by Michelle Tremblay | photo by Dawn at Nicoli Productions

A Special Kind of Family

The Hoffman family’s story is truly unique. Janet grew up on a farm in southeastern Minnesota, and although she had a great childhood, as a young adult she started to tire of the long and cold winters. “One winter day, after not actually seeing any sun for days, I had a conversation with my dad,” recalled Janet. “He said that if he were in my position he would move to Hawaii or San Diego.” She took her father’s advice and, upon college graduation in 1980, relocated to San Diego.


Parent: Janet Hoffman
Children: Katie (19), Clare (16), and Anna (12)
Community: Buena Vista Colony in Shadowridge
Parents’ Hometowns: Near Rochester, MN
Parents’ Occupations: Education Center Manager and Counselor for Palomar College
Pets: Cats – Maui and Taco; Dog – Cali
Favorite Places in Vista: Nucci’s Italian Cafe, Souplantation, Mama’s and Papa’s Pizza Grotto, The Yellow Deli, Vista Farmer’s Market, MiaBella Yogurt & Desserts


Janet adopted her first daughter, Katie, on Dec. 24, 1995 from the International Mission of Hope organization in India. Katie was five-and-a-half months old. “She was definitely the best Christmas present I have ever received!” exclaimed Janet.

Two years later, Janet started the process for another adoption. “This time I decided that I wanted to travel to India to pick up this baby,” she said. Janet brought home Clare from Kolkata, India on Mother’s Day in 1999. “So while Katie was the best Christmas present ever, Clare was the best Mother’s Day present I have ever received,” shared Janet.

“In the fall of 2005, I traveled to China to adopt Anna Margaret Ying,” Janet described. “Both of her sisters went with me. They had an immediate bond, or maybe it was the Cheerios and goldfish crackers they used to win her over!”

Today, Janet – who works as an education center manager and counselor for Palomar College – and her girls reside in the Shadowridge community of Vista. Katie is currently working for the Palomar College Bookstore and is planning to marry her fiancé once he returns from deployment. “Katie traveled to Columbia last spring for three weeks to help as a volunteer with the Emiliani Project,” shared Janet. “She has remained active with the group in their fundraising efforts.” Clare is currently a sophomore at Rancho Buena Vista High School, where she is on the cross country and track team. Anna is in fifth grade at Breeze Hill Elementary School, and has been an active Daisy and Brownie Girl Scout.family_1

Every summer the Hoffmans visit Heritage Camp for adoptive families, in Colorado, where the kids can learn about their countries of birth and mingle with other adoptive children. Another annual ritual for the family is their “Gotcha Day” celebrations, which commemorate the day each girl joined the family. “One thing that is unique about our family is that we were all originally from different places,” added Janet. “I grew up in Minnesota, Katie and Clare were from India, and Anna came from China. Our dog is from Columbia and our cat Taco is from Texas, so the only original Californian in our family is our cat Maui!”