Monday, July 10, 2017

China Camp 2017

We spent last week in Tulsa at our adoption agency's culture camp. We first went when Katherine was 4 and decided then that we would return to China Camp every year. Ten years later it is still very much a part of our summer routine!

Katherine has aged out of the regular camp, so she moved up to being a Teen Counselor. She always admired the bigger girls who volunteered in her classes and was excited to be one of them now.
She helped with the 1st graders. After the first day I asked how it had gone. Katherine answered, "Some of those kids are really annoying!" Welcome to the realities of teaching! There were other kids that she enjoyed, though, and she was quite pleased when one little girl brought her a gift on the last day.

Rachel was in the Sheep group, all kids who had finished 3rd grade. She doesn't have "orphanage sisters" in her class, like Katherine did, but she has made friends that she looks forward to seeing every year.
Rae's favorite camp activity was cooking and her least favorites were language and kung fu. Katherine agreed.

One of my favorite parts of China Camp is Picture Day. I never tire of seeing all those beautiful faces or of the Where's Waldo-like search for my own girls.

Fewer and fewer children are adopted from China each year, so this group is rapidly growing smaller. That makes me sad for many different reasons.

Camp always opens with drums and a lion dance.
And it ends with performances from each class. Katherine helped herd her 1st graders on stage...
...and then she sat back to enjoy their kung fu moves.

Rachel's class was part of a fan dance.

During their performance the teachers stood in front of the group to lead, so taking pictures was challenging. I promise the dance was lovely!
Closing Ceremonies ends with more drums and another lion dance, this one performed by the 6th graders. I get teary eyed every year watching it.

I am so grateful that my girls have had the opportunity to be a part of China Camp. It is such a wonderful affirmation of their birth culture, great support for our family, and a yearly reminder that my girls are not alone it their life stories. China Camp is just cool!

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