An interview with Amaris Adoptions

Formerly known as Christian Adoption Services

By Focus on the Family Canada staff

Waiting to Belong recently contacted Tandela Swann, director of Amaris Adoption Services in Alberta, to learn a bit about their recent name change.

1. We understand that the agency formerly known as Christian Adoption Services (serving the province of Alberta) has recently changed its name. Can you tell us what “Amaris” means and why you chose this name?

The heart of Christian Adoption Services, as we were known previously, has always been a child-focused model of adoption. The word Amaris means “given by God” and “you are loved,” which we believe to be true of every child. These words reflect the heart of everything that we do. We hold this at the forefront throughout the adoption process and in every interaction we have. And, because our process is built around the well-being of each child, we were compelled to call ourselves by a name that reflects those deeply held values.

From a more personal place, three of my children are adopted and, when I thought about their stories of being abandoned, my desire for them is to have their internal story changed from one of being “left” to one of being “chosen” from before time by a God who sees them and knows them intimately.

2. Why did you make this change?

When we had conversations with people over the years, we found that for a lot of them, our name was a barrier as they did not feel that they would be welcome in our agency. Our desire is to be an open door for all who require support and to show God’s love and grace to everyone. We also felt that, if we believe that every life is valuable, and every child deserves a loving, safe home, then we need to look at offering services along the whole spectrum: from family preservation to prevention to support to adoption.

3. What difference will this make in how you provide adoption services?

Our focus is very much around the current needs that exist. These include increased support and counselling for families who already have a placement, as well as finding permanent homes for older children, children with special needs or sibling groups. We truly want to be part of finding a forever family for every child. This means expanding our programing from primarily adoptions to include support for families and children in crisis, including mentoring, respite and the age-out program.

4. What makes Amaris different from Alberta’s other adoption agencies?

The first difference is that we are the only faith-based agency in Alberta. Everything that we do stems from a desire to extend a small piece of God’s heart and hands to others. In addition, our shift from just adoptions to more holistic support for families is unique. We collaborate with the Alberta government on placements of children who are in care, and we offer respite for families in crisis. We also have a special considerations list of families who are open to children with unique needs. We truly have the most incredible families that we get the privilege of working with!

5. Are you still a Christian adoption agency?

Absolutely. The reason we exist is because of God’s grace and favour toward us. We would not have the wisdom or strength to do what we do if we did not feel God guiding us every step of the way. We are not here to argue religion, however, as we just want to love on anyone who walks in the door and do our small part in ensuring that every child, youth or young adult has a loving, safe, forever family to call their own.

6. Are you still in the same location? How can people find you?

We have social workers who operate all over the province of Alberta, but our office is still located in Calgary. The address is 201B 9705 Horton Road SW. You can also call us toll free from anywhere at 1.877.256-3224.

7. Is there any way that Waiting to Belong readers can support the work you are doing?

Thank you for asking. Currently all our support programs do not receive any funding so we rely 100 per cent on the generosity of donors to keep those programs running. If you check out our website at you can see the different programs and learn more about partnering with us to love on children and families.