Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families, Inc. (HCAF) serves as a post-adoption resource and advocate for children, adults, and families with diverse heritages.
Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families, Inc. was incorporated as a 501 C(3) non-profit, tax exempt organization in 1995. HCAF serves as a post adoption resource and advocate for families who have adopted children from other countries or within the United States. The organization accomplishes this by facilitating annual heritage camps that provide culturally relevant experiences and adoption support for both the adopted children and their families. The first camp, Korean Heritage Camp, was held in 1992 with 200 participants. That camp alone has grown to over 600 participants in 28 years. Based on the needs and wishes of other adoptive families in Colorado and around the nation, HCAF has now expanded to offer 9 heritage camps providing family experiences for the following populations:
--Cambodian: 2003 - now closed due to lack of adoptions from Cambodian to the U.S. for over 10 years.
--Chinese II (a second camp): 2004
--Domestic Adoption Camp: 2011
--Filipino/Indonesian/Pacific Islands (FIPI): 2000; became part of Southeast Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Camp in 2017
--Latin American: 1998
--Russian/Eastern European/Central Asian: 2000
--Southeast Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Camp: 2017
--Vietnamese: 1999; became part of Southeast Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Camp in 2017
HCAF is the only organization in Colorado offering these heritage camp experiences, and the only one in the nation that offers 9 separate camps for adoptive families.
The largest camps are Chinese, Indian/Nepalese, Korean, African/Caribbean, and Latin American, ranging in size from 400 to 900 participants. Chinese II, Domestic, Russian/Eastern European/Central Asian, and Southeast Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage Camps range in size from 200 to 450 participants. These family camps are residential and held at various sites in the Colorado Rockies and along the Front Range.
"Thirteen years ago today we saw the sweet faces of our children for the first time. We took the classes. Passed the home study. Bought the cribs. Nothing could have prepared us for amazing, emotional, and daunting task that was before us. We wouldn't change a thing - well maybe one thing. We would have found Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families earlier. We underestimated the twins' need to be around people who look like them. We underestimated our need to learn from other adoptive parents. Now, we plan our summer around camp."
"I am not certain my words can capture the feeling the camp gave me: a sense of belonging even though I was a first time attendee. Raising adopted kids is not always easy and the challenges are not always tangible to those around us, be it extended family, friends, schools, neighbors, etc. At camp, there is a complete understanding of the trials as well as the joys that create the families we've chosen to become. This was the best life experience my family has ever had!"
"Camp is the one place where our child feels entirely comfortable about being adopted as well as Vietnamese. We live in an area with low ethnic diversity, and being able to see other kids and counselors that are so comfortable themselves has been great, especially as middle schoolers are trying to figure out how much they want to conform or be different. This is the one family activity she looks forward to and talks about all year long."
"It means facing the issues of adoption square on for a weekend; having my family with families that look like ours. creating an opening for conversation with my kids. hearing what other families are doing. obtaining resources and connections. Overall, a wonderful experience!"