Phil & Karen
Hello from Karen & Phil
Hi! We are Phil and Karen and we live in Southern California with our sons Eli and Morgan and our little bird Spinnaker. We admire the courage and love that has led you on the path of adoption, and are truly grateful that you are taking the time to learn a little bit about our family. We were both blessed to have grown up surrounded by love, laughter, support and friendship, and long to raise our children in the same environment. Karen grew up in a large close-knit family – she’s the oldest of four, and always dreamed about having a large family herself. Phil is the oldest of two, and also grew up in a very close and loving family. Although the size (and noise level) of Karen’s family overwhelmed Phil at first, he quickly discovered how fun it is to be part of a large family. We have so much love in our hearts to share with another child, and can’t wait to grow our family through adoption.
Our Journey to each other:
We first met in 1999 at Karen’s cousin’s wedding. A year later the newlyweds hosted a “set-up” dinner at their home. The dinner was a little (OK a lot) awkward, and we didn’t get to talk much because the two of us ended up cooking the entire meal – Phil grilled burgers on the patio, while Karen stir fried veggies in the kitchen. That evening, after driving home feeling a little discouraged, Phil thought he’d be polite and write a short email to Karen. Well, she wrote back several paragraphs turning the awkward moments of the evening into funny anecdotes , which made Phil smile – the beautiful smile that Karen fell in love with the moment he walked into the room the evening before.
Since then we quickly became inseparable. We were married in 2004, and decided to delay starting our family a few years until Phil had finished graduate school. Once he graduated, we celebrated with a trip to Italy, where we experienced everything from touring ancient Roman architecture to tasting the best gelato we have ever had – Karen’s favorite gelato flavor was lemoncello, and Phil’s was ginger.
When we returned from our vacation, we were excited to start our family. Unfortunately, after two years of trying and experiencing a couple miscarriages, we learned that we had fertility issues. At that time we decided to try fertility treatments and were finally blessed with a successful pregnancy – double blessed actually because we found out we were having twins! Our sons Eli and Morgan are happy and healthy four year olds who bring so much joy into our lives.
About a year ago we decided we were ready to grow our family, and we started having an open discussion about adoption. The more we talked about adoption the more we realized that this was the right journey for our family. We both have friends and family that were either adopted and/or adopted their children, and they all had beautiful experiences. We can’t wait to welcome another child into our family.
A few favorites we love as a couple:
Karen as told by Phil:
When I first met Karen I was attracted to her intelligence, creativity, kindness, and her sometimes goofy personality. She has a way of making me laugh, and cheering me up when I am down. For instance she is always making up silly songs – songs about me or about whatever we happen to be doing at the time – she comes up with the words as she goes along and they usually rhyme and go along to the tune of a popular song. When she stops halfway through the tune and looks at me to provide the next line I just stand there stumbling for words until we both start laughing.
Despite her silliness, Karen is the responsible one in our relationship – she supports and motivates me and helps me attain my dreams. For instance, when we were dating I was always talking about changing my career, but never took any steps to get there. Shortly after we became engaged, Karen agreed to delay starting a family, and even helped support me as I went back to school to pursue a new career in computer science.
What I most admire about Karen is how patient and caring she is with our children. Karen stated early on when we were dating that she wanted kids — that it’s been her primary goal since she herself was a kid. When she became a Mother for the first time, and I saw how happy she was – I knew she was doing what she was meant to do.
Dessert: Double chocolate brownies
TV Show: The Big Bang Theory
Movies: Mrs. Doubtfire & Good Will Hunting
Vacation Destination: Italy
Ice Cream: Gold Metal Ribbon
Hobbies: Reading, Cooking, & Painting
Favorite Holiday: Thanksgiving
Favorite Time of the Year: Spring
I am an architect and work part-time at a local Architecture firm. I love my job, but my favorite role and lifelong dream is being a Mother. When the boys were born I decided to take a couple years off to bond with them and just be a Mom. When they were old enough, we started them in a half-day Montessori preschool near my office. Phil drops the kids off in the mornings, and I pick them up in the early afternoon. I have found this schedule to be a perfect balance. I cherish my afternoons with the kids and love taking them to a park or a play date after school, and still have time to prepare home-cooked meals almost every night.
Phil as told by Karen:
Phil is a deeply passionate person who always puts the needs of others before himself. Whether it’s helping a neighbor with a home improvement project, volunteering to provide and serve food at a local soup kitchen, or regularly visiting a critically ill coworker in the hospital, Phil’s heart is always open to those in need. And whenever he lends a helping hand, Phil always has a warm smile on his face – the kind of smile that lights up a room.
He’s also always full of light hearted stories – the kind of stories that make you laugh. Phil is quick to laugh himself. Whether he’s watching a movie, talking on the phone, or telling one of his famous stories, you will always hear that warm hearted contagious laugh that makes you laugh along with him. I love going to the movies with Phil, especially children’s movies, because he laughs louder than any of the kids in the theater.
What I love most about Phil is that he’s a wonderful Dad. The kids run to the door when he gets home from work, excited to tell him about their day and get a big bear hug. And to my chagrin, Phil always manages to put them into a laughing fit right before bedtime by pretending to be a horse while they ride on his back, or by chasing them up the stairs as the “tickle monster.”
