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A Day Of Encouragement In The Park

A Day Of Encouragement In The Park

Our annual Adoptive Family Picnic was a lovely day at the park. This is a time when families in every stage of the adoption process can come out and spend time with each other. They can talk and share their stories. This event always provides community and encouragement.

This year we decided to hold a brunch picnic earlier in the day than usual. We figured parents of small children are already up early, and we would do our best to squeeze it in before nap time.

We had bagels, fruit, and danish, and most importantly, coffee. Once again knowing that there would parents of small children, we made sure we had plenty of coffee.

The kids enjoyed bubbles, sidewalk chalk, and the playground.

The other draw was a fairly steep hill in the middle of the park. These Floridan children, not being used to any sort of change in terrain, thought it was amazing. Many wanted to run up and down the hill as often as they could.

For the kids and the adults, we had a caricature artist. Dave Smith has been drawing caricatures for over twenty years and oversees the art department of Busch Gardens. We were fortunate to have him join us and create some memories for these families.

In addition to caricatures, we raffled off several gifts. There was a kid’s baking kit, a relaxing coffee basket, a craft kit with a gift card for Hyppo Pop, and a large gift card from Wright’s Gourmet House with one of their loaves of banana bread and some of our T-shirts. Everyone seemed to be happy with what they got.

We were honored to receive donations from two local businesses. Wright’s Gourmet House donated to the picnic for the second year in a row. Last year we enjoyed a fantastic cake and this year we had the pleasure of raffling off a gift card. Hyppo Pop gave us a gift card for the raffle as well as 60 kids pops in strawberry and chocolate. Those cool treats were perfect for a warm spring morning.

The decorations, food, and activities were only the icing on the cake for the more important things that were going on at that park.

Stories were being shared. Some couples that were waiting to be matched around the time of last year’s picnic came with a little bundle of joy this year. Some families of three became families of four. They discussed how adoption happened for them. The parents that had grown their family through adoption took the time to encourage those that are still waiting. They shared about their wait time, their fears, their discouragement, and finally, the realization of their happy family.

Adoption is such a tricky topic to discuss with people who don’t have first-hand experience. As caring and understanding as people can be, it always feels like there is a lot to explain. This morning provided an opportunity for our families to be surrounded by people who needed no explanation. This time together provided the unique comradery of being around people that have been where you have been or have gone where you will go next.

The kids at these picnics will grow up surrounded by other kiddos that have similar stories.

The danish was delicious, the coffee was necessary, the raffle gifts made our families feel spoiled and the hill filled the kids with wonder, but the community and encouragement were the real stars of the day. That is why we get together.

Can’t wait to do the same in Orlando.

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