Thursday, July 24, 2008

Haiti Reunion 2008

This past weekend we went to the 5th Annual Pennsylvania Haitian Adoptive Families Reunion -- We've been waiting a whole year for this (since attending it last year; click here). In December we hosted a mid-year Christmas Party (click here), but the summer reunion is the real deal... and a year is a long time to wait!!! 14 families attended this year and it was just as amazing as we had been anticipating it to be for the past twelve months! In addition to the reunion being a huge highlight of the year for us (truly: a Top Ten day of the year for our family, for sure), it was also our first little trip as a family of five. A long weekend away. Everyone kept telling me that I was absolutely crazy to take a seven week old baby on a trip like this, but we were determined to not miss the Haiti Reunion no matter what. Meera travelled really well -- the long road trip, the 2-night hotel stay, restaurants, etc. Despite the fact that the reunion day was super hot (like, 100 degrees and humid with very little shade), she did great (and was held by just about everyone there it seems!) As for Kyle and Owen... well, I just don't even know how to state how heavenly this reunion day was for them. They love the Haiti Reunion. Even though they are the youngest kids there (there were five 4 year olds there this year -- all born within a month of each other! and two of the other 4 year olds are twin girls that were adopted from the same orphanage as K & O!), they jump right in and are taken right in. Watching these kids play, you'd never in a million years think that they only see each other once/twice a year. There is something special about it. Really, really special. And I've got to say, it is really nice to be around other families like ours... it feels like a nice deep sigh of relief. There is something really nice about being in the 'norm' for a day. The biggest thing I came away with this year, though, was the visceral first-hand reminder of the spirit of our (all of our) adopted Haitian kids. I hesitate to make huge generalizations, and of course there are always exceptions to the rule, but it cannot be denied: these Haitian-American children have a gusto in them like none other. There is a certain life force inside of them that just jumps out at you -- especially when you see them all together and notice that it isn't just a couple of them, it is all of them, it is a pattern. And it cannot be a coincidence. These kids are FULL OF IT (full of a spirit, a tenacity, an intensity, a fun-loving-life-affirming-sheer-determination-muscles-rippling-larger-than-life spirit) that just cannot be explained. It is a miracle to witness. A true miracle. For Kyle and Owen, the comfort and joy they find in their "Haiti friends" is absolutely indescribable. They play with them like they play with no others. And the comfort and joy that Braydon and I find in knowing that our fellow families are as committed as we are to getting together each year is indescribable too. There is a certain solace in it that is invaluable. There is just nothing like attending this reunion -- nothing. The power of it runs so deep that it will keep us going 'till Christmas when we host the mid-year party again. Even still... next year's reunion can't come quick enough.

P.S. Some of the reunion attendees are readers of this blog-- a big hello and thank you to you all! And an especially big thank you to Melissa and Monica for organizing another great reunion!

For more, click here and here.


Anonymous said...

You do such wonderful integrative things for your multiracial family!

alejandra said...

hi heather! I am alejandra, from argentina, adopting Christ, 14 months old, almost coming home!
may I post about your haitian reunions and link to your blog in my blog?
I would love to do this reunions here, but we are very few families with haitian sons.
thanks and blessings

Heather said...

No problem Alejandra! Go ahead and link us!

ManyBlessings said...

Loved the photos! We won't be able to go to the reunion near here this year. Praying for next year! May I ask where you got the shirt that says, "Haitian Roots" on it? I'd love to have one of those for Jacques!

Chapter Two Manmi said...

I can't agree more, Heather. This year was so special for us with our children finally home. We didn't get to talk much, but it was a highlight to see you all there with beautiful baby Meera. We're looking forward to the Christmas party this year and camp next year! Hugs!

Paige Mann said...

We love the shirts too! Where did you get them? I believe there is a Caribbean Camp in Colorado so we hope to take Midrine there whenever she gets HOME!!!

Anonymous said...

Do you know if the other kids were "older" when they were adopted?


Heather said...

Kathrin, The kids all came home at different ages, but yes-- most all of the other kids were adopted when they were older. Kyle and Owen are two of only a few who were adopted as babies. Most were adopted as toddlers or children (some adopted as old as 9-10+).