I Got a Dad & a Daddy: The Archer-Kendall Family Story

“The potential for great deeds are inside all children; it is up to us as parents to provide the tools to bring them to light.” 

When Mike and Jim finally saw Tristan’s profile on the Oregon pages of the Northwest Adoption Exchange, they had been considering starting a family for years. As a psychologist and a teacher, respectively, they felt their backgrounds had equipped them with “the tools necessary to provide a loving, stable home for a son who may have had a difficult or inconsistent first few years of life.” Adoption from the foster care system seemed the best choice based on what they thought they could offer a new child. “We were a couple with love and guidance and support to give, and there were already many children in the world in need of that,” Jim reflects. 

A seasoned caseworker read their home study and immediately recognized their potential – Mike and Jim were an uncanny and perfect fit for Tristan. While Mark and Jim were initially hesitant to pursue an adoption where they could not meet the child beforehand, as they received new information about Tristan, their excitement grew. 

Seeing Wednesday’s Child footage reinforced Mike and Jim’s burgeoning feelings and instincts that Tristan was “an excellent match and the right choice to form our new family”. When they got the official call that they had been selected as his adoptive parents, Mike and Jim were elated to say the least! Upon meeting their son, their emotions catapulted from initial nervousness to “abundantly overjoyed.” Tristan and his great-grandmother were equally thrilled to embrace Mike and Jim. 

As is expected with foster care adoption, not everything has been magical or easy. Mike laughs, “The last year has been a rollercoaster ride—thrilling, scary, tumultuous, and entertaining.” Jim reiterates, “Do not make assumptions about ANYTHING. Very little will go as you imagine or plan. Be open to the process happening as it will. No words in a profile can tell you what you’re getting into when a child walks through your door.” But it is still a happy ending, and a beginning. The new family finalized the adoption this summer, and are doing “extremely well.” They still have regular and cherished visits with Tristan’s great grandmother. 

Mike and Jim share their hopes for others: “We cannot know what the future will bring for our family or for other waiting families, but our hope is that anyone considering adoption will explore the foster care system and shun the stereotype that these children are ‘damaged’, or that the only option is adopting an infant. Our hope is that all children waiting to be adopted are able to find happiness and health in their lives.” 

Tristan himself, who had longed for a father figure in his life, is doubly ecstatic: “I got a dad and a daddy!” As for Tristan’s great grandmother? She boasts proudly, “I couldn’t be happier…I got adopted too!”

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Thank you to Voice of Adoption for the story contribution. The Archer-Kendall family story was originally published in Voice of Adoption’s 2013 Adoptive Family Portrait Project.