More about where I’m from:

I was adopted before my birth, and remained in the health centre for a number of weeks before I was placed with my adoptive family. I was born premature, about 4lbs 13 oz. My adoptive family picked me up  on Hallowe’en, actually…

At adoption, the child’s name is changed, and their given name at birth is sealed (yes children are named at birth, even when they’re adopted). Depending on the state, an adoptee may have access to that information when they reach the age of majority. Every jurisdiction in Canada now allows some form of this, the last province to do this was Nova Scotia, in 2021.  Ontario opened theirs in 2008.  Alberta opened theirs in 2005, which is when I started reconnecting.

I was born in High Prairie, AB. 

My current name is Dwight Tyler James Pennock – I’m named after my Father. He is named after Dwight D. Eisenhower. I am also named after my Uncle. I think he is named after a Union general… My adoptive family has never called me Dwight.  It’s just easier when you share your name with your father. When I was in grade school, I asked to be called Dwight outside the home – and it stayed that way until I was 19, when I came out. I have friends who once knew me as Dwight and now call me Tyler.

Tyler is slightly more personal for me. I’ll answer to both – but if I like you, I’d prefer you call me Tyler. There really is no other reason or preference beyond this. Neither name holds more significance than the other, and I won’t be insulted if you call me Dwight. One writer attempted to shock me by introducing me as Dwight Pennock during a public reading, and the audience had a much stronger reaction to that than I did. I’m not ashamed of either name.

My adoptive parents are from Ottawa, and Winnipeg.  Their roots (2 generations back for my mom, more for my dad) are in England, and France. Mom’s last name was Sansome.

My adoptive Sister is Anishinaabe (Keeseekoowenin). She is a most lovely person, by the way. She is my hero.

We spent my first 5 years in CFB Calgary before moving to other places (CFB Uplands, then Greffern, Rheinmunster, Germany, and then back again to Ottawa). I then moved out to Victoria for a bit, then Ottawa, finally planting roots in Toronto. I haven’t lived in Alberta since I was almost 5.

As for my biological family:

I maintain contact with my biological family regularly, and visit them as often as I can. The fun part has been learning more each time I return to them. 

My birth name is Richard Lewis Wayne Mailhot.  Many adoptees are assigned their biological mother’s last name, for expediency I guess, but also because many birth moms in adoption processes were single mothers. Also, when you gain access to your adoption record, they are more likely to list more details about your mother than your father, because child services often didn’t seek out the father.

My mom is Linda May Mailhot. Her Mother and Father were Ovila Godfrey Mailhot (Edmonton), and Marie Delphine Paquette (Sawridge). Marie’s parents were Alec / Alex Paquette, and Therese Marie Giroux (Sawridge). (Quite a few of my Mailhot cousins have the name Therese Marie, after her.)

The family moved around a lot, for many reasons. The stories I most know are from when they lived in Slave Lake and Faust. They also spent a great deal of time in Prince George, where most of my Paquette relatives are from.

They lived in Whitecourt when Ovila died in a logging accident in 1968. The kids were all separated over the following years. Many aunts and uncles don’t remember much, or have trouble sharing details from the time before he died. 

I connected with my mom in 2006, and we’ve maintained contact. I’ve visited her a number of times. I’ve met 5 of 8 Aunts and Uncles.

My uncles Remy and Cecil have been incredibly helpful, sharing so many stories and details that I couldn’t have known otherwise. (Particularly about life before my grandfather’s death, and about Therese Marie and Alex). ❤

There are hundreds more stories that I hope to hear again soon

My Father is Jerry Chalifoux. I can’t remember his parents’ names, though I have a picture of their graves somewhere in my records. I’ve met only one of his brothers, Lloyd. I met a handful of my brothers and sisters, and can’t remember their names. 

I connected with my father in 2006 and we’ve spoken a handful of times, though not regularly — and not lately.  He’s a member of Sturgeon Lake CN, and grew up in McLennan, mostly. 

I still send my father messages. He reads them, sometimes he responds, and that’s about where we’re at. I hope to know him a bit more, in time. 

So that’s a bit about me and who my relatives are, for those who would ask …

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