This past weekend was our annual Haiti Reunion. This was our 7th year attending this gathering of our people. I say that purposefully: these are our people. These are our kin. Our get-togethers are like going to a gas station when your tank is on empty and getting a fill-up.
Last year I wrote a post about our Haiti Reunions that really attempts to articulate how we feel about them. I re-read that post tonight and it made me cry. It expresses so well pretty much exactly what I want to express again now. Please read it by clicking here.
These four (above) have so much in common it is almost hard to fathom: two sets of twins, born within a few days of each other, in Haiti, placed in the same orphanage (years apart), and adopted into American families in the state of Pennsylvania. How amazing is that? Now, imagine, always being so unique: you’re a twin, you’re Haitian, you’re an adoptee, you’re black with white parents, you’re a kid with dreadlocks, you’re smart-as-a-whip-and-super-quick-and-uber-reslient-and-have-a-ridiculously-high-pain-tolerance and you’ve got gumption-enough-to-spare and spunk-enough-to-light-a-fire and you’re-pretty-darn-willful and everywhere you go you are noticeable as very much unusual in so many, many ways. You can’t just slide by or slip in because you always stand out. And then, for one weekend a year, you get to be just-like-everyone-else and “normal” and — phew! what a relief! — not so unique. For one glorious weekend you can breath, and just be, and you don’t have to be self-conscious or concerned because everybody — everybody around you — gets it. Like, really gets it. For most of your life, you’re the unique one. But for now, you fit right in, and everything is easy, and you’re not so remarkable or noteworthy. That’s what it is like to get together with these kin of ours each year. It feels so good.
It isn’t just our Haitian Sensations for whom this weekend is such a special, and important, time. It is just as profound for their siblings and parents too. We’re with people who really know — in a way unlike any other — what it is like to be us in this world. Don’t get me wrong: we embrace our uniqueness (we wouldn’t be the families we are if we hadn’t been 100% willing to take that on). But we enjoy the respite of one weekend of being “normal.” It is just so pleasantly wonderfully incredibly nice to be able to just be us, without worrying about how we’re perceived and received and conceived of. We can just be. And that is such an amazing feeling.
I took the picture below from the front passenger seat of our car as we were about to pull out of the parking lot to leave the reunion. A bunch of kids were barely outside our car’s door, almost overflowing into it, as they said a hundred “goodbye’s” and “I’ll miss you’s” and “see you next year’s” back and forth with Kyle, Owen, and Meera.
The picture is worth a thousand words. We gather around each other, wild and crazy, with glow sticks flaring, and voices at full volume, and every bit of ourselves just adoring each other just as we are. From start to finish we are just us. And entirely accepted and fully embraced as just us. That gives us something so valuable. And we go home from the reunion feeling all fueled up.
A year seems too long to wait to do it again. But we’ll wait. And we’ll do it again. And us J-Ms are in it for the long-haul.
To our inner circle of Pennsylvania-area-Haitian-Adoptive-Families — our kin — THANK YOU. We love every one of you so dearly and so deeply. We’re with you every step of the way. Love, the J-Ms.