As another Adoptee Camp season is placed in the books, the dust begins to settle from the frantic pace of my summer camp adventures. Back in my Eugene office, I close my eyes and take a deep breath, inhaling a sense of relative calm before I begin my article. As I exhale slowly, my eyes open and begin to focus on the blinking cursor and blank page before me. The calm quickly fades to a light panic.
“How?” I ask myself.
How can I possibly describe everything the campers have taught me? How can I convey to readers the beauty and value of the Adoptee community? How can the strength and urgency of their voice be turned into a newsletter? I fumble through several iterations; reading, re-reading, deleting, shaking my head as I struggle to get it “just right”. In spite of my desperate efforts to capture their voice, I sense the soul and poignancy of their wisdom evaporating with each keystroke. Frustrated, I decide to move on to another project. As I close the document, it hits me; “Just let them tell their stories!”……..
Thirteen-year old Allison discusses her life-changing experiences at Holt adoptee camp and encourages others to join her on next summer’s adventures
by Allison Fuchs
My name is Allison Fuchs. This summer was my fifth year attending Oregon Holt camp. When I was younger, I had a lot of unanswered questions in my mind; some were more important than others. This year, I finally realized that many of my questions should be asked.
I think Holt camp is very important for adoptees. It teaches us that there are other people our age who have faced the same problems we have. It’s a great way to share a special bond with another adoptee.
The most rewarding part of camp is seeing how dedicated the staff is. Making sure the the campers have fun and learn who they are, is the staff’s number one goal. To top it off, they don’t get paid for any of it! I truly admire the level of commitment they give.
Adoptee camp helped me so much in everyday life. It helps me make new friends every year and has helped me realize that it wasn’t my fault I was adopted. This was always something I wondered until I asked it at camp. I finally understood that it is never the adoptee’s fault. Never.
I want to tell adoptees that they are special to me. Even if I don’t know them, I still feel very passionate about them. I think of all adoptees as my extended family. It’s a terrific feeling and I hope they feel the same way. I think every adoptee should attend Holt camp. You don’t even have to be adopted through Holt go to! If you attend, you will have a chance to ask all the questions in your head about adoption and have your questions answered! I think every adoptee who attends has a great experience and leaves with a connection so powerful that they feel the need to come back — a connection that lives in every adoptee’s soul.
My fondest memory of Holt camp is meeting Michael Tessier. He is on the leadership staff. Something just mentally clicked when we met. The first thing I remember him doing was smile. His smile made me feel like I was being welcomed home. It made me feel like I belonged at camp. That was five summers ago. Over the years, Michael and I have become pretty awesome buddies. Michael is one of the camp veterans and has been on staff every year but one since I have attended camp. He is so dedicated to Holt that he works there year round!
Everyone should have a chance to start over, to have a new beginning. Adoption means just that. Everyone is always saying that they feel sorry that I was adopted, but my answer is always: don’t be sad. Be happy for me. It’s a blessing to be able to live the life I live. It’s not a curse; it’s a new beginning. I truly am thankful for Holt. Adoptee camp has unearthed many answers for me and has given me friends. I look forward to it every year. I actually met my best friend at Holt camp. Her name is Lila Grace. She has the purest heart and can accomplish almost anything when she sets her mind to it. She is a great friend to have. I want to thank everyone who has helped make camp such a wonderful experience for me. It’s a memory that will last a lifetime.