Hi! We are Karen & Ben from Los Alamitos, California. Thank you for taking this time to get to know us a little bit! We understand that this is a big decision and we hope to have the chance to know you as well.
Dear Birth Mother...
Thoughts on Adoption
Even though we are not able to have a child on our own we have always known we wanted to be parents together. We have always felt that adoption was the right choice for us and a beautiful way to start a family. We are really excited to start on this journey.
We’re a couple of geeks that met online and hit it off immediately. One of our early dates was making dinner in order to settle the debate of who was the better cook. It ended in a delicious draw, although Ben maintains that the mocha cheesecake was the highlight. We both love to cook, bake, and build things. When we met in Virginia, Ben was traveling quite a bit for work. The time apart was difficult but it did highlight how good we were together. When the opportunity came to move out to California for a job that wasn’t so much time on the road we took it and married shortly after. We’ve found that shared interests, values, and the willingness to be a little bit silly have kept our marriage strong.
Meet Ben, by Ben
In the words of a coworker, “every time I talk to you, I learn something”. I love to teach, and to build things, the intersection of the two makes up most of my hobbies, work, and passions. I build furniture at home, and rides for Disney at work. I have also developed a few open-source electronics projects.
I’ve lived in the USA, China, India, Australia and the UAE working on building cranes and factories around the world. In my travels I toured historical sites in India on a motorcycle, lived in rural China while working on an aluminum plant project and swam with the river dolphins in Peru. As my friend Jason once said: “you have a story for every occasion”. Although I’ve lived an interesting life so far, I cannot wait for the next chapter as a father.
Karen Talks About Ben
Ben and I hit it off right away. When we started dating he was charming and full of exciting stories and it always just felt natural being together. His natural passion for everything he does always shined through.
Even after 12 years, those feelings are still there and I have fallen deeper in love with how caring and sensitive he is. We visited his best friend Matt in New Orleans for Christmas in 2021 and it was a joy to watch him play with baby Sunny and witness what an incredible father he will be. He also loves animals and always tells me about how the Disneyland cats are doing (especially Francisco, who lives near his office).
He is very excited to be a father and is always reading about parenting and talking about it with his friends who have children. He always makes me feel loved and supported and I know he will do the same for our future child.
Fun Facts About Ben
- I’ve driven the steam train at Disneyland
- I was an Eagle Scout
- I was named after Benjamin Franklin
- I built our coffee table and a few other pieces of our furniture
- I have toured Death Valley on a motorcycle
- I once had a business selling yarn on eBay
- I have worked on every continent except Antarctica
- My favorite ice cream flavor is one that we make, orange chocolate chunk with Szechuan peppercorn
Meet Karen, by Karen
Growing up, I was the oldest of all my cousins by more than 7 years, so I was the one to babysit and entertain the younger kids at our family gatherings. In college, I volunteered with Eggster which is a student run charity that raises money for local disadvantaged children and organizes a free Educational Easter Egg Hunt every year! Having a positive impact on children and helping them to learn and grow has always brought me great joy and that is why I am so excited to start a family with Ben through adoption.
I also love my job working as an engineer! Right now I am working on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket and it is very exciting to be part of the team contributing to the upcoming moon landing. One of the most satisfying parts of my job is mentoring younger engineers. I love to help them overcome obstacles and to contribute to their growth.
Ben Talks About Karen
One of the things that I’ve always admired about Karen is her love of creating and learning. She is always trying to learn and improve on herself but also loves to laugh and be silly. The fact that she can manage to be very practical, hardworking, and still joke around and enjoy the lighter moments with me is part of what made me decide she was the one. She loves animals as well (especially red pandas), and she always makes sure the cats get lots of love. She’s incredibly loving and supportive to me, and can’t wait to be a mother.
Fun Facts About Karen
- I love to read and my favorite author is Terry Pratchett
- My most memorable meal was my birthday dinner at Dante’s Kitchen in New Orleans
- Mint chocolate chip was my favorite ice cream as a kid, but my parents thought it was pistachio because I said, “I like the green one!”
- My favorite animal is the Red Panda and Ben took me to a Red Panda experience one year as a Christmas present
- I never liked eggs or coffee until living with Ben
- Growing up I made pancakes every Christmas morning. Luckily, Ben loves pancakes so we have them often.
