Today is our last day of our CA adventure. Tomorrow we try to stuff all of our things back into the suitcases and head home. It has been a wonderful vacation and we have seen so much. The pull of home is strong now so the timing is just right.
Jarrett's experience at camp was everything we wanted it to be. This camp is very different than most camps for adoptees. There are no cultural experiences (no Korean cooking classes, no martial arts or fan dancing)but rather a 4 day focus entirely on identity as an adoptee, dealing with racism and creating a community for yourself with other foreign born adoptees of color.
It is a unique experience to be raised in an family and community of caucasians but to be Asian. Basically your insides and your outsides don't match. You have lived as a caucasian all your life but the world immediately perceives you as Asian but you have not had an Asian experience. Put an Asian adoptee in a room with other Asians and their life experiences are so different that they have no common ground on which to relate. The only group that can truly understand what their life experience has been is other international adoptees.
To attend a camp staffed fully by young adult adoptees and attended fully by adoptees creates a safe place where issues and experiences can be shared, concerns aired, and strategies discussed. This experience was so important for Jarett to have at this time. An older teen is making such important decisions and fully creating an identity for themselves and doing it within a stacked deck is difficult at best. Jarrett has had his struggles and it is immediately apparent that this camp experience has added to his life's tool belt significantly. That, my friends, is a huge relief and an answer to prayer.
So, we will happily pack up our goodies tomorrow and head home knowing that this trip was worth every financial sacrifice we made to make it happen. And what Jarrett is taking home with him can't be packed in a suitcase or wrapped in tissue paper to protect it from the baggage handlers but is immeasurably valuable.
And that is what this trip was all about.