We’re Joanne and Peter, and we love being parents.
With Peter being adopted, we always knew our family life would include adoption. It is a big part of us and who we are.
We knew soon after we met that we both wanted to start a family. We tried to have children the way everyone else does, and came to realize that we would not become parents the ‘traditional’ way.
Our son Jackson came to us through surrogacy. We often look at him and think “We did something right.” We’ve been blessed with him; he’s brought so much joy into our lives.
He’s also made us realize how much love we still have to give another child. We are truly lucky to have him in our lives, but have always dreamed of a larger family. Someone — is missing.
Together, the three of us share a house full of love and laughter. And our dream is to fill it with even more. Both Peter and I grew up in close families with brothers and sisters, and we know the tremendous importance of a sibling in a child’s life.
And with Peter’s adoption — and his sister’s, too — any child coming into our home will have the benefit and compassion of someone who knows first-hand what adoption feels like. Peter has always said how selfless his birth mother was, and that one of the most loving things she did was to place him with his adoptive family.
In short, we — Joanne, Peter, and big brother Jackson — will love a child, no matter who, no matter what.
Yes, believe it or not, Peter and I shared a desk in grade 11 English class. We started out good friends, but soon came to realize it was more than that. Now, over 20 years later, through everything life has thrown at us, we’re still going strong.
We love travelling. We love going to concerts. We even still love the odd crazy night of dancing.
But what we really look forward to most is our Saturday nights together. Just hanging out at home, having a nice meal, then settling down for a good movie…we always look forward to it.
“So… where do I start? Well, first off, I love spending time with my family. Family is my life. I grew up with a loving mom and dad who made it clear to me that family comes first. And for me, it always has. Nothing beats hanging with my little and big man.
I also love to travel. These days, that’s usually our yearly trip to Florida visiting Peter’s family. Jackson, meanwhile, likes build sand castles and pop by and say hello to Mickey Mouse.
I’ve worked in marketing and advertising most of my career. I work for a company that embraces the importance of family, so I have the opportunity to work from home or to bring our children to work for the afternoon. This makes me always available for the needs of our family.
These days I run the creative studio at a large print company. Originally, I thought I might be a dancer. I took my first ballet class at age 6, taught classes, went on to win several competitions and perform as a solo artist at Toronto’s Roy Thompson Hall. Later, I studied dance at York University. I ended up finishing with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in psychology.
These days, when I’m not busy marketing and being a wife and mom, I still have a weakness for dance (mainly around the house). In between, I like to cook (or watch other people cook on TV), and take the odd road trip to find great new restaurants. I’m a bit of a foodie — though my favourite dish is a yummy mac ‘n cheese.”
“Joanne is strong — she’s a born leader — but she’s also a real softie at heart. She’s one of the most thoughtful people I know. She has incredible empathy for others. She’s also a great listener. I think that’s why people are drawn to her. Complete strangers will tell her their life story. She has that wonderful balance of strength and compassion, with a healthy dose of humour thrown in.”
“I like to think of myself as a hard-working, easy-going guy. Like Joanne, I love spending time with my family and close friends and generally enjoying life. I have a family cottage where Joanne, Jackson and I spend many fun weekends, and where I get to practice my water-skiing. Though my real passion is music. I used to be a DJ (I still pretend to be one at home ) and I love spinning one of my 1,000 or so records.
I’ve been fortunate to work for a good company. I’m a director there, and have been there almost 20 years. The company encourages a healthy work-life balance, which is especially important to me now that I’m a dad.
I like to be open with people about the fact that I was adopted. My sister was adopted too. We both had great childhoods. My parents were open about our adoption, and never treated us any different.
Now, I want to give a child the same love and support I had when I was adopted.”
“I knew Peter was ‘the one’ the first time I met him. He is simply wonderful, in so many ways. He’s an incredible husband, caring father, supportive son and brother — and the most loyal friend you could ever have. He’s also a good boss (so I hear!) and a good neighbour to boot. Many times when he’s not looking, I watch him from the corner of my eye and think ‘Thank goodness I found him’.”
Jackson is a fun-loving little boy who’s fascinated by anything on wheels. Cars, trucks, fire engines, trains — and trains, trains and more trains! He loves Thomas the Tank Engine. He also likes puzzles, Lego, riding his bike and he’s thrilled that he can now write all our names.
He’s very sociable, and often plays dinner host, inviting other kids to the house. He was about 2 when he began hinting that he’d like to have a brother or sister. And one day, he openly confirmed it. We have a little statue of a mom, dad and baby in one of our spare bedrooms. He would always point to it and say “Mommy, Daddy and Jackson” — until the day we were getting the room ready for a guest, and he went over to the statue and said, “Mommy, Daddy, and my sister.” Our hearts just about burst, and we took it as another good sign.
We live in a small town just north of Toronto. Our house is in a cul-de-sac, so it’s quiet and safe, with almost no traffic. It’s a cozy, welcoming place, with a big yard and plenty of room take walks and throw a ball around. There are also lots of biking and hiking trails nearby, allowing us to get out and enjoy the outdoors!
Our community is a close one, where everyone gets involved in events like Easter egg hunts, craft festivals, and on holidays, fireworks. There are lots of other kids to play with, and lots of things to do, from playing in the park and a game of road hockey to shooting hoops on the driveway. It’s as busy or as laid back as we want to make it.
Peter’s family cottage is our home away from home. His lifelong friends there have become close family friends, and we’ve now put down roots there as a family.
The cottage is where we all relax and forget about work and schedules. Instead, we participate in our annual Canada Day fireworks. We practice up for our annual Thanksgiving football game. There are boat races out on the lake and running races on the lawn. Visits to neighbours’ cottages. And take trips to the store for giant ice cream cones.
In summer, the cottage is a paradise for kids, from the front lawn swing and lake swimming to hide ‘n seek. And in winter, the cottage is a warm, cozy retreat for spending holidays, building snowmen and just enjoying tranquil winter scenes. It’s a perfect place to be, no matter what the season.
We’ve said that family and friends are important to us, and truly, they are. They include Joanne’s parents, married 45 years, and Peter’s parents, who will soon celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Our families share our sweetest memories, and are our safety net. They are always there, no matter what. (Jackson has a saying, “Okay, okay, that’s enough,” when he’s tired of all the kisses and attention he gets. )
Every child who comes into our family will be welcomed into this fold, and loved unconditionally.
At the same time, we welcome the chance to connect with you, the child’s birthparent(s). We’re very open to having a relationship that makes you comfortable.
Because after all, adoption is a journey that brings many people together through the shared love of a child.
We are ready to take that journey once again, and can’t wait to share our love some more.
Joanne and Peter