Coming to Camp
This is the week that folks from all across the nation are coming to Camp Abrazo and we are so very excited to see all of our favorite campers again.
Unlike most of the summer camp experiences around the nation, in which parents drop their kids off for a week or more, this is a family camp.
And unlike most family camps, which are usually church-based gatherings for nuclear family units, Camp Abrazo is an adoption-triad based reunion of children, birthparents and adoptive parents who have been connected in some way with Abrazo over the years.
Abrazo is one of the few (only?) American adoption agencies to host an annual triad reunion, so while open adoption may be nothing new, an annual weekend event dedicated to celebrating the people who live their open adoption promises is still a Pretty Big Thing.
Camp Abrazo typically sells out months in advance, and the majority of families who join us have been coming for years, so they see each other’s kids growing up, camp year after camp year.
There are “old-timers” like Scott & Karen, whose daughters used to be the “little girls” at Camp, yet who are now in high school and college. Faithful attendees for years, they brought their birthfamily, and even brought along Karen’s stepdad, Bruce (who was adopted, himself, in a closed adoption) and his wife. After witnessing Abrazo’s open adoptions and hearing our Camp keynote speaker one summer, Bruce launched a search for his own birthmom and found her in her late eighties, then brought her with them to Camp Abrazo for the next three years, until her passing.
There’s Abrazo’s board president, Marjory, and her husband, Bob, who are the parents of two beautiful daughters (whose birthfamily has also come with them to Camp in years past.) There are loyal Camp regulars like Gary & Monika, whose children’s birthparents have never opted to attend Camp, yet Gary & Monika still come for their kids’ sake, and they overwhelm us with their annual generosity in providing mountains of snacks for the Camp goody bags. Nate & Alicia and their daughter and Jim & Mary Helen and their girls and Jim & Andrea and their kids and Shawn & Jennifer and their boys fly in, because coming to Camp has become part of their family’s summer routine, just as it is for Matt & Betsy and their kids, and Eric & Tara and their boys, Joey & Lana and the twins, Tommy & Heather and their sweet daughter, and Brad & Amanda and their son, who all drive in from different corners of Texas. Because it matters to them to be there.
There are Yankees like Bill & Susan and their girls, who travel from the East to come to Camp and bring their eldest daughter’s birthgrandmother and the birthsibling she is parenting, and they reunite at Camp each summer with their daughter’s other birthsister and her adoptive parent, and sometimes with their other daughter’s birthbrother and his adoptive parents. Attending Camp has required a valiant effort lately, as Susan battles ovarian cancer, yet she says she still wouldn’t miss it for the world.
There’s Bruce & Stephanie and their clan, and his sister Paula & her husband Scott and their daughter, who provide their special brand of family comedy each summer. There’s Carine and her son and his placed sister and her parent/s, who bring with them their birthfamily, who could not otherwise enjoy the pleasure of an annual summer vacation. There are local families Stephen & Teri and their kids, and like Glenn & Dyna, who are bringing both their children’s birthfamilies to Camp this year. And there are out-of-town families like Brian & Cindy, and Chad & Charlene, and Kyle & Michelle, and Chris & Judy, whose kids are just as excited to spend the weekend with their birthparents, again. Andrew & Sara make the Herculean effort of coming to Camp from the East Coast each summer and bringing their sons’ birthparents and their four kids, because they recognize the enormous importance of honoring these birthfamily connections.
And we’re thrilled that we have “newbies” coming to Camp this year, too, like former staffer Kelly and her children and their birthmom, and Bob & Lisa and their newly-adopted son, and Dan & Heather and their son and his birthparents, and Ed & Katie and their newly-adopted son and his birthmom, and several other birthparents who will be at Camp for the first time this year.
Every one of these parents and every one of these children is an integral part of the magical experience we call Camp Abrazo, and we genuinely appreciate the gift of each camper’s presence.
Because for all the wonders of the Mayan Ranch, it’s not the pool or the food or the horses or the fireworks or the rodeo or the longhorns or the cowboys or nature nor even the AbrazoChicks that makes coming to Camp the unforgettable experience that it is.
It’s the people. It’s each of you. You are the gift that keeps on giving year after year, and we truly love you for it.
It’s you, who come join us at Camp and share hugs and swap stories and marvel at each child’s growth and laugh at their antics and cry at the candlelight ceremony, who make the magic of Camp Abrazo happen.
It’s you who help create lifetime memories for each of our adoptees and their birthsiblings, too. (And oh, what special memories these are for the children of open adoption and all the parents that love them.)
So thank you, in advance, to every one of you who are packing this week and coming to Camp this weekend. The time goes by so quickly, we may not get the chance to say this again, but we truly treasure your presence and all of us at Abrazo are so very grateful for all of you who are coming to Camp… safe travels, coming and going… and y’all come back now, y’hear?