We are back from our trip to Weaving Cultures Family Camp. Weaving Cultures Family Camp is a camp for transracial adoptive families, specifically those with Black children. This was the second year of camp, but our first year attending (the morning sickness was far too severe for us to attend last year thankyouverymuch Hazel).
Our experience at camp is a little difficult to sum up in words. Is there a less cheesy synonym for amazing? If so, insert it here.
The camp was held in Conneaut Ohio right on Lake Erie. It was a bit of a car drive, but not a single one of us had ever been to Ohio or seen any of the Great Lakes, so we were pretty excited about the location. When we arrived, it definitely did not disappoint. The location was gorgeous.
Each family was assigned their own cabin which was cozy and equipped with a bathroom… which is handy when one of your kids uses the restroom numerous times each night (and no I’m not talking about the baby). The cabins were different sizes, and could easily fit little families (there were a few single parents with one child) and big families (I think the largest family in attendance was 8, but some cabins could have handled more).
I would say there were two main elements to camp. Both were equally important.
1) Fun family time with other transracial adoptive families
There was a pool, playground, gaga pit, baseball field, campfire, and plenty of fun planned activities. All the kids were in their glory. I think every child enjoyed the feeling of totally and completely fitting in for a few days. I overheard two cute things at camp. One was a little girl announcing “Mommy! All these girls have pretty hair like me!” and another was a child holding up his arm to a friend and saying “Did you see we matched?” and the friend responding “Yep!”
2) Informational Programming
There were two keynote speakers, Regina Kupecky (LSW, author of Parenting the Hurt Child) and Rhonda Roorda (transracial adoptee, author of In Their Own Voices). Now I haven’t personally read a ton of adoption/parenting books. The only reading time I have is my commute to work. Plus, I have Candy Crush on my phone. So your book has to be pretty good for me to actually read it. I’ve read both of these books. I’ve loved both of these books. Needless to say I was extremely excited for these speakers.
I wish I could have seen Regina Kupecky speak 5 years ago when we first brought Will home. If you aren’t familiar with her book, basically it’s on parenting children with attachment issues. Something pretty much every family deals with in some shape or form when they first bring an older child into their home. I searched for videos of her on youtube, but couldn’t find them. Honestly, I felt like I was watching a standup show. I know that parenting a hurt child likely doesn’t seem like a funny topic, but your humor is something you definitely need to keep when you are in the thick of it. It’s also the first thing to go when you’re having problems with a child. Although we are not having these kinds of issues anymore, hearing her speak reminded me of those days. I was laughing at the stories she told, because I related to so many of them. And I know there were other parents in the room currently dealing with these same issues. I wish I had a video of her that day. I would save it and play it for every family who adopts an older child.
I was a little worried that no act could follow Regina Kupecky, but I was wrong. Rhonda Roorda was enlightening and gave everyone a very important view – the adult transracial adoptee. Listening to her helped me realize several mistakes I’ve been making, and also helped me consider a few things I likely wouldn’t have considered before. She pointed out that our children are going to grow up to be Black men and women, and we need to prepare them for that. It pains me to admit that I don’t think I’ve been doing a good enough job preparing my children for this. Especially my son who only has a few years left of being a goofy little boy before he turns into a young Black man. If you don’t have a black son, you may not understand the magnitude of this statement. I know I didn’t until recently. But that is certainly a lengthy topic for another time.
In addition to the speakers there were breakout sessions on hair care, a panel chat with transracial adoptees, a visit from SGORR, and a viewing of the documentary Closure (which if you haven’t seen, I highly recommend). We were really sad to have camp end. Nariya was actually crying that she didn’t want to leave, which you know, NEVER happens. We are already looking forward to next year and seeing some of our friends again as well as meeting new friends.