Magical Families: Connecting in Walt Disney World
As we gear up for Thanksgiving here in the U.S. I asked 2012 Walt Disney World Mom’s Panelist Kim Dillen to share a very special guest post about the magic of family. I write about special families – for me, that means families like mine, with more than 2.5 kids and kids with neurological differences and food allergies. Kim’s family story fits right in here at Return to Disney. She might not have the biggest family on the block, and she might not carry a loaded pharmacy in her purse, but she is definitely a special mom with a special story!
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November is National Adoption Month. A time set aside each year to raise awareness about the staggering figure that we now have more than 153 million orphans worldwide. It’s also an opportunity for adoptive parents to honor the exceptional and sometimes arduous journeys that brought our precious children into our lives. It’s certainly no coincidence that this Presidential Proclamation occurs during the season of Thanksgiving when we slow down, take stock of our many blessings and share a meal with those we hold dear. Many of us reflect on the true meaning of family during this season and how it often includes a wide circle of friends with whom we have no direct genetic relation but an attachment of the heart just the same.
As fate would have it, and most adoptive parents will tell you that they firmly believe in the power of the stars aligning, November is also the month when Magical Families convene in Walt Disney World for an annual reunion. This event is open to all pre and post-adoptive/ foster families without regard to agency affiliation and is a beautiful way to celebrate our unique association while vacationing with Mickey Mouse. As a member of the Board of Directors, I was honored to be able to put my magic wand powers to good use by helping in planning and organizing for this year’s 3rd annual gathering that took place November 14th-17th, 2013. We made pixie-dust-filled memories with our children that will last a lifetime. We shared heartfelt conversations with other adoptive/ foster parents at mommy meet-up and daddy downtime. We encouraged our kids to recognize that they are not alone in their adoption/ foster care experiences and that there are, in fact, plenty of other children with similar backgrounds as their own. We even raised enough funds to invite 15 year old Davion Only to our reunion with all of his and his adult chaperone’s expenses covered in full. This young man was recently in the national news for visiting his local church, bravely approaching the pulpit and asking for someone to please adopt him before he ages out of the foster care system. During our event, we learned that there is something very special in the works for this courageous teenager and he will soon have a permanent, loving home to call his own. But then, don’t all children deserve to be the light in someone’s eyes, to be cherished, dearly wanted and claimed as part of a family? I can think of no better happily-ever-after ending for adoptive and foster families than sharing our magical connection in the Happiest Place on Earth!
Further details about Magical Families can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/#!/MagicalFamilies. If your life has been touched by adoption or foster care, please consider joining us in 2014!
MORE ABOUT KIM:
Hi! Kim Dillen here! I’m a Registered Nurse, wife, and mother to two amazing children, a biological son Andrew age 21 and a daughter Nia age 11 who joined our family through adoption just prior to her 5th birthday. I’ve been in love with all things Disney for many years now and always seem to find a reason (excuse) to return to the Most Magical Place on Earth to celebrate a special Dillen Family milestone or life event. In 2012, I was honored to be selected as a member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel. The Panel’s collective passion for the House of Mouse is so overflowing that one of our greatest joys is found in helping others create their own amazing Disney vacation memories. Since I am on hiatus from answering questions this year, I decided to join the board of directors for Magical Families and greatly enjoyed helping to plan the 2013 adoptive/ foster family gathering in Walt Disney World! In my spare time, my family and I love fostering animals in our home for the Humane Society of Charlotte.
You can read all about my adventures with the Moms Panel at this link to a write-up on the Disney Parks Blog: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2012/03/moms-panel-monday-meet-new-2012-walt-disney-world-panelist-kim-dillen/
And you can watch my online video biography that I recorded during Moms Panel Training in December 2011 here:http://disneyworldforum.disney.go.com/videos.aspx?pnl=242