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First Family Reunion Trip Photos

Meeting for the first time!

June 28, 2000

Many things go through your mind when you are about to meet your birth family for the first time. You wonder ‘will they like me?, will I like them?, who do I look like?, what do we have in common?’  These and many other thoughts clutter your brain and keep you awake for many nights as you know the time for finally meeting comes closer.

On June 28, 2000 my family and I landed at the Portland Maine airport, not really knowing what to expect. As we climbed the stairs from the tarmac into the airport terminal, these thoughts came back to me again. Then all of a sudden I heard a familiar voice that I had never heard in person before yell out ‘There he is!’ and all my doubts were gone.

Mark & Rhonda together for first time in 41 years

As I reached the top of the stairs into the airport I met my sister Rhonda for the first time. After a long hug, 41 years overdue, I felt as if I had known her forever.   I still can not explain the friendship that she and I have always had, even though we had never met before this day.

I have always known that I was adopted, and somehow I had always known that I had an older sister somewhere.  Finally meeting her after all these years is indescribable.  She is everything that an older sister should be. She is wild, sassy, energetic and likes to pick on me!  Its great!

Rhonda sent me her thoughts on that meeting in the airport. She is able to put into words all that I cannot.

“I don't know what I could add other than the excitement I felt when we finally met....don't know if you noticed or not....but I was shaking pretty hard while we were hugging....the emotions that I felt at that very moment are indescribable....excitement, along with relief of finally finding you after all these years...wondering who you are, where you are, if you would like me and at that moment that we hugged.....all those questions where answered in just one gesture as we embraced.  l knew we would never lose each other again....we might be separated by miles.....but at that moment I knew we had a bond that will last a lifetime....I guess maybe I never said it...but I am so happy that you are in my life now....and I love you as if we have always been together...I am sure we will become closer as time passes and we learn more about each other.....of course you already know I am a complete nut case....but I'm your sis so you gotta love me”

Thanks to Chosen Children’s Charities who helped bring the two of us together, we were able to meet and spend several days together (with our families) before we went on to actually meet my birthmother.  We had the opportunity to get to know each other, as well as our kids getting to know their cousins.  This was a once in a lifetime opportunity.  I will never be able to meet her for the first time again! We both are looking forward to the next time we can get together.

After a few days we headed off for the next part of my family reunion, where I was to meet my birthmother and many other birth relatives for the first time.  I was both excited and nervous about this, but having Rhonda with me made it quite a bit easier.

First Time Anita gets to hold Mark on her Lap

Well I met Anita, my birth mom and all went great, of course there just didn’t seem to be time enough to get to know each other before the reunion party.  My new Aunt Ginny held a reunion party with many relatives from all over the country.

There are too many people to mention, but I am excited to say that I was also able to meet and talk with my birth dad, Ellery, my sister Sally, my brothers Butch and Terry, my Aunts Ginny, Lorraine, Loretta, Nancy, Margie and uncle Victor.  I was even able to meet my cousin Anne!  Of course everyone brought their families, and all total there were over 50 new relatives there!.

Top - Ellery Mark Christine Laura Roy
2nd -  Laura Terry Betty Sally Ann Rob Bob Butch
3rd -  Lorraine Nancy Leanna
4th -  Mark Becky
5th -  Loretta Anita Rhonda
6th -  Michael Ginny Margie
7th -  Arienn Ali Heather Geoffrey Anita Victor

Me, my brother Terry and b-dad Ellery

Without Chosen Children’s Charities, I might have had to choose between meeting my sister Rhonda, or meeting my birth mom, dad, sister, brothers, cousins and other relatives this year.  I would not have made it through all the other meetings had it not been for my older sister! Thank you for not making me choose which to meet, but rather allowing me to meet all of them at the same time.

Mark J Hoag