Monday, July 23, 2007

PA Haitian Adoptive Families Reunion

Look at the look on my Owen's face
in the midst of this fun/chaotic/healthy/happy
gang of Haitian-American kids!
Could he be any happier???

This past weekend was one of our best family experiences ever. We have had many amazing family experiences in the past 2.5 years, and this one was right up there. We spent the weekend together with 14 other families at the 4th Annual Pennsylvania Haitian Adoptive Families Reunion. Before going I thought, "Wow, only 14 other families in PA??? What a sad statement?!!!" And it is a sad statement -- only about 150 Haitian kids are currently adopted into the U.S. each year... and that is not for lack of kids to be adopted... that is for lack of U.S. families adopting them. Anyway-- I don't want to get up on my soapbox about that so I'll stop there. So, I must say: although collectively we were only 14 families from the entire state of Pennsylvania... 14 families can go a looong way. 14 families with super exuberant, happy, healthy, well-adjusted, thriving Haitian Adoptees can go a looooooong, looooooooooong. loooooooooooooooong way. And when you're Kyle and Owen... and the kids from those 14 families are all super energetic/active/running-non-stop/happy/lovely kids... and those 14 families are all smack in the middle of an outdoorsy woodsy camp -- complete with pond and playground -- well, suffice it to say, K & O were in their glory.

The point of this Reunion is for us in Pennsylvania to get our families together for a weekend; to share in a way that, realistically, when you're a Haitian Adoptive Family, you can really only share with other families just like your own. It is a unique kind of family. It is special in certain ways. It is challenging in certain ways. It is miraculous in every way. It was really special to be able to talk openly with other parents who have gone through and/or are going through similar experiences as us. And it was really special to watch our boys PLAY. ALL. WEEKEND. LONG. with all these wonderful kids who have life histories so similar to their own. Kids who were born in Haiti. Kids who survived in Haitian orphanages. Kids who were adopted. Kids who know resiliency. Kids who know transcendence. I could write forever about the past weekend, but instead I'll just let the photos do the talking. It was hard to choose just 14 photos because we have so many beautiful ones. I will leave it to you to take from these photos what you will. There is a lot to see in them. I will only say this: each of these kids have an intense look in their eyes, an intense history, an intense engagement with their world, an intense zest for life. All of these things are familiar to me because I recognize it in my Kyle and Owen too. Spending the weekend together with these families really was spectacular, invigorating, affirming, and rejuvenating... especially for K & O. For all of you reading who were there----- thank you. We cannot wait for next year.

for more, click here, and here.

(click to see any photo larger)


crazylady said...

your blog gives me warm and fuzzies.
Special times.

The Fry Family said...

Heather, It was such a treat to meet you, Braydon & K & O at the reunion! You are all precious!
Love, Kristie

Mayhem said...

That photo of Owen is amazing! I love the motion around him, and the still, content, peaceful look on his face. He looks very "at home."

Anonymous said...

Hi Heather - it was great to meet you and your family in person. What a great family.

I love reading your blog. Thanks for sharing.


happy mom said...

I am so glad that you have this reunion, all of the kids are so gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

What a pleasure to meet someone in this area who has adopted twins...and from the same orphanage!!! We had such a great time and look forward to getting to know you and your family better in the future!
Sophiana was so excited to meet your little ones...who knows...