I just worry that they may be a little heavy on the "be grateful" thing. I have heard older adoptees say that there was little to no talk about the negative aspects of adoption, and the counselors were pretty kool-aid-y. (I know, not a real word, lol)and this from theadoptedones:
Now if it had been run by an adoption agency that preached the greatfulness sermon - not so much.The heritage camp the girls have attended does just "culture," nothing about adoption at all. Since I find little value in the "culture" part of camp, I've experienced frustration in the past about the fact that adoption wasn't really talked about. I remember feeling a certain amount of scorn for an adoptive mother who quizzed me carefully about whether anything was said at camp about adoption/birth parents/loss/etc., when trying to decide whether her daughters should attend the camp -- I saw her as another avoidant adoptive parent who wanted to shield her children from the hard aspects of adoption so as to preserve the happy-happy-joy-joy narrative.
But then I got to thinking about it . . . along the lines of Linda's and theadoptedones' comments . . . and decided I'm not that eager to have a camp talking to my kids about adoption. What if they tried to teach my kids to feel grateful for being adopted? What if they told my kids that their adoption was "meant to be," part of God's grand plan? What if they told my kids that their birth mothers were just pass-through tummies, a la Rosie O'Donnell, on the way to their rightful mom?
I might be more comfortable at an adoptee camp NOT run by an adoption agency, but those are few and far between. . . .
When I attended the St. John's University adoption conference last year, I attended a session by a Holt staffer (I know, I know, it's Holt, but he seemed like a good guy!), Steve Kalb, who is also an adult adoptee, about having "adoptee camps" rather than "culture camps." He takes the position that in international adoption there is too much emphasis placed on birth culture rather than adoptee identity. He says, "Birth culture isn’t satisfying for adoptees for explaining why they are different. It is until they are 4 or 5 years old, but then birth culture as presented and prioritized for them does not give enough rationale for why they are different. As they grow older, they require a more complex explanation."
The idea of "adoptee camp," as Kalb describes it, resonates with me. So does Dr. John Raible's description of the benefits of Pact camp for transracial adoptees. So maybe we'll have to go further afield to find what I really want my kids to get out of the camp experience. . . .
So what do you think is best -- adoptee camp or culture camp? or none of the above?!