Heritage Camp and Mamalita

I cannot believe that it’s almost time for Heritage Camp. Something else I cannot believe is that I have been blogging at this site for more than a year! Yes, friends, the first Mamalita post appeared in February 2010, nine months before my book was published, and soon after my publicist at Seal Press, Eve Zimmerman, said “You need to build your platform. Have you thought about starting a blog?” To which I answered, “Honestly, no. I haven’t.” 

What I didn’t say, but I’m sure Eva understood, is that writing Mamalita had required my every molecule of writing energy and focus. Answering emails drained me enough, and thank goodness I hadn’t yet discovered Facebook. Could I add blogging to the mix? Add it to the mix I did, and found I really liked the practice. (My husband often calls me “the mad blogger.” ) My plan is to continue until I finalize my ideas for my next book and commit myself to a schedule for writing it. There are super-human people who can do both–focus on a manuscript and blog daily–but I don’t think I’m one of them.

Meanwhile, back to Heritage Camp. The great news is that for the fourth consecutive year, our family is attending Latin American Heritage Camp in Fraser, Colorado, and this year Mamalita: An Adoption Memoir is the book club selection. Yippee! If you’re going, please plan to join us on Friday night for a discussion. At some point during the weekend, I’ll also be leading an adult workshop on memoir-writing and the adoption experience. Stay tuned for details.

For those who are unfamiliar with Heritage Camp, I’m re-posting a section of my blog from last April so you can read all about it.

One of the very few places in the world where our family does not stand out as different is Colorado Heritage Camp. For the uninitiated, heritage camps are designed specifically for adoptive families of all kinds. The camp we attend is geared toward families with children from Latin America; camps are also designed for families with kids from Africa and the Caribbean, Cambodia, China, India and Nepal, the Philippines, Korea, Russia, and Vietnam.

Our family loves Heritage Camp. This will be the third year we attend. For a long weekend in June, we’ll stay in a YMCA lodge in the Rocky Mountains, along with other adoptive families from around the country. During the day, our kids will play games and do art projects that emphasize their Latin American culture. We adults will attend workshops and roundtables led by experts in adoption and child-rearing. Not all activities are scheduled: Families also find time to swim, hike, shop at the mercado, and practice their samba dancing at the Saturday night fiesta.

Every year, camp opens with an opening ceremony where the kids parade into the meeting hall carrying flags from the countries where they were born. As Olivia waited her turn the first year, she said to me with awe in her voice, ”Everyone here looks like us.” I was too choked up by the sight of our beautiful children carrying their flags to respond, but I squeezed my daughter’s hand to let her know I agreed. Olivia and Mateo hope to attend Heritage Camp every year until they turn 17. After that, their plan is to become counselors so they can be the “big kids” they now look up to.

For more info, check out this link.


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