By Kathryn Connors
Kathryn Connors and her husband, John Amy, of Ontario, have adopted three children from foster care: Serenity, Malakai (Kai) and Abigail. Serenity and Kai, who are biological siblings, were adopted through the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program. Kathryn works for Adopt4Life, which seeks to build a community of support for adoptive parents to help children reach their full potential.
Adoption has opened our lives to welcome many amazing experiences. We have learned so much about life, love and family.
After dealing with years of infertility and loss, my husband, John, and I planned to pursue adoption of a healthy newborn or toddler. Little did we know that the world had a different plan for us. We attended our first Adoption Resource Exchange in Ontario soon after we were approved to be adoptive parents. That’s where a cute, little blonde-haired girl named Serenity caught our eye. Her profile indicated that she had significant and complex support needs. Words such as “unknown,” “deaf/blind,” “non-verbal” and “wheelchair” sparked fear in John and me.
We spoke with Serenity’s Wendy’s Wonderful Kids adoption recruiter, Darcy Thachuk, who helped us get a better sense of her strengths and needs. We realized that despite her challenges, Serenity just needed a family who would love and care for her. Soon after, we discovered that Serenity had a little brother, Kai, who was also looking for a forever family. We knew that these children were meant to be together. The sibling bond that Serenity and Kai have is indescribable. He takes his role as a brother very seriously and ensures that she is included in all that we do.
Meeting our children for the first time is a moment that will be etched in our brains for the rest of our lives. Serenity was no longer a stranger in a photo. She became our loving, spunky little girl. Our life was filled with a lot of questions when we adopted. Would our daughter talk or walk? Serenity can not only walk, but she recently completed a 7K run with the support of her dad. She can use sign language, pictures and gestures to communicate. She recognizes people around her, loves swimming and anything Disney. Through her gains, her unwavering determination, and her resiliency, Serenity is a constant source of inspiration and strength.
Our Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter, Darcy, provided invaluable support throughout our journey to becoming parents to these amazing and beautiful children. We are eternally grateful.
Two years after we first became parents to Serenity and Kai, we welcomed home our youngest daughter, Abigail, also through adoption. Our children have a strong, loving connection to each other which only emphasizes to us that love is stronger than genetics. Our house is full of laughter, love and lots of noise!!
Soon after adopting Abigail, we learned of an organization called Adopt4Life that provides support and guidance to families touched by adoption in Ontario. Much like the support we received through the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program during our adoption process, Adopt4Life has been a pillar of strength for our family. We knew adoption would be worth it. But that doesn’t make it less hard, and on those days — the really hard days — you need support. Having a support system, a lifeline, has been immeasurable. I am truly honored to now be a part of the Adopt4Life team – and have the opportunity to support others in their adoption journeys.