October 7, 2013

Sunshine and Smiles at the 16th Annual Adoption Picnic

Posted in Adoption, Employees, Events, Foster Care Program, Project Family tagged , , , , , , , at 8:10 am by Lund

“I expected something small, a few people on a picnic blanket…not this,” said one adoptive parent as he looked around in amazement at Lund’s 16th Annual Adoption Picnic last weekend.  Over 500 people attended the event which celebrates adoption and adoptive families with food, entertainment and companionship.    It is the largest statewide event for adoptive families in Vermont and even attracts guests from out of state.  “The Adoption Picnic is one of the few places in Vermont where adopted children get to see and meet other children who are adopted and look like them, it gives children a sense of sameness which is so important,” says Toni Yandow who works in adoption at Lund.

Inside the Inventor's Workshop, anything goes!

Inside the Inventor’s Workshop, anything goes!  (Photo credit: Kim Keefe)

This year’s event was held at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds and the beautiful weather ensured that the bouncy houses, climbing wall, and fire truck outside were big hits.  Inside were arts and crafts activities, face painting, circus skills training, a clown and an inventor’s workshop where kids were actively encouraged to make a mess!

The picnic was hosted by the adoption department at Lund with help from 74 volunteers from Lund, St. Michael’s College and the community and could not happen without their enthusiastic help.  It was a very happy event full of people enjoying being together as a family.  There were couples shining with pride with brand new babies and families with many older adopted children attending the picnic for the tenth time.   Each family setup was different but they all had reason to celebrate adoption.    “The Adoption Picnic is important because it celebrates family,” says Wanda Audette, Director of Adoption at Lund.  “Families come together and we are able to witness our mission coming to life.  No child or family is left behind and our hearts are full.”

Wanda addresses the crowd before the circus show begins

Wanda addresses the crowd before the circus show begins

Last year Lund finalized 188 adoptions and 170 of these were of older children through Project Family, our nationally acclaimed partnership with the Vermont Department of Children and Families.   The tangible effect of this work was so clear at this event as families who came together through adoption spent the day celebrating under the sun of a beautiful late September afternoon.   “It’s her favorite day of the year,” said one mom of her daughter.  It’s one of our favorites too.

Not a cloud in the sky!

Not a cloud in the sky!

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