Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Family Reunions--From Congo to China

So all the camping we have done this summer was for one purpose: to get us to the Our Family in Africa Reunion in Indiana.  Every summer since we brought Haven home we have had the extraordinary pleasure of spending a week with one of the kindest, most generous families I will ever know in one of the most beautiful, tranquil, fun-filled homes you could ever hope to visit.

Louise LOVES Jamey! And I think he's a bit smitten, too.
This summer was the best summer EVER!  Thank you so much Jamey and Stori.  We may not be related by blood, but you and your kids are some of my dearest family members! And Jenny and Devin Baker, you guys, too!!!

And thank you to all of the other OFA families who came for this wonderful weekend.  I got to know some of you better and laughed with some old friends. I had so many lovely conversations and shared so much laughter! It is always especially wonderful to spend time with Amy and Kelly, two amazing mamas that traveled with us to Congo and helped me survive!

This is the best house ever!!!

I can get my hair done and ride a scooter.

Oh boy am I HAPPY!!!

No mom. It's not funny.

But this one sort of is...


And best brothers forever!

Prettiest girl at the reunion.

Jamie, the baby whisperer.

Grace and Nic.  He and Manny came home together from Congo.  

It's a good thing he doesn't live closer to me because he would have me wrapped around his little finger!!!

Monsters, Inc.

Everyone was making their best scary monster face.

Grace and Janie became fast friends!

Wonderful Kelly and Amy.  Cute dress!

We let off lanterns in honor of those not with us.

Beautiful and moving.

I said a special prayer for our Lizette and my dear friend Chelese who is still waiting for her boys to come home.

We played so hard that our kids just collapsed from all the fun!!!

My special girlfriends!!!

A boy and his tractor is a beautiful thing!
After our Congo reunion we headed home for a week and then headed out again for our China Sisters Reunion.  We have been so blessed to join a group of families that have been meeting for the past 10 years. Two of the girls in the group were in the same orphanage with Grace.  We traveled all over China with these two families and have stayed close ever since.  In fact, we have been extra blessed to have the Solberg family living just down the road from us and they have been become some of our dearest friends!  A big thank you to Deb Apgar for being the best party planner ever!  Each summer she finds the perfect destination for all of us to come together from around the country and celebrate our beautiful and diverse families.
A couple more of my favorite people--my "cousin" Ruthie and her sweet daughter Kailin. This wonderful family has sort of adopted mine.  We missed her big boys so much this summer.

We got to take a boat ride to do some dolphin watching. Jeff Solberg helped make sure that none of mine fell overboard!

The ride was very long, but the dolphins were amazing!!!

My pretty wind blown girl.

Manny was a little nervous.

Beach time!

My water babies LOVE the beach.

Watch out for those waves.

Manny had lots of girlfriends.
Our original 3 China Sisters
Our extended family :)
As those you who have adopted understand, the bonds of our adoption journey are strong and special.  No one understands our struggles and triumphs, our worries and celebrations, like another adoptive parent.  I am so so so very blessed to have all of you loving me and my family from all around the country.

I can't wait for next summer!!!

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