Sunday, December 02, 2012

Celebrating Our 5 Year Adoption Anniversary

This year was a BIG milestone for our family with your 5 year celebration. Has it really been five years since we took Luka home from the orphanage in Maputo, Mozambique. Five years, three countries later, our family is stronger than ever. I think traveling like nomads from place to place does that.  

And now we have Sammy in this crazy crew of ours. Two little boys...who would have thought? They are both miracle babies in their own right, Luka, well you know his story and Sam...well he was a labor of love that took many tries, shots and a couple of scientists in a lab to create our little Sammy Whammy. Wow, that scientist part makes him sound a little Frankensteinish (it was IVF), but actually the one who turned into something a little scary during this time was Mommy, with all the shots and drugs, but in the end sooooo worth the work and mood swings.

But here we are 5 years and I am not sure what the next 5 years will hold for us, but I do know one thing is that it will be an adventure. This adventure is full of many ordinary and mundane days like everyone else...but once in a while we get to do something fun like climb a mountain, see the snow, take a safari, drive to the beach, learn a new language, ....and we know that every once in a while our adventure will change location and then (at least in the beginning) even the normal things are out of the ordinary when you live in a new country or city. Our life might be chaotic but never boring.

This year we celebrated our 5 Year Adoption Anniversary in Chile...and we had to celebrate it for two days...of course.

First we celebrated with Luka's class at school. The kids are always asking questions about the color of Luka's skin, when they look at me. Sometimes they ask about where he is from, or what "adoption" means...so this was the perfect opportunity to share our experience with the class. And most importantly a great excuse for cupcakes!

First we read this book - I Wished For You: An Adoption Story. We have a few books on adoption, but this storybook is great. It talks about many of the issues: What did the birth mother think? Why do we have different fur skin color? Etc. It is a great book and I highly recommend it. I usually can't get through the book without crying, but I took deep breaths and I was able to stay cool calm and collected for Luka's class.
The book was followed by a question and answer session. I was really nervous, but it was great and Luka helped me answer the questions. The only bad part was that Luka kept interrupting me and in front of the whole class was asking me if Jake was invited to his adoption party. Would not have been so bad, but I had only invited three of the kids and their families...que pena!!! But the whole class will get an invite to his birthday.

Then came the cupcakes.....YUMMY!
We sang "HAPPY ADOPTION DAY" and he was so proud...just look at his face.
Then there was a whole lot of Gangnam Style dancing and general craziness in the class. Boy, does that kindergarten class like to dance?!?!?!
To see more photos from the party at school click here.

After school we told Luka he could take one friend and his brother any place he wanted. He chose Aventura and Burger King. Aventura is a Chuck E. Cheese style arcade...and you know how much I love those places...but it was his day to pick so the whole family and Emilio went and they actually behaved really good.

Here he is with Emilio...they are such best buds.
One thing that Luka wanted to MAKE SURE we did was ride the little roller coaster. He loves thrill rides...he will ride anything he is tall enough for. Sam, being the little brother, wants to do everything his big brother does...so we convinced the employee at Aventura to let Sam ride with me next to him. Even though he was CLEARLY too small. What was I thinking??? He had a big smile and 30 seconds into the ride I heard a scream of terror and I saw his little face...I think he thought he was going to die. I signaled the guy to stop the ride...poor baby. I really thought since it was a kiddie roller coaster it would be okay. Mommies makes mistakes too...he is ok now and I don't think he is scarred for life. Look how happy and excited he looks in this photo...that joy didn't last...sorry Sammy.
After a good night's sleep it was time for the P-A-R-T-Y! It was such a perfect afternoon. The weather was great. The kids didn't stop playing. There were no fights and everyone, even mommies and daddies, were able to sit down and enjoy themselves.
Here are all of the kiddos...well most of them.
Now I will take you on a little photo tour of the party...

What better way to honor your family than by a beautiful drawing. All the kids were asked to draw a photo of thier family as a way to remind them that we were celebrating our FAMILY DAY. We hung them up on the fence and it was the perfect way to decorate the backyard. When the party was over the families took the drawings home (or they got them with the thank you card if they forgot it).
We started off the party with some appetizers...a mini sandwich bar and come veggies. But I think the BIG hit of the party was the authentic Mexican guacamole that my friend Pamela brought...still dreaming about it.
Lunch was a Burger Bar, where you could build your own burger with tons of toppings and a fresh green salad with my famous Soy/Honey/Maple Dressing...okay not so famous, but really good.

Here are some of the mini-cakes we ordered for dessert. They were beautiful and delicious. 
Look at us...so happy...well except for Sammy that was rudely awakened from his nap with everyone having FUN at the party.
Luka we love you...look at our cake - a stack of pancakes (ripped off this idea and the colors from Sam's 2nd Birthday party, which I think I never posted about...we were leaving Bolivia at the time).
After we sang the kids were able to concoct the yummiest pancake they could with various toppings and things with way too much sugar.
Luka is putting his hand because it was so sunny, not because I always have a camera in his face. Honestly, not sure about that one.  Here they are making their creations.
Okay, the water was FREEZING, but our friends from Alaska never think the water is too cold so Luka decided to join his friend Gaby...this Miami girl was not going anywhere near the water. I have yet to take the plunge in out pool.
Sam needs to come up with a new face when I say "cheese,." But this is his camera face.
After Sam shook off his "I just woke up" bad mood he decided to be a bartender. He loves to pour drinks. I better be careful with that one.
In lieu of gifts for Luka we asked friends to bring items to donate to a local orphanage. We managed to collect 554 diapers and a box full of great clothes for the kids. That is awesome. We were very grateful for the generosity of our friends. THANK YOU!!!
After the party the van Herksens passed out from a very fun packed two day celebration...until next year!

To see all of the photos from the party click here.

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