Summer Vacation 2014 - Day 5 - Saturday

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That’s right, we’re going a little Tarantino here with the time jumping and what-not. By now it’s been nearly two weeks and the scars are just starting to form. This will be a blissfully short retrospective on the fifth day of our summer vacation, lest it is lost for all time to the memory of the harrowing experience of the trip home.

Saturday was not at all unlike Friday in most regards. A quick breakfast at the hotel, stop at Starbucks, then off to Regis University for our second and final full day of camp activities. The format was much the same as the previous day - we dropped the kids off into their age banded groups then headed off to our adult talks.

In the morning were a number of panels, which were quite informational. The first one was staffed by three adult trans-racial adoptees, one of which has gained quite a bit of notoriety in the area through the documentary her husband made of her and her search for her birth family. If you ever are. interested, Closure is a wonderfully filmed story of Angela’s story, growing up as a black child in a white family, and her curiosity and ultimate search for her birth parents. Check it out at There were also two others on the panel, both college students. All three were very thoughtful and provided the attendees with a lot of insight into what types of things our kids might be thinking. Man - being a parent is hard…

After that we sat through a forum with several local members in the black community, one of which was the great grandson of W.E.B. Dubois. These folks, though none had great insight or experience in the adoption community, all had first class insight into what it was like living in America as a black adult. So many fun stories, like the myriad times they’ve been pulled over by the police, or had things thrown at them while walking down the street… In the end, they had very positive messages and it was good to hear their perspective.

Lunch today was Haitian, which I think included chicken… It was hard to tell. Mainly lunch was for Quin to get together with a bunch of other kids and play soccer…

After lunch Jenny and I split into groups and followed separate tracks. I got a lesson in Hip Hop culture and how it affects the teenage mind, while Jenny learned about trauma and the adopted child. I then sat in on a history of Ethiopia while Jenny went to a session called Hart talks (or something to that effect). The history of Ethiopia was really fascinating, actually. I didn’t realize what a big role it has played in a lot of other world histories, particularly religion. Apparently if it weren’t for Ethiopia, the Muslim religion may have ceased to exist when they were ousted from Saudi Arabia. It was and is also a Christian stronghold, center of the Ethiopian Orthodox sect of Christianity. They even claim to have the Arc of the Covenant hidden away somewhere in the country, which after I heard it, I remembered reading something about that on CNN at one point. Probably the most interesting thing I learned was about Ras Tafari, a long time Ethiopian “emperor” who had many progressive views on African freedom and their place in the world, and who the Rastafarian religion of Jamaica is centered around. Fascinating!

After class, we picked up the kids and went to Golden for an evening at the water park. After getting a quick dinner at a local pizza joint, we congregated at Splash where the entire park was reserved for our group. The park was pretty small, but had all the highlights that you require from a water park - a couple of slides, a big bucket that fills with water and dumps on the kids, and a diving board. Ethan had a great time with his new friend Luke, and Quin had fun floating through the water and occasionally paying attention to the girl that claimed him as her boyfriend - perhaps the cutest 5 year old girl I’ve ever met… We may need to move to Colorado just so Quin has a chance at being friends with this girl!

It was a long day, so after almost 3 hours at the water park we eagerly drove back to our hotel and went immediately to bed. With the thought of the long trip ahead of us the next day, sleep took us (well, me for sure) quickly.

As we didn’t attend camp on Sunday, a couple of parting thoughts about the camp, in no particular order:

  • Jenny likes to point out that we are nowhere near the oldest people, or even among the norm of the aged among adoptive families. I’m not sure how I feel about that, but it makes her happy.
  • It’s always good to go to these things to remind us how to be a little more understanding as parents and people. I swear, for several days after this camp we were much better parents. We’ve reverted back to our nasty selves now, but it made a big difference for a couple of days. I’m sure they taught the kids to be better kids during their sessions, too.
  • Denver is a beautiful place with a seemingly vibrant African American community, though the statistics tell a different story. I imagine our perspective was skewed since we were at an African/Caribbean Heritage camp!
  • We met some very interesting people, and hooked up with one guy (one of the counselors) that was from DR Congo. In fact, we’ve been in contact with him already several times since camp and he promises to help us out should we ever make the journey to Kinshasa to pickup Mireille.
Written by Brandon Grady
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