Last week we were just finishing up day one of Chinese culture camp put on by Dillon Adoption agency in Tulsa, OK. It was a five hour drive for us, but sooooooo worth it. We arrived the first morning full of high hopes and excitement and backpacks ready to go! As the 160+ campers filed in, from little ones in the nursery to teenaged helpers, I couldn't stop my eyes from tearing up and soon enough real tears were spilling over. All of these precious girls and boys surrounded by parents whose pride in their children was evident. If anyone ever thought that adoption was someone's Plan B, they should come to culture camp. These kids are their parent's pride and joy, and it was plainly evident. Actually, I think I cried during every workshop, too (and I was not crying alone!). I didn't expect to be so emotional, but there you go.
Song and Anna really enjoyed the crafts, the cooking, the kung fu and t'ai chi, and learning some new Chinese words and phrases. The camp had just found a Chinese man with the heart of an evangelist to be the language teacher. So, the girls got to sing "Jesus loves me" in Chinese, and he tried to teach them the fruit of the Spirit in Chinese as well. He also gave a talk to some of the parents about Chinese culture, but he had to interrupt himself often in order to let us know that although other Chinese people did those things, he considered it idol worship and did not participate! He also offered to let us know of Chinese Christian churches in our area, because he knew they would let us join them.
Song's goal for camp was to find a pen pal, and she did. In fact, the little girl was from Tulsa and she invited Song over twice while we were there! They really enjoyed each other. Song's big discovery was that other Chinese people have trouble pronouncing their "r" sound, too. I think this was a big relief to her. Otherwise, I really think she just soaked it all up. One of my favorite moments was approaching Song and two other girls at lunchtime, and one of the other girls asked, "Whose mom are you?" It made me think of all the times Song is not automatically included in our family when we are out and about and it was good to have the shoe on the other foot.
Anna's reactions to the event were also interesting. I actually think she might have been excluded a little bit, but I don't think it registered with her. She is my child who always wants to wear her traditional Chinese dress to church, who wants to impress us with her chopstick skills, and who always tells us that when I was in China adopting Song while pregnant with her that she "peeked" while we were there! So it should come as no surprise that she asked me this week why I didn't just go ahead and give birth to her in China so she could be Chinese, too! I love that she really "owns" China as part of who she is, because China truly is part of who our family is, as is Russia, Colombia, and Canada!
I didn't go expecting to make friends, but rather expecting to work and go to a few of the parent workshops. At the very first workshop we were to introduce ourselves and so I got to meet lots of parents who wanted to know the lady with 7 children! I wonder what they would have thought had they realized exactly how interesting those seven children are!! I did really enjoy working in the Bumblebee room with the five year olds, and the other teacher-parents in the room were delightful. We had 12 girls and 3 boys and they were all the most beautiful little children. The boys were especially fiesty and all boy!
Song and Anna are now on a quest for more Chinese children in the Spicer family. Song wants a Chinese sister, and I have to say I can't blame her. I think that feeling the camaraderie of being surrounded by her Chinese "brothers and sisters" was strong and wonderful for her. Both girls also want a Chinese brother, too, because they like the name I have picked out--Hudson Dean. Hudson, for Hudson Taylor, the missionary to China, and Dean, my MIL's and SIL's middle name. I have no idea if I will ever have a Hudson Dean or not, but I'm glad the girls are behind the idea!
We can't wait until next year!!!