What a lovely day we had. Coco ran and climbed and rode a horse for the first time. She also discovered she loves, loves, loves fishing (or maybe just the worms!) When we arrived we met up with T and the other families. The food had just been set out and I asked Coco if she wanted something to eat but I barely got the words out and she was off and running. The first thing she happened upon was a horse so I asked her if she would like to ride it. Of course she was game! This child is not afraid of anything and is always up to try something new! She took it very seriously. When she is learning something or doing something for the first time she always looks so serious but I think it’s because she is studying how it is done. I was a bit concerned she was scared and asked her if she was having fun and of course she was loving it – even with her initial stoic look!
Next we went for a ride on a caribou-drawn cart. Then she went off to explore the grounds with the yaya while I chatted with T and some of the other families. There was a large covered area in the middle of the
campgrounds farm where we all gathered which was open on all sides. It was nice and breezy and a good place to relax and chat with the other moms. You can see it above. All of the adopted kids were Filipino and most of the adults were, too, so it was hard for me to tell which families there were adoptive families but I did speak to one woman who works at the British school. She and her husband adopted a boy at 2.5 years old (who they had to foster for a long time while they waited for him to be cleared for adoption). He is now 7 and they adopted a girl as an infant who is now 3. To adopt here you have to be a resident for three years first and then after your referral, the child has to remain in the country another three years before they will issue the paperwork allowing the child to move away. I can see the enormous benefit of having the residency requirement after an adoption in that the child gets to live and learn their culture but I suspect that factor is prohibitive for many people and allows for fewer Filipino adoptions. I met one other Filipino family who adopted locally and then I spent some time chatting with my new acquaintance, T. She told me her story. She and her husband adopted boy/girl twins as infants right after he received his PhD and were embarking on their new lives together as a family and then tragically her husband passed away. I know she feels grateful to have a large extended family around to help her raise her children and she seems so upbeat and joyful but she must still be feeling so much grief. Just when I start to feel sorry for myself again to be raising Coco as a single parent I am reminded that things can always be much worse.
After chatting with the families for a while I went out to look for Coco and found her fishing with the yaya. She was giddy with excitement! She couldn’t believe her good fortune that she got to pick up worms!! She loved hanging them on the end of the hook and throwing the line into the water. I was actually surprised she wasn’t sad for the worms. When I asked her about it she said, “Issokay, Mommy. Issokay.” She was happy the fish were getting food; I don’t think she thought much about the fate of the worms.
After fishing, Coco climbed on the rope, took a ride in a tire swing, sang Happy Birthday and devoured two cupcakes, took a spin in the boat with the yaya and walked around the grounds to see all the animals. Then right before we left there was a group picture taken.
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