counseling will be covered by the adoptive family or adoption organization.
If you need assistance with transportation, your adoption social worker can work with you to find the best solution. You may eligible for assistance with transportation costs or be connected with a transportation service to utilize during your pregnancy.
It won't cost you anything. If you choose to place your baby for adoption, all of your medical and legal fees will be covered and you may be eligible for financial assistance with other pregnancy-related expenses.
Yes. Even if you don’t know the identity of the birth father, you can still choose to make an adoption plan. However, every adoption situation is different. The adoption social worker you’re assigned to will get to know you and your story first, and then guide you through the process accordingly.
You can make an adoption plan at any point in your pregnancy, even after the baby has been born. But, it's important to start the process as early in your pregnancy as possible. Connecting with those resources will allow you to gain access to important medical services, including prenatal care, to help ensure a healthy pregnancy.
One aspect of your adoption plan is the "Hospital Plan" an outline of how you'd like your hospital stay and delivery to go. You can craft this on your own or with the help of your adoption social worker. But everything is up to you. You’ll be able to choose who comes to the hospital with you, who is in the room with you during delivery, and how much time you’d like to spend with the baby before signing the final papers.
As part of your adoption plan, you'll determine whether or not you’d like to have an open or closed adoption or something in between. Open adoptions may include phone calls, messaging (via social media, email, or text), and/or periodic visits each year. Closed adoptions may include no contact at all or annual updates provided to the birth parent(s) by the adoptive family. Each post-adoption relationship is different and can vary based on what an expectant mother chooses in her adoption plan.
Tom and I are home for the weekend to say an official goodbye to Grandmom. We were so lucky to have two up till now... I actually can't believe we're 38 and still have a Grandmom and Grandpa left, still! Focusing as much as we can on the positive however tricky it can be 🍀 And leaning on each other in the meantime. life is short, live it up ❤️
A lot has changed since Tom and I were kids celebrating he who shall not be named Day ha- we never stop wanting to learn and expand our horizons. This adoption journey thus far has done just that. Some days are harder than others, but we truly have learned a ton this past year. Seeing parts of the process that are broken, and seeing it occasionally work in the right way. We are so hopeful an open adoption finds us soon ❤️
We're coming up on our one-year of waiting... I hesitate to call it an anniversary, but that's kind of what it feels like. While we did have the experience of matching once, that never did come to fruition (rest in peace, little angel). It has been quite the journey so far, but one positive is the people we have connected with and all of the things we've learned, good and bad, along the way. Adoption, as they say, is truly a life-long journey, and we are finding that out more and more as we continue on the path. Learning more every day and sending positive vibes out there for anyone in the journey who needs them, it's not for the faint of heart <3
This process has been pretty intense for us so far having lost the baby we were initially matched with. Tom's parents bought not one, but two, King Charles Cavaliers, and we have been over the moon excited. We drive home almost every other weekend just to get in some puppy snuggles. I grew up a cat person, and Tom always had dogs, but now I'm totally torn on what we should get!!! They're all so fun! I'm going to be sad when the puppies aren't puppies anymore, so it's time to make more fun to enjoy the now!!! :)
NYC is bubbling ahain and after a really long year with more downs than ups, we are ready for it!!! The Christmas restaurant down the street opened, and it's Christmas all year long. I'm really just going for all the fun fairy lights :) Happy September... <3 Karen and Tom
Sometimes you need a little lift when you get to the middle of the week, and this week s'mores are on the menu. Tom is the first person to make me an open-face s'more... and let me tell you, I'm now a convert! He uses our air fryer (which I also never thought of) and puts it on broil so the marshmallows get the light brown top!!! I know... He's gonna be a good dad :) But seriously... Did you grow up with them open-faced or sandwiched with grahams?!
