Daniel Organ was seven years old in 2000 when his father began dating Edie Newton.
He even helped walked Newton down the aisle when she married his father in 2005.
For the 18 years the couple has been together, Organ — while he has a biological mother — had always considered Newton a mother.
A few weeks ago, they made it official.
Newton became the 24-year-old’s legal parent on May 18, when the adult adoption was finalized.
“She’s been a mother to me in every sense of the word, so it’s nice to make it official,” Organ said Monday during an interview at a downtown St. John’s restaurant. “It definitely does make me feel more complete.”
Newton, sitting next to her son, couldn’t help but smile when he spoke.
“It was really important to me to do this,” she said. “I’m so glad we got it done.”
The idea to adopt Organ came up about six or seven months ago, when the family was talking about two other adoptions involving the family. Newton and her husband, Eugene, are adopting two young girls, ages 13 and 4, who have been their foster children for some time.
“There’s been a lot of talk about the whole dynamic in our family changing and we’re excited they’re getting two little sisters. One day, it occurred to me that Daniel would get kind of quiet sometimes when we’d have these conversations,” said Newton, who also has two older sons — Patrick, 32, and Sean, 28.
“One night, we went out for supper — just Daniel, the girls and me — and I said to him, ‘Daniel, I’ve given this a little bit of thought. I’d really like to adopt you, too.’ And he said, ‘I’d really like that.’”
“I honestly didn’t even know (adult adoption) was a thing until she brought it up,” Organ said, holding his hands in the air. “But I thought it was great that she wanted to do this.”
They immediately got the process started online and made a few visits to court before it was finalized.
Organ — who was born in Oakville, Ont. — had always maintained a relationship with his biological mother, who lives in Mississauga, even after he moved to Newfoundland with his father and Newton in 2006. However, the relationship has become strained in the last four or five years.
“We’ve always respected the boys’ biological father (who also lives in Mississauga) and Daniel’s mother in these situations,” said Newton, who is from Ontario, while her husband is from St. Veronica’s in Bay D’Espoir.
“We always try to work and make sure they had those positive and healthy relationships with them.”
By adopting Organ, Newton said she wanted him to have a sense of permanency.
“I know it’s just a piece of paper, but it’s a piece of paper that’s going to give these kids a huge sigh of relief in the years to come,” said Newton, who has been Newfoundland and Labrador director of the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada for the past seven years.
“Daniel has always been my son, but it’s important to have him know that no matter what, I’m there. If anything were to happen to his dad, he doesn’t need to question, ‘Am I still part of this family?’
“Being connected is so important to us as human beings. The sense of belonging and permanency is something I think we sometimes take for granted.
“Ensuring the safety of family connectedness, belonging and having the comfort and confidence in knowing your relationship with your forever family is just as important to young adults as it is for younger child,”
The adoption may have been official for the last few weeks, but Organ and Newton wanted to participate in an official ceremony, scheduled for June 21 at the Newfoundland Supreme Court’s family division.
“We want the whole thing,” Newton said, smiling.
“Yeah, the whole shebang,” Organ said.
“Yep, he’s stuck with me now,” Newton added, as they both laughed.
They plan a family celebration following the ceremony.
“I really would encourage other families to consider it,” Newton said. “This is just something so special.”