(PAOLI) - Parents from about 20 households that have adopted children from Africa's Democratic Republic of Congo are gathered at the home of Jamey and Stori Sullivan. The Sullivans share the same commonality as their visitors.
Roger Moon, of the Times-Mail reports, the adoptive parents have brought their children with them.
The adoptions have come through an organization called Our Family in Africa.
There will be about 110 to 115 people at the Sullivan house, all of which have either completed adoption through Our Family in Africa or are in the process of completing an adoption, according to Jamey.
This marks the second time for a gathering like this at his home.
He said five children who were adopted from the Congo live in Orange County and an Orleans family now is in the process of adopting a child.
Sullivan, who works for the Raymond James financial services firm in Mitchell, talked about the inspiration for the gathering.
The Sullivans became interested in international adoptions about five to six years ago. By late fall of 2009 they had returned from Africa with Ian, who, at the time, was 7 months old, and Chad, who was 17 months old. The children joined the Sullivans' biological children, Livia and Parker. Stori later gave birth to another son, Owen.
The Congo is an impoverished part of the world where little ones, often found homeless in the streets, live in crude orphanages and have dim hopes for surviving very long in a place where malnutrition and disease are pervasive. Congolese children who are adopted into the United States often will maintain memories of being hungry and of the trauma of losing their parents
Stori believes that's why it's important for the children to interact with others from their native land.
Jamey said the gathering will attract families from a few Indiana cities, as well as from such states as North Carolina, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama.
Jilma Meneses, an attorney and the founder of Our Family in Africa, also planned to be present for this weekend's gathering. She lives in Camas, Wash., and also has adopted through the organization.
"When families who have adopted get together for a reunion, they build unity in order to further the mission," Meneses wrote in an email. "In addition, their Congolese children meet and play with each other, they play with kids who look like them and come from the same part of the world.
"The children have a sense of belonging and acceptance, which is critical to their development and their acculturation in the United States."
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