So, since I don't blog very often, I'm not sure everyone out there knew about my planning this giant event called the Thai Family Reunion. It's a weekend held every other year for families with children from Thailand. Each time a different volunteer hosts and organizes the weekend. 2011 belonged to me - and for forever more it will be one of the most magical experiences of my life.
26 families came from across the country (and 1 more from South Africa) to just basically hang out together. (The above picture is our group shot and even that is missing some people) It felt like a college experience all over again. In such a short period of time, people became best friends, kids bonded with each other, and we all lived in the same place. I'm kinda going through withdraw now that it's over. I miss people I just met, wished I had more time to chat, and long for another night hanging out in the hall (yes, that really happened). And watching Jesse....although in all honesty I was so busy most of the weekend Courtney and Jim did a lot of Jesse watching for me!....jeez nice parenting right?.....anyway - Watching Jesse interact with families that looked like ours was priceless. There were Thai kids, white kids, Chinese kids, and a Guatemalan kid....there were birth siblings, adopted siblings, older siblings, younger siblings.....
I've taken Jesse to many Thai cultural events in the past. He is always in awe when surrounded by Thai people - he gets that we don't look like him. He enjoys being around others that do look like him, even though I'm still mom and all that. But for him to see other Thai kids with white parents....families that looked just like us. That had stories like us...they all had gotcha days - they all had a coming home story...they were all from somewhere. He let loose like I've never seen him do before.
It was interesting seeing all those Thai teenage boys - so grown up, nice, polite, handsome, and knowing one day Jesse would in fact be one of those "guys" and not my little baby anymore. But also seeing the ones coming up behind him - knowing one day he'll be the example. Knowing that this Thai adoptive community keeps growing.
I can honestly say I have friends all over the country now - many of whom I hope to see again soon. The next reunion will be in Boston in 2013....but Chicago 2011 will always belong to me.
Robin and T - my backbone during the planning and the weekend. The above is a picture with a family we met in Thailand while bringing Jesse home. They were bringing home their son (wearing black). Jesse and his new girlfriend. Good thing we live fairly close! Jesse and his buddy - another Thai Red Cross kid!