Sunday, January 13, 2013

Why I'm dragging myself to Disney World in July

Ok, maybe dragging is an exaggeration.  A big one. For those of you who know my love for Disney, you know that I don't have to be dragged to Disney World. I think my arm can be twisted fairly easily.

But, I like to visit Disney World during off-peak times.  It's usually not as hot and not nearly as crowded when school is in session.  And significantly less expensive to visit during the off season. July can be one of the hottest and most crowded months of the summer. We just went to Disney World for two days last summer before the cruise.  I hadn't planned on going back for another two to three years. We already have a family vacation planned this summer in the mountains of Colorado.  So what could have persuaded me to consider visiting Disney World this July?

I'll tell you.  It's the opportunity to meet hundreds of other people touched by Russian adoption.  A large group of parents and their children adopted from Russia are meeting up at Disney World, followed by a cruise to the Bahamas on the Disney Dream.

It all started with one mom from California, Laura Deary.  Her daughter lived in an orphanage in Ekaterinburg, Russia with another girl approximately the same age who was adopted by a different American family.  Both girls moved to the U.S.A. with their new families, but now they were separated by 2300 miles.  Laura had the idea to reunite the girls and their two families at a vacation at Disney World.

She started a Facebook group to plan the reunion and invited ten other families who adopted from the same region.  People in the group invited other people they knew who adopted from Russia, and soon there were over 500 members in the Facebook group!  These are people from all over the U.S. who have adopted from different regions within Russia. 

It was about a year ago that I got wind of the group.  Pricing for 2014 cruises had just come out.  I was really interested in going to the reunion, but the price of the cruise during peak time was just too much for us to swallow.  And we already had a family vacation planned for that summer.  Still, I wanted to go. My husband has been very supportive and has insisted that we find a way to go. The group was able to get a substantial group discount at a Disney resort prior to the cruise, and I got a steal on some plane tickets, so I will be going to the land part of the reunion with my two boys!

It's hard to explain my desire to go to a "reunion" to meet some people I have never met before. Actually, I have met a few people in the group during our 10 weeks in Russia in 2007 and 2009.  But although I've never met most of the group in person, I feel a sense of camaraderie with the members. Many of them adopted from the same region our boys are from, and I've been reading their adoption blogs for years.  I know them on Facebook and have watched their kids blossom and flourish in the United States. We know each other through online adoption support groups and have helped each other with the same challenges of post-institutionalized behavior. We have shared our joys and accomplishments as families touched by Russian adoption.

I'm excited for my boys to meet other kids who were adopted from Russia.  My oldest son will get to see one of his roommates again, Victor, who he calls his "first friend".

And honestly, I can't think of a better place to have a reunion!

My boys and I will only be there for 2 1/2 days.  The big land event is a large group dinner at Mickey's Backyard Barbecue.  We were there in 2010 with my extended family and the kids all had a blast on the dance floor with the characters. Our reunion group is going to fill up the place!

My older son, dancing with his cousin at Mickey's Backyard BBQ in 2010

Although this Disney trip will be short, I hope to spend as much time as possible meeting other families.  And this might be our chance to do some things at Disney World that don't require park entrance.  Our hotel is close enough to Magic Kingdom that we can watch the fireworks from the beach.  We can also see the electric water pageant and go to a camp-fire sing-a-long with Chip and Dale at the resort next door. I think we will spend one day at Magic Kingdom, but the rest of the time we will be enjoying the resort and enjoying our new and old friends.

There has been a lot of negative press about Russian adoption lately.  In case you haven't heard, Putin signed a ban preventing Americans from adopting from Russia in the future. Our reunion organizer Laura Deary states, “In light of all the discussions of banning Russian adoptions to American families, I cannot wait until we have all our kiddos together the night of the reunion dinner so we can take a picture of ALL the children....happy, well-cared for, and most importantly LOVED. What a sight that will be to show the Mother Land!”

If you are interested in hearing more about the Russian adoption reunion, please e-mail me at


  1. Nancy: I love your blog entry. :) Although it's the hottest time of the year, I chose it since the kids were out of school and it would be easier for parents. Ha - Just had no idea how many kids and parents would end up coming and I am so incredibly excited at the response! Can't wait to finally meet you and the family!!!

    1. I totally get the July timing! If we had it during the school year, nobody could come! :)

  2. What a great blog entry! I do have to agree with you about "dragging yourself to Disney". I feel the exact same way. We had been looking at taking a Disney Cruise for a while but with a family of five it was a tad expensive.....then I saw the reunion cruise and did not hesitate to book it. But it is our family vacation for both 2012 and 2013 so that makes me feel better. Can't wait to finally meet you in July and see those beautiful boys of yours.