From Travel Group to Family
The cover of the America World calendar this year is a photo of eight girls, all from China. They are all from the same province in China, and the families of these girls met during travel. This travel group has a fun and unique story of the close bond they have formed since returning from China. Please enjoy their story and pictures below, written and submitted by several of the moms. Thanks to Cindy Martens for organizing.
There were 11 families who received their babies one day in Guangdong, and we all really feel like we became one big family. We have a single mom, one family who had adopted previously, some who were first time parents and some who had older biological children, and yet when we're all together, our diversity only seems to bring us closer. Our girls are uniquely all within six months of age of each other and will all be in the same grade. They call each other their China sisters and, no matter how long they've been apart, they fall back into a beautiful familiarity with each other.
We regularly email each other, we visit as much as we can, and we arrange mini- and entire group reunions whenever possible. We've had mini reunions everywhere from St. Louis to Washington, D.C., to Pennsylvania! Our families, though we are from all different backgrounds and places in parenting and live all across the country, we couldn't be closer in our hearts. We all say we truly formed a family on that hot day in a crowded conference room in Guangzhou, China. What a blessing it is to all of us!
I still marvel at this “red couch” photo, where we were able to get seven of our eleven sitting beautifully without crying!
This is a photo of their birthday party that we threw for them while in China. Most of us missed their first birthdays, so we gave the girls a party together! Finding a cake proved to be pretty challenging, so we bought them each individual cakes from the hotel's restaurant.
Here is our first Guangdong Girls reunion when our girls were just two. This time we had TEN of eleven there. As you can see, they weren't quite as cooperative that time around! We are still waiting for that elusive photo of all eleven.
While we were anxious to meet other families in our adoption group, we never dreamed that we'd grow to love these families as our own. We realize that ours is a special connection, and its greatest value is the gift it is for our girls to be able to remain close and maintain their own connection to their beginnings. My personal prayer is that it will give them a sense of belonging beyond their own families and purpose in where they are now.