One of the best parts of living in the city is all the diversity that happens on any given weekend. We used to live in Japan, so anything Japanese is extremely close to our hearts. We wandered downtown to munch on some yummy Japanese food, and we found so many people speaking in Japanese and practicing with other people. I was shocked to see New Yorkers of all different colors in yukata and traditional Japanese attire. It was so cool! In Japan, there's always a little pool set up where the kids go fishing with the nets that break... I think the goal is to catch a ball in the net without it breaking, and then you get a fish. Just one of the many moments throughout the day that we catch ourselves wondering when we'll get to bring a little one to a festival with us... Sometime <3
In just a matter of months, my husband and I went from 1/160 families in a pool to being matched for the first time with an expectant mother to feeling like full-blown parents in training. We took it day-by-day because, with adoption, anything can happen. We matched with the expectant mother early in her pregnancy. We spoke with her on the phone, forming a relationship, and gradually acquired more items for the baby as the due date approached. Of course, we weren’t going the traditional route with a baby shower. Instead, we told our closest network and places of employment because we were going to need off for an extended period of time. I ordered the bulk of the items within 90 days of the due date so things were eligible for return if she decided to parent, however unlikely it seemed. Despite seeming like we had one foot out the door, we were immersed in the process with our whole hearts. You have to be in it to win it in order to love someone else’s child. You have to go all-in. As the due date came closer, we chose a name, although we were ready to make that...
Entering into the adoption process, it helps to be as open as possible. This can sometimes mean adopting transracially. We have been learning so much about transracial adoption throughout our journey, specifically adopting Black children as White people, and it's a topic that's incredibly important to dive into headfirst. I came across this op ed today on Instagram and thought it was incredibly informative. https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2021/04/05/black-woman-raised-by-white-parents-advice-potential-adopters/?tid=pm_opinions_pop We are lucky enough to live in a diverse community, so we won't have to go far to seek out hair salons, churches, or community groups, et cetera, but for some adoptive families this can really require a lot of effort. It is all necessary, of course, and it will only help make life easier for all parties involved. It's so important to know your history, your roots, and your heritage. Both Tom and I have mixed-race extended families, but there is always so much to learn. A few weeks ago we watched Closure on Amazon Prime. This documentary follows Angela Tucker's journey to find her birth family. It's such a must-watch for anyone in our shoes. She's full of information and connections to the transracial adoptee world. She is so passionate and willing to...
As a friend once called themselves, I consider myself an introverted extrovert. I love to hole up at home with Tom, but I can very easily put myself out there and network like a champ. We have been "waiting" and home study approved for almost exactly four months. While it would be great to just sit back and coast with our agency in charge, it was impressed upon us that casting a wider net is never a bad idea. This is all part of the work. Because nothing is for free, nor should it be. When it comes to adoption, there is so much education, learning, un-learning, and work to be done. I've never been one to sit idle, so this website is our attempt at expanding our search for our 3rd piece to our family puzzle. In just 24 hours after chats, Tom and I started a private website. I learned about a little something from a friend called Google Webmaster. Webmaster helps the site potentially gain some more traffic (or traffic to begin with haha). The way I came about this friend was through my Instagram during Tom and my time abroad. It's bizarre where you find help...
I wasn't sure what to write here, but I'm a big supporter of The Secret and the Laws of Attraction. I figured it couldn't hurt to put the vibes out here and see what might happen :) We have always known that we were going to adopt... it was just a question of when. We were living abroad for the better portion of this previous decade, and when we started our transition home, we discovered our agency through a random podcast I found one-day "surfing" the web. This podcast referred me to New York Adoption Lawyer, and he, in turn, referred us to the very first agency we found that we ended up using for this process. It seemed like quite a serendipitous way to begin this journey, so we strapped our seatbelts on and went ahead for the ride! Adoption is a sticky subject. For adoptive parents, it's mostly a happy time. For birth mothers, it is beyond difficult and heartbreaking in a way we can never imagine. We never dealt with infertility or any of the other more common situations that may lead a couple towards adoption. We have always felt strongly about the amount of children needing...
Tom and I are over the moon excited for our upcoming trip to California--- we're super-vaccinated, both with a booster, and we're finally ready to return to the skies! I'm super-nervous to fly, while Tom is a bit more cool and collected, so we actually make a great flying team :) We're going to visit some family and close friends, but I'm hopeful that we can squeeze in some Disney time while we're there. Having worked at Disney (me), grew up going to Disney (both), and gotten engaged at Disney (in Japan)... I think you could definitely classify us as a Disney family! haha it's so depressing that it's become so expensive, but I think just walking around the parks feels therapeutic. Hoping that we can jump in a few short lines, even if it's only for Peter Pan's Flight. In Japan they have a word for nostalgia... Friends use it when they're out together and talking about good times had by all. The word is "natsukashii" and I am feeling all the natsukashii feelings already. Disney here we come :) <3 Tom and Karen
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