Hobby: Gardening and especially proud of my new vineyard, which I planted and trellised myself
Movies: Spaceballs, The Princess Bride, and The Star Wars Movies
Outdoor activity: Sailing and kayaking
Vacation destination: Cape Cod
I work for a medical device company, managing the software development for critical care ventilators. I love being part of a team and a project that can help save lives. My company values work-life balance and is very understanding and accommodating when I have to take time off or work from home to attend school events and/or care for my children when they are sick. I am thankful that I have a flexible job that understands what it means to be a family man – and I am thankful to have such a wonderful family to come home to every night!
Our Family & Community
Meet our sons Eli & Morgan:
Eli and Morgan are fun and energetic 4 year olds, who are good friends (most of the time), and constantly surprise us and make us laugh. They both attend a Spanish Immersion preschool, which they love! They are in separate classes and enjoy their independence at school, but can’t wait to play together when they get home.
Eli is a sensitive and inquisitive child. He is always in tune with the emotions of others, and is quick to give a hug to someone who is hurt or sad. One time when Karen was sick in bed, he snuck upstairs to tuck her in and read her a story. He’s also a great helper – he loves to cook with Mom and Dad, and was even thrilled to help change his new cousin Erik. He will be a natural big brother and can’t wait to welcome a new baby into the family!
Five of Eli’s favorites:
Food: Mac ‘n cheese
Book: Any book about animals
Song: Old MacDonald
Outdoor activity: Riding on the swings
Morgan is a fun-loving energetic boy who is curious about everything. His teachers describe him as a sweet child who everyone wants to sit next to during circle time or snack time. He loves spending time with his younger cousins, and is very attentive and gentle to his new baby cousin Erik. He is very excited to be a big brother, and recently asked us “when are you going to have a baby?”
Five of Morgan’s favorites:
Food: Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
Book : Thomas the Train books – all of them!
Song: Wheels on the Bus
Toy: Wooden train set
Outdoor activity: Playing in the Sandbox
A few family favorites:
- Friday Night Jammie Parties – we cuddle up on the couch in our PJ’s to watch a family friendly movie – some of our favorites are Charlotte’s Web, Dumbo, Finding Nemo, Madagascar and Mary Poppins.
- Picnic’s in the park
- Cooking/Baking together
- Arts and crafts – which we display in the family room “Art Gallery”
Home & Community:
We live in a close-knit community in Southern California in a bright and inviting four bedroom home. We are situated on a semi-private lot with a front yard for our garden and vineyard, and a background that is tailored to kids – our friends have commented that our backyard is like a park!
We love to entertain, and host a yearly community pot-luck in our backyard, which is perfect for the kids and adults alike. Phil loves to BBQ and smoke fish in the backyard smoker – some of his favorites include maple glazed salmon with grilled zucchini, and home-made grilled pizza!
We love outdoor activities, and we are fortunate to be located 10 minutes from multiple parks where we love to picnic; 15 minutes from our community lake, where we can rent a boat, go fishing, or just play at the beach; 30 minutes from the ocean and several family friendly beaches; and within a couple hours from the mountains, which offer hiking in the summer, and skiing in the winter.
We have a cute, musically inclined, conure named Spinnaker – Spinney for short. Spinney is cuddly and loves being scratched on his head and neck. He likes to say “Hello” and “tickle tickle,” which is how he asks for his head to be scratched. The boys enjoy helping to care for Spinney, and especially love feeding him his favorite treats – walnuts and pasta!
We both come from close loving families, and enjoy spending time surrounded by family and friends.
Karen’s family all live within two hours from each other, and get together frequently for holidays, birthdays, BBQ’s and summer pool parties. Karen’s sister Tracy and her husband Matan have two small children, her brother Michael and his partner Taylor are in the process of starting their family through adoption, and her youngest brother Steven and his wife Sofia are expecting their first child in a few months. Karen’s parents Grandpa Richard and Grandma Janis live in the same house where she and her siblings grew up, which is the hub of most of the family gatherings. Karen’s parents also have a summer home in Washington State, which we love to visit!
Phil’s family is spread out across the country, but we still manage to see them frequently and skype with them almost every weekend. Phil’s Dad Mike lives on an ocean front property in Rhode Island, where we all love to vacation. He also comes to visit us in California about every other month. Phil’s brother Charles lives in New York, where he and Phil grew up. Both Uncle Charles and Grandpa Mike spend a week with us every New Years! We enjoy cooking a special meal together complete with home-made appetizers and desserts to celebrate the New Year!
Our Promise to You
To love unconditionally.
To foster curiosity and instill a love of learning.
To teach our children to make good choices.
To share their adoption story with them and make sure they know that it was your love that brought them to us.
To teach them that it is OK to make mistakes and to learn from them.
To support their dreams
To be their moral guide and teach through our actions to be kind and respectful of others.
To laugh, sing and play with them daily.
To teach them that through hard work and perseverance they can become anything they desire.
To read stories every night before bedtime.
To always listen.
To provide lots of hugs and kisses.
Thank you for considering us as parents to your precious baby. Our hearts are open and full of love, which we cannot wait to share with another child. We have nothing but admiration and respect for you, and hope that you find peace with your decision and joy in finding the perfect family for your child.