Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Very Special Reunion

Last weekend we headed north to Cincinnati to spend a few days getting acquainted with some very special families - families who adopted children from Ashraya, Manu's children's home in Bangalore, India. What's even more special is that, of the families who could attend, all of our children were residents of Ashraya at the same time, and now they are together again, a couple years later, and half a world away.

We met up with the Stafford's, and their 3yo little girl Anju, on Thursday night at the hotel. Manu and Anju are the youngest of the four adopted kids who attended. They played in the "kiddie" pool while the adults got to know one another. The Next morning we met up with Jennifer Carr and her troupe of children, which included 5yo Bailey, and we headed to the Zoo. After navigating miles of stalled interstate traffic on the way, we were welcomed to the park by a torrential downpour that completely soaked everyone. Hey, when life gives you lemons...Thankfully it also cooled down the weather and made for a pleasant afternoon once the showers moved on past. Back to the hotel to freshen up a bit before heading to an Indian restaurant for dinner, and then back to the pool for another evening of swimming and socialization.

Saturday morning we were joined by the Brooke Tague and her familiy who were delayed by an unexpected surgical procedure for their daughter Nisha, not to mention simply getting the dates of the reunion wrong ;-) Thankfully Nisha was doing well enough that they could make the drive down from Indianapolis. We headed to Big Bone Lick State Park to see a herd of Bison that included some very young calfs. Later we took over the back room at a LaRossa's Pizza parlor and lunched while discussing our experiences in India and our time at Ashraya. It was fun listening to other stories of people who have experienced the same journey that we have. Afterward we said goodbye to Jenn and family, who were headed home, and we broke away from the rest of the pack to do a little shopping at IKEA while the others visited a museum. Dinner downtown and then back to the pool where we talked with Amy and Brooke for a few more hours.

It was a very touching meeting these children, knowing their past circumstances and seeing how well they've adjusted in their new lives. It was fun watching them interact with each other, and especially watching Manu mimic the actions of the older kids. The kids seemed to bond almost instantly, and it was sad when we all had to go our separate ways. Sometimes it's nice to know you're not alone in the world, and we hope this and future get-togethers will give Manu a sense of community and a better understanding of the past he left behind. I know it was good for us.

Anju, Bailey and Manu at the zoo

Follow me!

Our future engineers

Or marine biologists

Tough day at the zoo

Bailey (5), Nisha (4), Anju (3) and Manu (2)

Ever try and get 3 kids to all look at you at the same time?

Anju and Nisha say goodbye

Hugs all around

Anju and Manu, hey that rhymes!

The gang's all here!