In 2018, Kathryn and John shared their journey to adopt siblings Serenity and Kai through the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, in partnership with Adopt4Life. The couple had always wanted to grow their family and decided to pursue infant adoption. But, as they put it, the world had a different plan for them.
Kathryn and John fell in love with a three-year-old girl with significant special needs and her one-year-old brother. The little girl, Serenity, had 21 medical diagnoses — the doctors said that it was doubtful that she would ever walk. Her baby brother, Kai, was also in need of a loving, permanent family.
“We knew that these children were meant to be together,” says Kathryn. “Meeting our children for the first time is a moment that will be etched in our brains for the rest of our lives.
The couple shared that their Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter, Darcy, provided invaluable support throughout their journey to becoming parents.
In 2021, the Foundation had a chance to visit with the family again to hear how things are going.
John was eager to reflect on how adoption has changed the journey for Serenity in ways that many said were not possible. “When she graduated from SK (kindergarten), she actually did the procession with the rest of her class,” said John. “To see her walk with her typical class was one of my proudest moments.”
“She’s able to go up and down stairs on her own, she takes off her own jacket and shoes now,” reflects Kathryn. “These are things we were told would just never happen. Eight years in, I can see the changes in her, and I think for Serenity, adoption has given her the chance to feel comfortable and to thrive and to have a chance to let her personality come out a lot more.”
Kai is also developing new interests. His parents say he is making lots of friends, getting into rock climbing and other hobbies, and is always looking out for his big sister to make sure she feels included.
“I feel like all brothers and sisters should be together. I just want her [Serenity] to have the best life she can,” says 9-year-old Kai.
Kai also has high hopes for his own future, “I’m hoping to be a part-time YouTuber and a police officer.”
With John and Kathryn’s support, Serenity, Kai and their sister, Abby, have the bond of a loving, forever family.
“Our parents are our parents. They are who we lean on, who we know we can go to in the good times and bad. In the foster care system after you turn 18, you’re not guaranteed that,” says John. “I personally couldn’t imagine not having a family or not knowing that this is where I’m going to be forever and where I can always go back to.”
Sadly, thousands of children are still waiting to be adopted from foster care in Canada. These children are in care through no fault of their own because of abuse and neglect. Donate now to help the Foundation find forever families for the most vulnerable youth in foster care.