Forever Families Through Adoption

Sam the Ironman

Sam Karliner

In 2011, Sam Karliner could barely swim across a pool and didn't own a bike. But as a life-long runner, he knew he could run. Today he is a 10-time Ironman headed to the 2023 Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii. Sam began running at age 13 and competed on his high school team for 4 years. In 1985, Sam entered his first marathon, the New York City Marathon. He finished in just over 4 hours, was hooked and would soon become a sub-3 hour marathoner. When Sam got married and had children, running and traveling to races became part of their family fabric. But a persistent memory stuck in his mind: Ironman, a crazy insane race that he had seen on TV, a 140.6 mile race comprised of swimming, biking and running. Over the years, he would ask himself: Who can do that?

At 47 years old, Sam sought the answer to that question for himself. He signed up for the 2012 Iron Man Lake Placid, New York 2012. It was an amazing experience that he wasn't completely prepared for but, as he crossed the finish line he was hooked. He needed more. That began his journey into the world of Ironman. Now that Sam knew he could complete the distance, his reasons for competing evolved and changed. Having adopted twin sons Elliott and Jake with his wife Jill in 1995, he began using Ironman as a platform to raise money for Forever Families Through Adoption (FFTA), a local adoption agency. The more Sam trained, the more he learned, the more people that followed his progress, the more competitive he became.

Sam started doing well within his age group, moving up in his finishing places. Soon he was finishing in the top 10% of his age group. To qualify to compete at the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, athletes must finish in the top one or 2% of their age group. Sam knew it was going to require a lot of work. He had to train smarter, not just harder. He hired a coach and dove into understanding the sport and training better. And then, life happened, as it always does. In 2019 during a training ride, he suffered a crash and shattered his hip socket. He wasn't sure if I would be able to walk again, let alone run or compete. After extensive surgery and a long, painful rehab, he pushed himself to begin Ironman training again. The improvements came slowly, over the next six months Sam slowly began to walk again then lightly bike until he was able to progress to a short slow jog. By the spring of 2020 he was ready to dive back into serious training. First, Sam qualified for the Ironman World Championship at the 70.3 distance. Competing at this level was an entirely new experience for him, at half the full distance the pacing is faster and more intense. After a shaky start in that race, he able to come back and have the seventh fastest run time in his age group 55-59. Finally in July 2021, Sam came in second in his age group at Iron Man Lake Placid and qualified for the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.

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FFTA is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.

Upon request, a copy of the latest annual report can be obtained from FFTA or from the Office of the Attorney General by writing to the Charities Bureau at 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271 and you may also request a description of the programs and activities for which the donation has been used at FFTA.


Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law (Please consult your tax advisor regarding your tax exempt donation) FFTA 501(c)(3) Tax Exempt # 20-8879080

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What's New at FFTA?

Forever Families Through Adoption, Inc. Voluntarily Relinquishes Hague Accreditation

After much consideration, our Board of Directors along with the support of the FFTA staff has made the decision to voluntarily relinquish our Hague Accreditation. Due to the closing of several countries' programs to adopt from the United States, plus a global pandemic, it is no longer feasible to continue our Hague Status, which we proudly maintained since 2008. We have felt honored to be able to work with CEAS, IAAME, the Department of State and so many Domestic and International Adoption Service Providers, such as ANW, EFKO, CONANI, TDH and prospective adoptive parents throughout the years. What an amazing experience to help build families here and across the ocean! FFTA is looking forward to expanding our Domestic and Foster to Forever programs.

We wish all of our international friends well as we enter an exciting 2024!!

FFTA receives HRC-ACAF Innovator Seal of Recognition

Forever Families Through Adoption is proud to be one of the 172 child welfare organizations joining the the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation's All Children - All Families (ACAF) program in 2023, as highlighted in a new report. Together, these organizations work to improve the services provided to the LGBTQ+ community, including children in foster care and prospective foster and adoptive parents who are LGBTQ+.

FFTA is so proud to have again received the highest "Innovative Inclusion" tier of recognition. We are honored to work with LGBTQ+ families and are committed to treating all persons with respect, dignity, and compassion. To learn more about the All Children-All Families program, please visit the HRC website.

Read our full press release here.

Forever Families Through Adoption, Inc.
62 Bowman Avenue
Rye Brook, NY 10573-2804
Tel: 914-939-1180
Fax: 914-939-1181

All of the children portrayed or mentioned on this website are with their forever families and are NOT available for adoption.

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