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GWK Mentors Through Adoption: Jeff and Thom

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Dads Through Adoption

Guest post written by Jeff and Thom Katz

Hi there! We’re Jeff and Thom, proud dads to a two-year-old daughter (and five-year-old pup), living in Los Angeles. 

In one way or another, we spent the first 10 years of our relationship preparing to become dads. Discussing early on while dating that we both wanted to be fathers someday, we always approached our plans for the future with a family in mind.

Family, in all its forms, has always been of the utmost importance to both of us. Whether it’s our own immediate and extended families, each other’s families, or our close group of friends, we take great care in cultivating and maintaining the special relationships of those closest to us. 

For Jeff, adopting was something he hoped to do for as long as he can remember, in large part because he was adopted at birth himself.

With his own very positive and healthy adoption experience—he is excited to provide the same love and comfort to a child that he received from his adopted family.

Jeff grew up in Florida with close relationships to both his mom and dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Growing up so close to his extended family meant that Jeff always had lots of exposure to babies and children, and for a long time he even considered becoming a pediatrician because he enjoyed being around kids so much.

Even though he eventually decided to pursue an initial career in journalism instead of medicine, caring for the well-being of kids would remain important to Jeff and would eventually lead him to a whole new job and passion.

After more than a decade working as a journalist, Jeff decided he wanted to start fixing problems instead of just reporting on them. He found a nonprofit organization dedicated to assisting and inspiring homeless youth to build self-sufficient lives and decided to devote his professional career to helping these young people.

Now, more than 8 years later, Jeff is a director at that same organization, ensuring homeless youth in Los Angeles have a safe place to go, food to eat and access to healthcare and housing. Working to end youth homelessness both in Los Angeles and around the country has become a great passion for Jeff—more than a job, it’s become a calling. 

Far removed from the beaches of South Florida where Jeff grew up, Thom was born and raised on a 300-acre farm just outside a small town in rural Kentucky. He spent most of his childhood exploring the outdoors with his sister, riding and caring for horses, swimming and enjoying the bonds of a close-knit family. With grandparents, aunts and uncles nearby, Thom’s childhood was filled with love and pride.

During high school, as his parents divorced and his father remarried (resulting in a two-year-old step-sister and newborn half-brother), Thom remained committed to learning, graduating high school as Vice President of his senior class. Wanting to experience life outside of a small town, Thom headed to Washington, D.C. for college and thrived in his new city. He quickly made a close group of friends, most of whom he’s proud to still call his best friends today, and found his passion for politics and media before moving to L.A. 

After five years of marriage, the couple decided to formally begin the adoption process in 2019, spending most of that year going through adoption classes and learning all they could about the process.

After clearing the home study and retaining their adoption attorney, they had the somewhat unique of experience of getting matched rather quickly with a birth mom. Nine weeks later, right as the world began to shut down due to COVID, they became dads to the most incredible little girl—and their lives have never been the same since!

“Becoming first-time parents is a bit of a whirlwind—and doing so during a worldwide pandemic was not without its own challenges—but this has easily been the most rewarding experience of our lives. We’d love to be able to share our experience, answer questions and be of support to other hopeful parents on their journey.”

At GWK, we’re especially delighted to introduce these dads as mentors for GWK Academy.

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