Monday, August 8, 2011

Family Reunions--China Meets Congo

Since we grew our family through adoption we have had the amazing blessing of also growing our extended family.  For the past two summers we have spent time with other families that look a bit like ours and July was a big family reunion month for us.  We spent a weekend in San Antonio with our China Sisters group and then a week in Indiana with our OFA/Congo Family and friends.

For Brian and me, it is a community where we can let our hair down (so to speak) and spend time with people who really get us and the way our family has been grown.  For the kids it is pure and simple: FUN FUN FUN!

Grace sports some lovely braids in San Antonio

Thanks, Aunt Lauree!

Look at all those beautiful girls!  And Haven :)
In San Antonio we spent a weekend at kid friendly hotel that featured a "lazy river" swimming pool.  Except for a short trip to the river walk for dinner, Grace almost never left the water.  Our China Sisters group includes the two families that we traveled to China with and a group of older sisters.  Grace had a wonderful time getting some attention from some of the big sisters in our group!

Grace and one of the big sisters she borrowed for the weekend

And Haven had a blast with the big brothers.  Including our 3 boys there are only 6 brothers in our group so they definitely get a bit outnumbered.  We were especially glad to spend time with the Solbergs.  They were part of our China travel group and they have also adopted a daughter from China, so we have a special bond with their family and they are amazing people!

The Boys Club

The Solberg Sisters

So many beautiful girls (and a few cutie pie boys!)

Jenna, Grace, and Sydney--Our China Sisters
All of the China Sisters reunion families were so wonderful all weekend helping out with our extra large pack of kids and our extra large stroller.  The Grace and her China Sisters are just starting to reach an age where they remember each other from one visit to the next and they really enjoyed their time together.  We had to drag them out of the pool for the picture above. 

Next we were off to Indiana for an impromptu reunion at the Sullivan family home with some of the OFA/Congo families that lived within a days drive.  This was the sight of last year's reunion and we stayed with the Sullivans then.  I couldn't believe we were lucky enough to be invited back this year, especially with how big our family has gotten and how big the Sullivan's family has gotten.  Even though Stori had just given birth to baby Owen just a few weeks earlier she still invited us and a huge group of friends that we would have never had a chance to see if it weren't for the amazing Sullivan hospitality!!!

The Sullivan House is a kid paradise!

Chillin' by the pool with a cold one
The Sullivan's have the most kid-friendly house on the planet.  They have a pool, zip-line, 2 story playhouse, trampoline, playground, gardens, chickens, trees to climb, fields to run in, all the popsicles you can eat, and the sweetest family to spend time with.  Grace and Haven were in 7th heaven!!!  And Mommy and Daddy were, too!

Kristie and Kaden--two of our travel mates on our trip to DRC

Jamey giving Manny a good cuddle

Sweet Nic was one of our companions in Kinshasa

These two just might be from the same neighborhood

"Hey, you look a lot like me!"

Ian was one of our sweet companions for the week.  He very patiently shared all his toys!

Playing in the jungle

Livi is the best big sister ever!

So hard to get all these kids to hold still and smile!  I finally got a picture with Parker in it. But JoJo is trying to crawl away and Haven is mad about something.  Do I see a budding romance between Grace and Chad???
Grace really seemed to enjoy country life.


For all the families we got to spend time with in San Antonio and Indiana I just want to say a huge heartfelt thank you.  My kids couldn't have a better group of aunts, uncles, and cousins. Near or far you are all truly family to all of us. If you're ever in Houston, stop on by!
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