‘I've always been so proud that my parents got to choose me’
By Janelle Comeau
This Mother's Day, I'll be reflecting on how both of my mothers, my past and present, and my personal and professional life are connected by an Acadian joie de vivre.
My birth mother was financially insecure when she placed me in care. Her wish was that her newborn would be loved in the heart of an Acadian family. She wanted me to grow up in a bilingual home and to experience French culture.
I was cared for in a foster home for six months during the search for a suitable adoptive family. Then an Acadian family in Meteghan River was approved to adopt. My birth mother's wishes were respected and I was raised in my culture. I'm happy that this was a priority for Community Services. I've learned how strong, vibrant and resilient our culture is by travelling internationally with a dance troupe.
This Mother's Day, I'll walk next door to visit my mom, my adoptive mother. My two daughters will likely join us on the deck to admire flowers. Later on, my husband will cook, and we'll enjoy family time. As the son of foster parents who cared for more than 50 children, he has always had a strong appreciation and understanding about fostering and adoption. I've always admired his family's strong community spirit.
I think my parents are amazing people who gave a child a chance to be who they could, and should, be. I've always been so proud that my parents got to choose me. As a child, I introduced myself as being adopted. This open attitude prompted others to discuss their stories with me and, eventually, persuaded me to pursue social work. The reason I decided to go into social work was because I wanted to pay it forward.
One of my first experiences doing that happened early in my career in Digby. Two children were taken into care and placed in a wonderful home. Just recently I was away at a dance competition when I saw that adopted daughter take centre stage. That made me so, so happy. This is what I wanted for her. She's talented, ambitious and a wonderful student.
After Mother's Day, I'll head back into work at 10 Starrs Road in Yarmouth, where I'm a district manager for Community Services. I was taken into care in this building, given to my adoptive parents in this building, and now I come to work in this building. This community is where I was fostered.
Today, there are few infants available for adoption. We do need adoptive families open to children older than eight, large sibling groups, children with medical or other special needs and African Nova Scotian families.
We are interested in talking to prospective foster parents. They can be single, married, in a same-sex relationship, or work inside or outside the home.
As a social worker, and a mother, I believe that every child deserves a chance.
For more information, visit http://novascotia.ca/coms/ .
Tagline: Janelle Comeau, a district manager in Yarmouth for the Department of Community Services.