Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Sisterhood & The Secret Life of Girls

Trusting each other can be hard
Send me a message from your heart
Together, forever
Sharing and caring
That's the secret life of girls, that's the secret life of girls...

Last weekend, Chinese Heritage Camp Too in Denver, Colorado, offered programming for high-schoolers for the very first time. The first really significant wave of China adoptees (largely girls adopted in 1995-1996) are hitting upper school age, and adoptive parents and heritage camp coordinators are scrambling to find ways to maintain the tracks laid in Families with Children from China support groups a long while back. The tsunami is rumbling; over 60,000 children have been adopted from China over the last 15 years, and the leading edge has turned into teenagers!

Thirteen young Chinese-American women from all over the USA came to Colorado Heritage Camp with their families, and promptly entered into camp's teen-world-with-a-twist. China adoption was the common tie, and it provided the easy unspoken connection that held this disparate group of girls together.

"When i was at camp i felt like i belonged - asian girls with white parents - i wasn't different and it was a nice change. Even living in a diverse area, i don't see many adoptees on a daily basis, so it felt good" my 13 year old wrote in her journal. "We came from really different places and had lots of different personalities...but it didn't matter."

You pick me up when I am down
You make me smile when you're around
All the memories are so sweet
Like the party from last week
That's the secret life of girls, that's the secret life of girls...

SISTERHOOD was the teen theme, and the girls spent part of Friday meeting with college women from the local Sigma Psi Zeta Sorority. SPZ is the only Multicultural Asian Interest Greek organization at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and the sorority sisters talked and answered questions about their own experiences as college students, and as Asian American women.

Bonding was solidified on Saturday, when the teens were spirited away to the mountains where they faced "the ultimate Colorado outdoor experience" on the Challenge Ropes Course! The entire day was designed to build trust, teamwork and creative problem-solving, and the girls were incredibly supportive of each other. The tiniest step on the high ropes was cheered, and a participant's ability to overcome high-anxiety was totally appreciated by this group of kids who all understood the meaning of everyday bravery.

The teens also learned how to express themselves through songwriting, and 'group-wrote' lyrics and music around the Sisterhood motif. Jasmine Pyne, a member of the teen group, used her previous, professional experience as a singer to lead the girls through the steps involved in creating words and music. The teens performed their song, "The Secret Life of Girls", accompanied by Jasmine's dad on the acoustic guitar, at the camp's closing ceremonies over Dim Sum. If we parents needed proof that our babies were growing up, it was there on the stage in front of us...our daughters were proud to present their own collaboration, and happy to be up there with each other. There is strength in numbers, there is Sisterhood in adoption, there is power in coming together.

"When we parents are long gone" said Richard Fischer, teen program co-coordinator with his wife, Annie, and publisher of Adoption TODAY Magazine, "my hope is that our daughters will have each other."

Our daughters all went straight to the practical teen reality of staying connected. My 13 year old added: "Dim sum brunch was all pictures (i think i'm still half-blind) and passing around cell phones to capture each others info ("can you text?!"). AND if any of you guys are reading this, i miss you and luv you!"

Through the fights and the tears
All that matters - we are here!
That's the secret life of girls, that's the secret life of girls...
That's the secret life of girls!

New! Click HERE to play mp3 song download

(Lyrics and music by TEENS of Chinese Heritage Camp Too, Copyright 2009, All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. What a great experience. We hope to come next summer.