#LAHC Summer Number Two

I've been trying - since my long trip home from Colorado - to articulate - in any form - the magnitude of camp.

It hasn't happened.

It just hasn't.

It seems too big to put into words.
And somehow so finite it barely requires talking about.

Yes, friends, nature is the bomb.
I can't.
I'm over here just can'ting.

Something exceptionally healing even though the location itself isn't the biggest piece of camp.

I'd be hard pressed to express to you what the most important piece is, because it all seems to MATTER.

And since I'm a big lister during the school year, I've come up with the top 5 things that changed my life this summer @ LAHC.

(For those of you who weren't with me last summer - use the search box on the right and type CAMP to catch up on all things Adoption Camp)

#5: Communing with Nature and Music.  In a lot of the parent workshops (in which I operate as the rogue adoptee - and I LOVE IT.), we spent a lot of time talking about outlets and what healthy options we have for our children (in here I include my students - since I have no plans on starting a family...ever) and talk always came back to music, singing, dance, sports, and anything outdoors.  Yes, yes, and more yes.  Theater, inclusive of , but never limited to my theater family and my deep passion for all things musical, there has always been a community there, when things felt hopeless.

#4 Community.  I mean.  I grew up in the white suburbia of Western Massachusetts and if you want to do the math with me, I graduated with a class of 342.  12 of us were latino/a.  TWELVE.  Within that subsect ONE, me, was adopted.  I often straddle the line of a delicious ho-ho.  Brown on the outside, white on the inside.  It is pervasive.  And constant.  Sometimes it's everything, sometimes, it's not that big of a deal.  Never more, is it more obvious than standing in a room of a latinos who are largely - sharing my experience growing up.  Anonymity and acceptance in one space.  It's magical.
#3 Parents. My own adoptive parents were amazing at times and epic failures at others.  They are people who do not own their own work and rather sit in their own worlds. not wanting to do work to better themselves, comfortable where they are, who they are, even if it means never being who they might become.  But at camp.  Well.  I am surrounded by parents who want to be more.  Do more.  Who want nothing more than to be enough for their children.  Know enough to help their children.  I admire them.  The work they are doing.  My mothers are beautiful and flawed and as an adult I have come to understand their choices, even if I don't agree or accept them.  I see where my parents are and know that I want more.  To live more openly and constantly be open to change and love.  Parents at LAHC, I openly and unabashedly think, want that too.  They want the most for their children. That is a beautiful thing.

#2 Adoption is BEAUTIFUL.   Never more do I understand this than in groups at camp.  Families that match on the inside, even if they don't on the outside.  Long black hair and caramel skin rubbing up against the lighter shades of parents.  Adult adoptees searching for themselves and connection, navigating through their hurt and pains, trials and tribulations.  There is something more beautiful than I can contextualize about growth.  And families of adoptees are constantly in growth.  Learning, opening up, changing, finding more beautiful branches off a darkened path.  I am often filled with so much beauty that I can't seem to digest it all.  One night I sat with other adult adoptees in what I can only deem a difficult conversation.  But.  The best, best, best, way to describe it - beauty in the break down.  And I think it's safe to leave it there.  Adoption is Beautiful.

#1 Be the Change.  This year I worked with middle and high school adoptees around the idea of being the change they wish to see in the world.  They T-1ed their writing to list as many of the world problems and narrowed their lists into umbrella topics.  Once the lists were complete they spent the rest of their time in groups designing ways to solve these problems.  Lists included poverty, racism, hate, fear, war, violence, drugs, guns, education, equity, etc.  Their ideas.  As teens, and pre-teens.  They.  Knocked.  It.  Out.  Of.  The.  Park!  Their ideas were genuine and thoughtful, open and thinking.  One of my favorite moments was talking about BIG change and little change and that changes can start small, and Ana told me this great story about a man and a dog.  I can't remember the whole thing and it's more about like the Boy and the Starfish story.  But that moment with her was one of my favorites.  She gets it.  That change will come with them.  Each of them has the power to make their own mark.  Each of them is perfect.  And beautiful.  And have made me better.  Healed me in their hearts.  Their thoughts, and their dreams for the future.

Matterers, camp is a magical place.
You are beautiful.
And loved.

We Matter.


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