In some ways, our family is a typical American family, with a mom and a dad and two kids. But in some other, important ways, we are not. We stand out. Sometimes that is kind of annoying and other times we hardly notice, but the reality is we are different. But there is one place where we blend in and that is China Camp. Everyone there is just like us. We don't get odd glances. We don't have to explain ourselves. We look just like every other family there. It is an amazing place.
This was our 5th year at China Camp. It is our favorite week of the year. We plan to go back as many times as we possibly can. Because we have fun there. And we love the friends we meet there. And we love blending in.
Katherine is an old hand at China Camp. She has gone since she was 4 and always looks forward to it. When we traveled to China to get her, there were 7 other families in our travel group adopting girls her age from the same orphanage. Four of those girls have gone to China Camp together for 5 years now. They have always been in the same class and have formed a deep bond. Katherine looks forward to spending time with her orphanage "sisters".
China Camp always starts with a lion dance. It's ten minutes of wild drumming, color, and motion. The kids LOVE it! This is a part of their cultural heritage that they eagerly claim!
China Camp always ends with Closing Ceremonies, where each class of children perform something they have learned. There were 285 kids this year, so it was a big event! The kids sang songs, did dances, recited phrases in Chinese, showed off their kung fu skills, put on a skit about the Chinese zodiac animals, and did another lion dance. It was loud and chaotic and totally delightful!
As always, China Camp ended before we were ready for it to. I'm just grateful that China Camp exists. It has had a huge impact on our family. Being there makes us feel just like everybody else. Being there makes us stronger. I believe the old addage that it takes a village to raise a child. And these are some of the people that I have chosen to be in our village. These are the people helping to raise my children, because they bring knowledge and gifts that I don't have. The official China Camp shirts this year red "I [heart] China Camp". I agree.