As a toddler, Jennifer Magnuson was adopted: now, she and her wife Jenn are second-generation adoptive parents to a seven-year-old boy. Jennifer and Jenn took the time to speak the Belonging Network about their adoption experience

What’s your best bit of advice for families considering adopting?

Throw everything you think you know about parenting out the window and take the information you’ve been given through the education process with a grain of salt. Your job now is to know and understand your child(ren) and become the expert on them. Never let anyone tell you what they will/won’t be capable of, they have a whole life ahead of them and with unconditional love and support they will grow to amaze you.

Can you tell us about one high point and one challenging point in your adoption experience?

A high point for us was having a cultural match. I was raised white, in a white family; we were matched with a Mi’kmaq/Métis child and are able to raise him, nurture him, learn, and grow together within our shared culture.

A challenge was definitely going through the transition process as a queer family. As an out and proud couple, it was a very challenging first year as our son learned to accept us as his.

Can you tell us a bit about your experience with the adoption process overall?

Adoption is needed and can be beautiful, the process to adopt was not in our experience. I would caution to only move forward with adoption if you have a very strong support system that are all knowledgeable of the process, people who can offer you breaks and time for self care. Move forward with a thick skin and an understanding that although the process can feel more like an interrogation process from homestudy until the final papers are complete, it’s temporary.

How has the Belonging Network made a difference to your family?

It’s been a great support. It ended up giving us an amazing opportunity to meet a fellow queer adoptive mama and she and her kids have become family.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Our experience in adoption isn’t everyone’s. Even though we may not have had the best experience, it doesn’t mean we wouldn’t do it again. We have an amazing little boy we are lucky to call son because of adoption.