Sunday, July 10, 2011

China Camp

We spent part of this week at China Camp.  It is one of our favorite places on earth.  Well, not the place exactly, but the collection of people. We have been going since Katherine was 4 and we talk about China Camp at least once a week all year long.  It is just an amazing event.
Katherine (and Rachel) loves China Camp because for 3 days, everyone's family looks just like hers.  No one asks where she was born.  Or if she is adopted.  Or if Rachel is her "real" sister.  For 3 days, she is just like everyone else.
And everyone else means a LOT of kids - 361 campers, nearly all born in China.  For kids that normally stand out in a crowd, it is fun to see pictures like this.
The parents stand in front, cameras in hand, playing Where's Waldo to find their child!

Rachel spent her time in the nursery.  She was not at all pleased about this.  She told everyone she met "I get 4 on my birthday."  4 is how old you have to be to join a real class at China Camp.  She's looking forward to that.

Katherine did lots of things in class.  She learned a lullaby in Chinese.  She practiced kung fu.  She made spring rolls.  She practiced holding a calligraphy brush and tracing characters.  She made a peddlar's drum.  She learned a dance.  But mostly, she hung out with other kids like her. 
A few of the girls, like her buddy Sophie here, were in the orphanage with her when they were babies. Some of the kids have been in class with Katherine at China Camp year after year.  Others are brand new friends.  But they all have a lot in common and they are so much fun to watch together.

On the last afternoon of camp, the kids put on a program for all of the parents.  Each class does something - sing, dance, drum, speak in Chinese, do kung fu, perform a dragon dance.  The joy and pride of the kids is almost tangible.  It is a beautiful thing to watch.
China Camp is an amazing three days.  The memories of those days we keep in our hearts to sustain us in the rough times.  We will go back every year, as long as we possibly can. 

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I love birthdays!

the ladybug cake

The Ladybug Sisters

Sisters

Sisters
Jie Jie and Mei Mei

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Peeking through the windows

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
Katherine and her toothless smile

Park Pictures

Park Pictures
The little one leads the way