SIBLING REUNIFICATION

This has had to of been one of the best experiences in my advocacy career and in my life as well. Camp To Belong was held at the Silver Creek National Park from June 23rd through the 28th this year and I can't begin to describe how breathtaking the experience was for me.

During this week, I had the privilege of watching siblings reconnect with one another that had been separated during their time in the Oregon child welfare system; the first time in years for some of these youth. We spent time swimming, horse back riding, celebrating birthday parties, singing camp songs, and so much more. It's challenging to put into words the feelings and emotions that were shared and felt at camp this week and the impact it had on me.

I was separated from both of my siblings during my time in care and so having the opportunity to see others that were separated come together and hangout as brothers and sisters without any of the stereotypes or stigmas that we often face because of our time in foster care was a beautiful thing.

I have often felt an emptiness in my heart and a longing to reunite with my siblings after all these years and this camp helped fill up that emptiness with hope and an inspiration to find my siblings and fight for our right to have a relationship with one another. I can't wait to come back to the next session and help another group of siblings rekindle their relationships with one another!

If anyone's interested in learning more check them out at www.camptobelongoregon.org

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Jul 8, 2014 By Ryan Cummings