What a wonderful experience!!! Yesterday afternoon I had my first experience at a picnic hosted by my agency, 'Open Arms to International Adoption.' It's was a wonderful experience and something I won't soon forget! We gathered in Burlington at Bronte Provincial Park. The weather was predicted to be hot and humid but it was absolutely perfect! Slightly overcast with a beautiful breeze blowing the entire afternoon. There were a couple of hundred people at the picnic and for someone like me who is waiting, it was a surreal experience! To think that once all these people were in my shoes and are now home with their daughters (and a few with sons!) was amazing. I'm guessing the oldest girls there were around 8 and the most recent travel group had just arrived home 7 short weeks ago with their babies! Amazing!
As each family approached the picnic area we were greeted by the laughter and squeals of children running and playing. There was a string of brightly coloured balloons strung across the area and the breeze caused them to float cheerfully in the summer sky.
As I was on my own, I'd called Deborah earlier in the week to see if she might be able to use an extra pair of hands. I was assigned to the craft table which the kids really enjoyed. There were lots and lots of rocks available with brightly coloured paints to decorate them with. It was fun to watch the kids be creative and decorate their rocks. Some took great care with each and every stroke of the brush while others went with the 'more paint the better' technique and quickly layered on the paint! Not knowing what I'd be doing at the picnic I'd chosen bright floral capris pants. I avoided the dripping brushes but could easily have camouflaged an accident should I have been slimed by a passing brush!
A short time into the picnic a wonderful new friend Jill came up and introduced herself as another waiting parent. She and her husband, along with their daughter are also with OA and currently working on their homestudy. As many past travel groups sat were sitting together I quickly asked Jill if I could join she and her husband Jay and that was it, a wonderful new friendship was formed! We chatted, laughed and shared our stories for much of the afternoon. It's wonderful how having something like the adoption in common causes an instant bond! It was great meeting you Jill! I look forward to seeing you at another OA function in the future! It was also great to chat with another online friend, Laurie, and to see her beautiful daughter Jia Li again. The only other time Laurie and I had met in person was in February of 2005 when I attended an Open Arms information session and Laurie and her husband Austin were guest speakers, having just returned from China 7 short weeks earlier with Jia Li. Now they're preparing for another little one to join their family and are excited to know that their dossier will be heading to China this month! Congrats Laurie and Austin!
Another fun thing happened at the picnic. I had about 3 people recognize me from my picture on the blog! One lady walked up and quietly asked, 'Are you Catherine's Chatter - Waiting for Hannah?' :o) What fun and I'm so very glad they introduced themselves! It was wonderful meeting you Diana! I'm so glad we talked and I look forward to emailing you. All the best in your move to Edmonton and with your new job. Also, your upcoming adoption! I look forward to celebrating your referral with you!
After lunch and games, the kids were entertained by Robert as he sang and played his guitar for the children. It looked like they were having a blast as they sang, did actions, jumped around and had a great time with him! Robert and his wife Bonnie are in my travel group so we will have many opportunities to get to know one another better. Based on what I saw yesterday, Robert and Bonnie are going to have a blast with their little girl and music will play an important part of her life! Great job Robert!
Here's a little video I took of some of the children enjoying Robert's music. As you may notice in the pictures and video, I tried to take only the backs of the children as I didn't know their parents so couldn't ask about posting on the blog. Their little faces were oh so cute but I purposely tried to keep them anonymous. Take a look at the little one in the pink checkered dress...too cute! Ohhhh...just think! My little Hannah will be at one of these picnics in the future and I'll be one of the proud parents that have been blessed by God! Can you imagine the number of pictures I'll take then?