Camp Mujigae

After Grandma's funeral in Iowa, the boys and I flew to Albany, New York, last Wednesday for a Korean culture camp: Camp Mujigae. In Korean, Mujigae means "rainbow." Will and Liam each attended half-day camps with kids their respective ages: 9- and 7-year-olds. Each age group was grouped into six kids per counselor. It was a chance for the boys to get to know other kids who were adopted from Korea and for us adoptive families to meet, chat, laugh, and well-up. The experiences are best summed up from the Harrisons, Olivias, and Moms at camp. (Have you met Harrison and Olivia yet?) One slight adjustment: they are no longer preschoolers.

“What do you think, Harrison?” Mom asked after the first day of camp. “I like it. I’m not the odd man out. Everyone here was born in another country.”

"I finally get to spend time with my friends!" said Olivia. Mom was confused as Olivia had just had a playdate with a good friend from school, but camp was different. Korean friends were different.

“Good luck finding your kids tomorrow at camp, especially from behind!” said Mom who has brought her kids to camp for several years. First-time Camp Mujigae Mom nearly yelled at a boy for not responding when she called his name… He wasn’t her son. From the back, all the boys had the same black hair, were the same height, and wore the same colored shirts. (Groups of kids in the same colored shirts are problematic for this particlar Mom... See Mother's Day from a Non-Soccer Mom...)

“Mom,” proclaimed Harrison, “I’m average! Everyone in my group is my age and I’m about the same size they are!”

Shared stories between adoptive Moms... "Olivia said, 'I’m not celebrating my birthday any more. It’s too sad to think of my birth mother being sad that day.' I said I really didn't think her birth mother would want her to be sad on her birthday.

“As for me, I have a lump lodged in my throat every year on Olivia’s birthday. What a painful decision her birth mother made to let another family raise Olivia. This beautiful girl, my daughter.”

There. Another adoptive Mom said it aloud. I’m not alone shedding tears on birthdays.