Adoption is such a beautiful thing because it means the creation of, or expansion of, family. To be part of someone’s adoption journey – even just a small part – is a reverent experience. Many of my neighbors and I were recently given this gift, and all who were involved were deeply touched.
My dear friend Nicole, an adoptive mother, lives on a street where the neighbors regularly hang out in their front yards and do life together, so naturally it is a perfect location for a Turquoise Table. Nicole was one of the early birds to the Front Yard People movement, and her table is often a centerpiece for neighborhood gatherings. About a year and a half ago, Nicole met a new neighbor named Jen. The two women bonded over many things, but most significant was their shared journey of international adoption. Nicole’s son was adopted from Ethiopia, and Jen was, and still is, in the process of adopting two little girls from the same country.
“Adoption is a long and emotional journey,” says Jen. “I’m very thankful to have met Nicole – she has been such an amazing support for me and my husband throughout this process.”
Nicole is grateful for their shared bond as well. “My son Beck just lit up when he found out there would be a family that resembles ours just houses away,” Nicole says. “He cannot wait for the girls to get here – and neither can the rest of us!”
While Jen navigates the lengthy and expensive adoption process, she has become an ambassador for Noonday Collection, a wonderful company that sells fashion accessories made by talented artisans from impoverished communities across the globe. Ambassadors sell the jewelry, scarves and other accessories via trunk shows here, and the sales provide the artisans with a stable income and means to support their families. The founder of Noonday is an international adoptive mother herself, and when designated, a portion of proceeds from a trunk show’s sales can be donated to an adoptive family to help offset the significant costs. Nicole offered to host a Noonday trunk show where the portional proceeds would benefit Jen’s adoption, and her two kids elected to have a bake sale alongside it at The Turquoise Table. All of the profits from the bake sale would be donated in support of bringing Jen’s girls home from Ethiopia too.
And so the trifecta of a Noonday Collection trunk show, a children-run bake sale, and The Turquoise Table came together earlier this month to host a huge neighborhood holiday party. With a big turnout expected, Nicole knew right away that her Turquoise Table was the perfect spot for this event.
“The Turquoise Table has revolutionized my ability to entertain,” says Nicole. “I’m a busy working mother, and truthfully my house is a cozy retreat that is mostly reserved for downtime with my family. It’s also a fairly small house, so having large scale events such as this one in my home would be out of the question. But with my Turquoise Table, I can host friends and neighbors regularly without the pressure of having them inside.”
The holiday party was a marvelous afternoon of fun and fellowship, with dozens and dozens of people in attendance. Its purpose touched everyone, and connected the neighborhood families in deeper ways. For instance, one group of neighbors who typically do a gift exchange with each other decided to skip it this year, and instead donate the gift money to Jen’s adoption fund. While at the party, a teenage girl who lives down the street handed Jen an envelope and in it pledged to donate $15/month in 2016 to aid the adoption. Another neighbor shared with Nicole that she had been trying to decide which local cause to support this year, and once she heard about Jen’s story, she knew immediately that she would donate in support of Jen’s girls. The neighbor was adopted herself, and recalls stories of how her own childhood neighbors rallied in support of her parents when she was brought home – with only one day’s notice.
Due to different circumstances than that neighbor’s, Jen’s adoption process is taking much longer, and adopting two children instead of just one means that the related expenses are greater as well. Jen is incredibly grateful to all who have stepped up with their assistance. “I have always known that I wanted to adopt,” she says, “and to feel such support from my friends and neighbors throughout this journey is overwhelming.”
Personally, I was so grateful to be a part of this day too. To meet Jen, learn of her story, and to see Nicole and the community surround her in love and support is what it is all about. The Turquoise Table represents a place of caring and belonging, and everyone felt that at this party. I hope to take part in more Turquoise Table events like this one in the upcoming year. And I wish with all of my heart that Jen’s girls arrive here and into their loving home and community as soon as possible.