Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Roadtrip 2012 Part 2: OFA Family Reunion

On the first weekend of our roadtrip families from all over the country joined together in Paoli, Indiana for the the Our Family in Africa Family Reunion.  What an amazing event!  Each year it gets bigger and better and each year it becomes a more valuable event for my children.  It is also such a treasure to me to spend time with all those people who really get my life and my family!  We eat, we laugh, we swim, we chase Manny and JoJo all over the property, we ride ziplines (OK, not me actually, but other people), we laugh some more, and then at the end of the weekend I become a soggy sentimental mess because I am going to mess all these people so much until next year.

One of the most amazing things about this weekend was our girls got to spend time with two slightly older girls that they were in foster care with for a few months.  As soon as they were all together you could tell that even Katriel knew these were long lost sisters being reunited.  Karolina and Karis are old enough that they both speak Lingala (the most common language spoken by Congolese in the Kinshasa area) and it almost seemed like Louise might have been talking back to them.  We just adore this family!  They brought home their son Kayden the same time we were bringing home Manny and JoJo, so we got to spend 2 weeks with them in Kinshasa.  I will always count them as some of my dearest friends.  But there are so many other families that I have come to know and love that I just can list them all.  OFA really has become my family.  Wow, what a weekend.

Kristie and her sweet Karolina

Louise and Karis chatting it up in Lingala

Jodie and Mama Jilma giving my baby girls a squeeze

JoJo and Kayden have to be from the same tribe!

Manny picking up some sweet girl for a ride.  Whose cutie pie is that?

Manny and the Melloan kids

Jackson and our boys were together in the foster home for a few weeks.  What a sweetie he is!

The Spanglers, another amazing family we have met through OFA!

Hanging with old traveling companions

Kristie and little Karis

Amy and the newest member of the OFA family

JoJo is always full of smiles

And Louise is full of the nick!

Kisses for Kat from her Congo sister

"I'm ready for another margarita, please."

Couldn't keep my little mermaid our of the pool

Haven and Ian had so much fun together.  I look forward to many years of them playing together!

I didn't take nearly as many pictures as I wanted and I didn't get to spend nearly as much time with each family as I would have liked, but this was absolutely the highlight of my summer vacation!!! Tune in tomorrow night for the final installment of Roadtrip 2012.  Next stop: China Sisters Reunion!

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