- I have hiked to the top of Half Dome in Yosemite twice even though I don’t like heights
The Hobbies We Enjoy
We both love to cook, bake, garden, and build things. When we bought our house we both agreed to really work to make it our own. Inside and out, our home is filled little personal touches. Karen does a lot of home improvement. She added built in shelves in the office, renovated a bathroom and updated lighting and fixtures throughout the house. Ben crafted a lot of our furniture himself including a beautiful walnut coffee table and other items are heirlooms made by his grandfather. One of Ben’s favorite childhood memories is “helping” his dad fix things from a young age. Eventually he was able help for real and has always enjoyed building, fixing, and creating ever since.
Our favorite project has been the kitchen. We both love to cook so that was always the top priority for us. Now it is the center of our home and where we spend a lot of our time. We have a ton of cookbooks and love trying out new dishes and experimenting. Karen loves to try interesting new recipes. We both have fond memories of learning to cook with our parents and are looking forward to sharing that with our future child and passing on our favorite family recipes like dumplings and pizzelles.
We’re both engineers, but in very different jobs. Karen works on rockets to go back to the moon while Ben makes magic at Disneyland, building and maintaining the rides. Fortunately, both of our employers are very family friendly, and allow flexible schedules along with plenty of leave for new parents.
The Place We Call Home
We love our home in Los Alamitos, which is a wonderful suburban neighborhood in Orange County, California. The small town feel attracts a lot of younger families because of the great schools, local parks, and Mom & Pop restaurants. We are also close to so many fun weekend activities – no matter the weather! We can go skiing in Big Bear, build sandcastles at the beach, visit a museum, or even head to Disneyland.
We love the year round great weather. There are many surrounding parks to visit and we are only a few minutes from the beach. Ben loves to barbecue and smokes his own brisket, pulled pork and even bacon. It also allows us to grow lots of interesting plants. We grow our own bananas, figs, lemons, oranges, and different herbs and vegetables.
Our two cats, Ping and Natasha, are adorable! Ping is a Siamese and loves to snuggle. He is a gentle lap cat who is shy at first but very loving when he gets to know you. He always wants extra attention in the morning and before bed. Natasha is a Russian blue who is curious and loves to meet new people. She is playful and loves when children give her attention. Ping is more laid back and likes to watch from the sidelines.
Meet Our Families
We both feel very lucky to have wonderful, supportive families who are excited about welcoming a new child through adoption!
Karen’s parents Tim and Yen, and brother Kevin all live in California so we often spend Holidays and special occasions together. Kevin’s Corgi, Remi, is a favorite at family gatherings but we still think our cats are the best. Holidays are usually full of food, pets and boards games. The highlight of the night is the ‘Eight Treasure Duck’ which is a traditional Chinese New Year dish. It’s a lot of work but worth it!
Ben’s family is almost all back east but we try to visit them every year or host them when they are able to visit us. We talk to his parents and other friends on the east coast regularly. Ben’s mother, Beth, is a writer and collects books. She always shares some interesting finds when we visit. Ben’s father, Joel, is the cook of the family and makes an amazing mac and cheese.
Traditions We Love
We’re looking forward to sharing our traditions with and starting new ones as a family! Every year Ben makes Christmas cookies using the cookie iron and recipe he inherited form from his Great Aunt June. His favorite flavor is Anise which Karen can’t stand so he makes her hazelnut cookies instead. Karen’s family makes a wonderful stuffed duck for major holidays which is always a hit. Ben will also often smoke a brisket or a pork shoulder for get-togethers or summer holidays.
Thoughts on Parenting
The part of parenting we are looking forward to the most is helping our future child to learn, grow and create. Your child will always have a warm, caring home where they can follow their dreams and find the things that they love to do and be a part of. The world is a magical place for children and we want to nurture that feeling while helping them grow into their full potential.
We promise your child will always have a safe, loving home with us. That we will nourish their potential and teach them to be kind and generous but also strong and confident. We hope that they will share our love of creativity but will always encourage their own passions, hobbies, and education.
We aim to pass on the values we were raised with including the value of education, generosity, kindness and working on bettering oneself and our communities.
Thank you for getting to know us a bit! We understand that this is a difficult decision for you. However, we hope that this is just the beginning of a new journey together and promise that your child will know their adoption story and how your love brought us together and made us a family. We hope that you will continue to be part of our lives but will always honor what you decide feels best for you.