I have been excited for this past Saturday for a while now. It was our first second. What I mean by that, is that Saturday’s 2nd Annual Adoption Picnic was the first event to come back around for us since Nolin was born.
To be fair, they moved the picnic up to April because last summer it was unbearably hot, but it was still our first repeat event. I remember last year being very excited to meet other families that had been through the process as well as hopefully see some familiar faces from our class. While the event was a lot of fun last year, it definitely put into perspective just how lucky our family has been because we were the only ones from our class with a child in attendance.
This year we couldn’t wait to see who else was there. Jenn and I loaded up the car with supplies for the picnic, the baby bag, camera, super cool flip video camera, Nolin and of course Don (who I think was equally as excited about the picnic). When we got there, we immediately saw some familiar faces and began to catch up. Jenn was also greeted with a big hug from a lady who was in our class. We came to find out that they had matched before our classes were over and their daughter Erika was 14 months old and may have had a little crush on Nolin.
We waited, but no one else from our class ever showed up. Erika’s mother told us that she had heard there was one other couple from our group that had matched and were not able to make it. I keep my fingers crossed that more of our friends have also become parents that we are just not aware of, but again it was a stark reminder of exactly how lucky we have been.
This year’s picnic was also neat because as the kids get older, they are able to set up more activities for entertainment. This year, they had a bounce house, pictures with the Easter Bunny (who had to be hot in the 90 degree heat) and an Easter Egg Hunt.
With the Easter theme, they also had a lot of decorations and toys. Nolin was a big fan of chasing the wind-up chickens. He quickly drew a crowd and soon Jenn became the chicken master. Kids would walk up to her hand her a chicken and wait for her to wind them up so they could crawl around and chase them. It was quite the scene.
Nolin actually caught on to how the Easter Egg Hunt worked and would put the eggs in his basket, but he seemed to be more excited about crawling around in the woods, looking at the trees, playing in the dirt and eating leaves. He didn’t even mind sharing his eggs with a few of the other kids.
Before we got ready to leave, Erika came over to try and get Nolin to walk towards the car with her. She didn’t fully understand that Nolin wasn’t walking like her, so she grabbed his hand and started to pull him with her. That’s when they had their moment. Nolin looked at her and she looked at Nolin and seemed to communicate with their eyes that they weren’t going to be able to walk together, so she held Nolin’s hands, he grabbed her face and kissed her…
In a bit of shock and amusement we all started to laugh at which point Nolin looked at us as if we had just ruined his mojo. Both parents agreed that maybe when they are 25 they can rekindle their relationship, but for now it was like the ending of summer camp (Summer lovin’ had me a blast).
We said goodbye to the other families and as each of us began to head back to our own lives, I know we are all looking forward to next year to see how the kids continue to grow and to find out who else will be there.
What a cute grandson I have
Enjoyed reading this post and watching the videos! Nolin is so cute!
I loved reading your story and hoping I could get some information about adoption picnics. Where I came find out more about them and what agencies work with them and what sites they are held in. Thank you for your time.
The only agency that we have experience with is Catholic Charities of Central Florida. I am not aware of any adoption groups that host picnics, but this was one that our agency and families set up.
There was a class of adoptive parents that started before us, and they worked with CCCF to set up the first one and from there it became an annual event.
We actually just held the adoption picnic last week (I haven’t had a chance to finish that post yet), but my wife and I were honored to be able to put it together and host it this year. We try to hold it sometime before Easter each year so that the Easter Bunny can make an appearance for the children.
Florida Catholic was there and was working on a story for it (not sure when that will come out), but it should also have more information about the picnic and I believe the adoption process through Catholic Charities.
I am not sure what section of the triad you are a part of (adoptee, birth parent, or adoptive parent), but if you have worked with an agency I would talk to them about trying to set one up. One of the biggest benefits that I believe these picnics will have as our children get older is the opportunity to know and interact with other children who are adopted.
Catholic Charities works with both adoptive parents and birth parents, so if you have any questions, would like to speak to someone or just want more information, please let me know and I would be happy to send you their contact information (http://www.cflcc.org/adoption/home). If you are outside the Central Florida area, they may be able to at least point you in the right direction, and you don’t need to be Catholic to work with them.
The picnics and the organization have been a blessing to our family, and my only hope is that we can somehow repay the favor. I hope this information is helpful, but if I can do anything else, please do not hesitate to contact me.