Our First Samoan Luau


Our first Samoan Luau was a great success! I am so thankful for the many people who helped bring it together, including MLJ staff and volunteers. I am especially thankful for our local Samoan friends who participated in the festivities. It means so much to the children to see adults who look like them in their community, and I bet many adopting parents wanted to ask cultural questions as well.

There were crafts for the children, a backdrop to pose family photos, face (or arm) painting, and an array of traditional dishes to sample. For recipe cards of our various dishes click here. I am excited to try some of these dishes that were new to me for my family. Rugby Indiana brought facts about rugby in Samoa, Samoan rugby players, and lots of fun drills and games that kept all of the children running and laughing for hours. The evening concluded with fire dancing by Molly Wyldfyre that enthralled children and adults.

I loved seeing children from five different countries all sharing fun and the Samoan culture together. Perhaps the highlight though was watching the reunions of the children from Samoa. Four of the children adopted from Samoa were in attendance with their families. It is wonderful to see how well they are all adjusting despite a wide variance in ages. There were many smiles and hugs. Two more Samoan children will be traveling with their new parents to the United States in just a few weeks. We cannot wait to see how many more Samoan children will join our Samoan Luau next year!

To see more photos from the Luau, click here.

Brooke Randolph, LMHC, is a parent, therapist, and founding team member of MLJ Adoptions, Inc. with more than 20 years of experience working with children and families. She is the mental health expert contributor at DietsInReview.com, a national diet and fitness column; a private practice counselor in Indianapolis, Indiana; and the Vice President of PR, Outreach, and Communications at KidsFirst. She is a single adoptive mother who has authored adoption education materials and presented at numerous conferences and workshops throughout North America. Brooke is primarily motivated to encourage, equip, and empower parents and individuals to make changes that strengthen their lives, their careers, and their families.