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Tristan: "I'm happiest when I see both my families laughing together"

Tristan's girls
The girls in Tristan's life: grandmother, mothers, sisters, aunt and cousin, July 2004

Tristan Andrés Guibault

Hi ... my name is Tristan and I am 11 years old. I was adopted from Medellin, Colombia when I was four months old. I live in Canada with my mother, father and sister. My sister is 15 and was born in Guatemala. Her name is Kahleah.

It is a very cool experience to be adopted. To be adopted means to have two families. One family that gave life to you and one family that takes care of you for the rest of your life. To me both of my families are caring and loving and the best in the world.

Ever since I was very little we have had contact by mail and email with my birth family in Colombia. In 2004 I finally got to visit my birth family. We spent five days with them. It was so much fun to bring my two families together.

I am the happiest when I see both of my families laughing together and connecting. I am the saddest when I miss my birthmother, and sometimes I cry because it is hard to have one mother who does not live near me.

Tristan and Andres
"We shivered the same way"
It is important to me to know who my birth family is because if I didn't know them I know I would feel bad. I would feel bad because I wouldn't know if they were alive or dead. I wouldn't know if they were good or bad people. I wouldn't know who I look like. To know who I look like is almost like having a twin. I look like my birthmother and everyone else in my birth family, especially my brother Andrés. My brother and I are both in good shape. One time, when we got out of the swimming pool after swimming, we were cold and we shivered the same way. He was also sporty and strong like me. He has the same eyes and hair. He is very handsome. I also learned that my brother has dyslexia just like me.

It felt great to play and hold hands with my brother and sisters. My sister by adoption connected perfectly with my sisters and brother by birth. Kahleah is a really nice sister because she just is. She is my rest-of-my-life sister.

Katerine and Kahleah
Katerine, sister by birth, and Kahleah, sister by adoption
Sometimes kids at school call me names like the "n word" and tease me because I am adopted. This makes me mad. It's not fair because no-one has the right to make fun of anyone because they are brown or adopted. It hurts me very much in my heart. It makes me want to fight. One boy on the bus told me that my "real" family couldn't stand me and threw me away and that my parents hated me and they wanted to get rid of me. I know this is not true but I did want to break his teeth. I know it isn't true because I know that my birth family and my family by adoption love me so much they would probably die for me. Words still hurt though.

I love my mommy because she takes such good care of me. She is always there for me and I will always be there for her too. I feel the same way about my daddy. I tell my parents that I love them more than air and they always say, "I love you more than that".

I am so happy that my birthmother and family are all right. I think about them every morning, every day, every night and every tomorrow. This is exactly what my birthmother said about me. I am so excited to see my birth family again and meet my new baby brother. We plan to visit again next Christmas. It is cool to have two families ... it just is.
When he was 10, Tristan met his Colombian birth family, on July 8, 2004. Tristan's adoptive mother is Leceta Chisholm Guibault. She adopted Kahleah, born in Guatemala in 1991, and Tristan, born in Colombia in 1994. Leceta and husband Jean and family live in Joliette, near Montreal. She is a board member of the Adoption Council of Canada and the Federation of Quebec Adoptive Parents, and moderator of the email list Canadians-Adopting (

Copyright 2006 Leceta Chisholm Guibault,

Published at Family Helper,, on Nov. 7, 2006.
First published in the June/July 2006 issue of Adoption Today magazine,


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