November 15, 2016 4:21 pm
Updated: July 14, 2017 2:31 pm

Keeping siblings together: the dynamics of an open adoption

WATCH ABOVE: The intricacies of adoption can sometimes be a challenge to navigate, particularly when multiple children are involved. One birth mother made the difficult decision to place her 4 children up for adoption. As Jill Croteau reports, in part 2 of her series, the siblings are forever connected because of an open adoption.


Not all adoptions are created equally, particularly when multiple children are involved.

Calgary resident Jill, who had four children—including a set of twins—is at the heart of an open adoption journey.

This is Part II of Jill Croteau’s three-part series on open adoption: Forever Families. Click here for Part I and click here for Part III.

Birth mother Jill

Family Supplied

She wasn’t in a position to parent and resisted adoption from the very start. But she discovered the possibilities of open adoption. It’s a concept that allowed her to choose who she wanted to parent her children.

Her eldest daughter, Zaylynn, was entrusted to her mother, Mary Jane Lennox.


“When you’re in your 60s and raising a little one, it has its challenges, but there’s some benefits,” Lennox said. “It’s amazing.”

Lennox, along with her partner Tim, adopted her grandbaby.

Mary Jane and her partner, Tim Lennox

Family Supplied

Zaylynn is now six years old.

“Jill was at a different place in her life and it wasn’t a time she could raise and provide for that child, so we had a very difficult conversation,” Lennox recalled. “I realized we had to step up to the plate. She was our granddaughter and we wanted to be a part of her life.”

Six-year-old Zaylynn

Nate Luit

But Lennox wasn’t alone in her parenting journey. She soon met Erin and Lonnie Hansen, the Alberta couple who would come to parent Jill’s second child, Sarah Jane, as well as twins Jacob and Kaitlynn.

“Erin and Lonnie were complete strangers and now they’re family,” Lennox said.

Adoptive parents Erin and Lonnie Hansen

Nate Luit

Story continues below

They all connected through a non-profit agency called Adoption Options. They have now become one big happy family, filled with boundless love.

Erin and Lonnie Hansen are proud to parent Jill’s three children.

“These kids are ours in every sense of the word,” Erin said about her adoptive children.

“They’re the focus of our life and Jill made our dreams come true.”

Lonnie admires the difficult decision Jill made.

“I’m sure there’s a conflict—being grateful they’re in a good place but the sorrow that she couldn’t provide that place.”

Although the kids are being raised in different households, they share a lot of time together. It’s important for everyone involved that the siblings develop connections with one another.

Twins Jacob & Kaitlynn

Nate Luit

“At the end of the day they have each other,” Lonnie said.

Lennox marvelled at their relationship.

“It means so much to Zaylynn and it’s of great comfort to her who her brothers and sisters are – and she’s got them.”

Jill is very much involved but not entirely comfortable personally sharing her story.

Lennox said her daughter made this choice out of love.

“Despite wanting to keep those children, she knows what’s best and I don’t know how deep that hurt is. It’s a huge sacrifice and I admire Jill’s courage.”

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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