Tamara and Jeremy are parents to three adopted children. From infant adoptions to building attachment with an older child, their path was unique and filled with growth. Fostering connections with birth families and embracing diverse cultures, they celebrate their children’s stories and share valuable insights they learned along the way.

Tell us a little bit about your family/adoption story! What made you decide that adoption was right for you?

We have three kids, and adoption has always been in our hearts. We talked and thought about it a lot. When we started going through the process of starting a family and going through infertility, we thought about which route to go for, and both decided to go for adoption.

Both of our oldest, our two boys, were both infants when they were adopted. Our youngest was almost two when we finished up the process for her. The attachment aspect was a pretty significant difference with our youngest. There was a whole life from before that we weren’t connected with. Just building that attachment and connection took a lot of work. It was definitely a reminder of the trauma and the loss that these kids go through.

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

The process was quite different for each of our children, but they all felt surprisingly quick to us. For our oldest, once the home study was complete, it was about a three-month wait until we were matched with him. For our second, it was somewhere around a year after the home study, and our youngest was about two and a half years after that last home study. There was quite a different timeline for each.

The way we discussed it with our adoption team was that it felt like a miracle lightning strike three times that we had such amazing kids. All three were unique in their own way. I’m not sure if smooth is the right word to describe it because how smooth can it really go, but it’s been a pretty positive experience.

What has been the most rewarding/challenging thing about the adoption process?

For us, trying to acknowledge that our kids have all gone through their own trauma and how our family has been able to grow from that has been both rewarding and challenging. Another rewarding aspect is just being able to recognize each of their own stories and talk with them about it as they grow up. Each is unique in its own way, and we’re happy they have each other to relate to, even though they all have very different stories.

How have you approached the topic of openness with your child’s birth family? What has been your experience with maintaining connections or contact?

We talk and try our best to stay in contact with all the birth families. We want to be able to tell our kids in the future and share their lives with their extended families as much as possible. So, we set up newsletters every three months since our kids were born. There’s been some variable uptake regarding how much each of the birth parents wants to interact, which is totally understandable. We know they are going through their own trauma, but we do our part for what we think is right from our end.

Are there any specific traditions or activities that you have incorporated into your family life to celebrate or honour your child’s adoption journey?

It’s important for us to recognize all of their cultures. We read a lot of books, which has been a great way to talk about their cultures, adoption, and birth families.

With their heritage, we try our best to look up local activities and celebrate who they are. We do Chinese New Year every year and hand out red envelopes. Our oldest, who has Chinese and Aboriginal ancestry, has a little library of his own. He’s commented recently about how he’s proud of his Chinese and Indigenous culture, which has been a win for us. We’ve also made Bannock at home a few times, which he loves.

What is something about adoption that you wish people knew?

What we get a lot that has been a little unsettling for us is the idea that this is some wonderful gift to our children. If anything, the opposite is true. The thought that this is some magnanimous act is something we hear a lot. It might just be people being polite, but we feel that this has been a gift for us, and we’ve never thought of it any other way.

What is one bit of advice you would share with those who are considering adoption or just starting their journey, or just for any parents in general?

If you have preconceptions of what it should look like, they’re going to be wrong. These wonderful human beings are so different that we can’t really plan much. The idea of what a family has to look like and who’s in your family are things that you have to throw away before you start the process. Being open to yourself and to being uncomfortable is really important.