So, here we are…
How we wish we could jump through space right now and sit down across a table at a cafe, or diner, or in our kitchen, and share with one another. To show you our home, our lives, our daughter, ourselves. To share your hopes and dreams and concerns. To tell you about our experiences with our daughter’s open adoption and her wonderful birth parents. To welcome you.
This letter to you is our next best thing, thank you for spending your time with us.
I love stories and games and conversations. My childhood, shared with my three siblings (I’m the oldest) was full of games and adventure and long drives with my dad, a veterinarian, who would tell us fantastic stories as we drove out on farm calls. The stories and adventures continued when I left home. I worked my way through university as a river raft guide, leading expeditions on remote northern rivers, backpacking through Latin America and teaching digital video and game design courses on the side. I fell in love with Anni on a dancefloor in Vancouver. We moved to Whitehorse together, where I worked first as a carpenter and now as an energy advisor for the territorial government, helping people reduce their household energy use and impact on the environment.
You would think that the stories would slow down when you settle in a smaller, northern city and work for the government. They haven’t. With the arrival of our little girl, Waverly, the stories, games, conversations and adventures have exploded all over again. Trips to the grocery store have become adventures and a paddling trip across a lake to camp for a couple of days is an expedition of epic proportion. And I love my role now as Dad in these stories.
I LOVE being a Mommy. Coming to motherhood through another woman choosing ME to be a Mom is truly amazing. Parenting is a beautiful, hilarious, sometimes challenging and always interesting experience. Watching children learn and grow and become themselves is the most amazing thing ever.
I am a caring, bright, creative person who enjoys humour, nature and travel. When I travel, the one word I always learn in the local language is “beautiful”. I really enjoy my work as an alternative health care professional – helping people, from babies to elders, to be healthy and well. I am self-employed and can set my own schedule, which is pretty awesome. Being a Mom is a full time endeavour but I also fit in hobbies, friends and “me time” (now and then!).
Waverly is a very social, affectionate, chatty little girl. She likes to be busy with all kinds of activities, especially those that include doctors, construction, books and babies – both dolls and real ones. Being a big sister would THRILL our daughter, who is so in love with babies that she will sit down in the middle of anywhere and pat her lap, inviting a passing parent to let her hold their baby for them! Her week includes playgroups with our close-knit group of her little friends, library time, singing / dance class, playing with our neighbours and closest friends, and lots of family time together indoors and out.
Daily life also includes sharing stories and photos of our times spent with her birth family – though we live apart they are definitely present in our hearts. We consider “birth family” to be part of our extended family, and believe that life is only enhanced by including more people who love you.
Love, comfort and play. Freedom to be. Education through schooling but also through exploration and play. Creativity and the arts. Time in nature. Adventure walks. Physical movement, dance and music. Travel near and far. Cooking and eating meals together. Close friends. Family. Just being together, lots. We are blessed to live in a community where all these things are available – from hiking, camping, canoeing, organized sports, local farms and an animal preserve to museums, music camps, dance classes, performances at the arts centre, galleries, and cultural events.
Speaking of all of these things, we are lucky to be able to fill our days with them together. Anni works one day a week and James works four days a week, so we both have lots of one-on-one time with our child(ren!) as well as weekends together as a family. We feel the first years with a child are so precious, amazing and important that we want to be home with our child(ren!) for their first three years.
We adore Waverly’s birth family and have from the first moment we read their profile. (Seriously, we read it through once and then contacted the agency and said “YES!!!”) They had the same experience, and since our match they have shared:
From Waverly’s birth parents – “You both are the most amazing people we know… We love and miss you dearly!”
From Grandma K. on Thanksgiving – “I am thankful today and every day that A. & R. chose you as Waverly’s parents. You are the most wonderful couple I have met in so many ways. I am thankful that we can share together Waverly’s life across the miles. I’m sure we will all come together again in the years to come and this makes my heart happy to think of.”
We both grew up in great homes where love for each other, education, nature, and play were key values. James grew up within a family of six with a veterinarian dad and teacher mom. Anni has an older brother and grew up with a librarian dad and stay-at-home mom who ran a home-based daycare. Our families have now grown to include seven grandkids so there is always lots of action and adventure when we get together.
When we met our daughter Waverly’s birth parents (then expectant parents, on the telephone, on a sunny Spring evening that we will remember for the rest of our lives) we were struck. This process of becoming hopeful adoptive parents is so exhaustive (and sometimes exhausting) that we were surprised anything could strike as a surprise. But here it was. We got off the phone and Anni said to James, “Wow. I knew I would fall in love with the baby – I already have! What I didn’t expect is that I would fall in love with their birth parents like this.”
We are so happy with how our family was formed, through adoption. All of the bumps in the road led us here, and even though it was not always an easy journey we are so grateful that it was ours. Our experience with open adoption has enriched our lives. It is really extraordinary to all share our love for this little person who is so amazing. We have a magnet on our fridge from a best friend that says “Friends are the family that we choose for ourselves.” If this is true for friends, especially the bestest best of friends, then an adoption match is chosen from the deepest, truest depths of the heart, of all of our hearts.
We have close friends who are birth mothers, adoptees and fellow adoptive parents and are enthusiastic supporters of everyone involved in adoption. We also live right next door to another adoptive family and have various friends with multi-racial families and children – diversity makes our families and lives richer and it is something we welcome and embrace.
We are happy to own a cozy, bright little home in a wonderful neighbourhood, with a big yard for playing, gardening and running wild. We are walking distance to schools, playgrounds, hiking trails, shops and both of our workplaces. We have wonderful neighbours with kids of all ages who really make our street a community.
Whitehorse, Yukon is an amazing place, and it’s not as remote as most think! We moved up here from BC in 2006, after meeting and falling in love in 2003 and getting married in 2007. We are a short 2 hour flight from Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary, with direct flights to Ontario, the USA and Europe. We love the lifestyle and community here – a perfect balance of city life (great arts centre, sports centre, college, shopping) and nature. As for winter, yes it can be long but what child doesn’t love snow and what adult doesn’t love the excuse for winter sun holidays or to visit family and birth families?!
Due to our territory’s small population there is lots of access to teams, awards, travels and other opportunities for children and youth in sports, arts, dance, music and academics. They even get grants to go to university or college after they graduate from high school. It is a great place to be a family!
Thank you again for spending your time with us. If you like, let’s connect to share more and see if we may be a fit as a family. Open adoption is a journey, including finding a level of communication and openness that feels right for everyone. We would love to learn more about you.
With our love and best wishes,
James, Anni and Waverly