Sunday, November 6, 2011

Bulgarian Christmas Party

The Bulgarian Cultural Club of Cincinnati is organizing a children's Christmas party and wanted me to invite the families with Bulgarian adoptees who attended this year's reunion at Hueston Woods or anyone with a Bulgarian child up to age 18.

The party will be on Sunday, December 18 from 5:00 to 8:00 pm in Alexandria, KY.

The hosts are Maggie and Karina Stankova and their mom Acia who were at the summer reunion. The details are still in the works, but Acia would like to know who's interested in coming by December 1. The event may be a potluck or a small fee might be collected to pay for food and drinks.

Please contact me at viviane8 @ if you would like more information.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

2012 Reunion Location

After checking into a few different options, Yvonne and I have decided to give Winton Woods Park in Cincinnati a try for our 2012 reunion. It’s a very nice location and you can read all about it here:
We have reserved cabins 3H (Yvonne) and 4H (Viviane) and hope that we can fill up all deluxe cabins with reunion attendees. We would like to use this nice circular area as our group space for activities. Please refer to this map when making your reservations and try to be as close as possible to cabins 3H and 4H, regardless of whether you book a cabin, RV site, or tent site:
The lodging options at the park include:
· Eight large deluxe cabins that sleep up to six (or more due to the large loft, but don't tell park staff). Each cabin features a kitchen, bathroom, heat, air-conditioning, linens, dishes, cookware, a television, wood deck, picnic table and fire ring. $125/night for deluxe cabins ($750/week) + taxes.
· 25 RV back-in sites, all with full hookup (water, 50 amp electric, sewer), picnic table and fire ring. The back-in sites have a gravel pad. $35/night for full hookups
· 12 RV pull-through sites, all with full hookup (water, 50 amp electric, sewer), concrete patio, picnic table and fire ring. the pull-through sites have a concrete pad. $45/night for pull-through sites
· 10 basic cabins with electric and AC/Heat; however, these do not have plumping or running water. $50/night + taxes.
· 68 sites with 30-amp hookups. $25/night for 30amp electric sites.
**The cabin prices do not include tax.
Winton Woods Offers:
· The campground features a large office and store with an indoor snack bar.
· Group activity shelter,
· Playground,
· Splash park
· larger visitor parking
· nature center
· two new dump stations
· Wi-Fi access.
Please note: A Motor Vehicle Permit is required to enter the park $10.00 annual or $3.00 daily.
Winton Woods Campground Phone Number: (513) 851-2267
Check-in/Check-out times:
2:00pm/12:00pm for campsites, 3:00pm/11:00am for cabins
Reservations are accepted up to one year in advance must be paid for in full when they are placed. Visa and Mastercard are accepted. Reservations are refundable 30 days or more in advance of check-in. A campground credit (good for one year) is also available. For cancellations from 29 days to 48 hours, refunds are not available, but a campground credit will be issued. For cancellations of less than 48 hours from check-in, there is no refund or credit given.
***Information on nearby hotels will be provided at a later time as they will not book up as quickly as these cabins.

Hotels near Winton Woods Park

For those wishing to stay at a hotel for the reunion weekend, there are several options available within 4 miles of the park (sorry this is in a bad format, I am a bit rushed, but wanted to get the info out to you all):

Best Western Cincinnati West Inn & Suites

11967 Chase Plaza Drive

Forest Park, OH 45240

(513) 825-9600

SpringHill Suites Cincinnati North/Forest Park

12001 Chase Plaza Drive

Cincinnati, OH 45240

(513) 825-9035

Hampton Inn Cincinnati Northwest/Fairfield

430 Kolb Drive

Fairfield, OH 45014

(513) 942-3440

Comfort Suites

1234 Omniplex Drive

Cincinnati, OH 45240

(513) 551-5028

Atrium Hotel & Conference Center

30 Tri County Parkway

Cincinnati, OH 45246-3208

(513) 771-7171

Super 8 Cincinnati OH

left at bp gas station

330 Glensprings Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45246

(877) 519-7378

Howard Johnson Inn - Cincinnati

400 Glensprings Drive

Cincinnati, OH 45246

(513) 825-3129

La Quinta Inn Cincinnati North

12150 Springfield Pike

Springdale, OH 45246

(513) 671-2300

Monday, October 17, 2011

2012 Reunion - Save The Date

After gathering responses from about two dozen families regarding the weekend on which to hold next year's reunion, Yvonne and I have decided that June 22-24 would be the best option. Several families preferred this weekend and many others said they'd be flexible to make it work. Choosing this date allows us to not overlap with Father's Day and Independence Day traditions and will hopefully lead to a great turn-out in attendance. So, save the date!

Stay tuned for more details on the new location which will follow soon.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Reunion 2012 - We're On It!

Well, it's only October and Yvonne and I are already discussing specs for the 2012 reunion. Last year we were a little late getting our act together, so several families couldn't attend because their social calendars were already filled up for the summer. In an attempt to avoid this issue and get onto everyone's summer schedules early, we are going to try to decide on a reunion weekend as soon as possible.

July and August are usually miserably hot and humid here in the greater Cincinnati area, so we are proposing to move the event into mid or late June which would at least increase our chances for some more bearable outdoor conditions.

If you could leave a comment here or email me at viviane8 @ and tell me which of these weekends you'd prefer, we would appreciate it. This is not a commitment to attend, but rather an informal poll to allow us to peg down dates, so that everyone will have plenty of notice this time around.

June 15-17
June 22-24
June 29 - July 1

Thanks, everyone, and happy autumn.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Private Blog

I have created a Private Blog to display pictures and videos of our event.  My intention with this is to preserve the privacy of our attendees.  I have posted a couple of pictures to show the world the event did occur; however, I have avoided close ups.  Please send me an e-mail if you have not received an invitation and you were an attendee or had planned to attend but couldn't due to travel, costs or another reason.

We are working on next years event and intend to begin posting soon, so check back from time to time!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thank you! Thank You! Thank You!!

Thank you to Tree of Life Adoption Center and Hopscotch Adoption Agency for sponsoring our  Reunion Breakfasts!

Thank you to the  Dolbier Family for sponsoring one of our host sites for the weekend!!

Thank you to the Saltgaver Family for sponsoring the craft activities!

Thank you to the 74 attendees, 26 of which were Bulgarian adoptees!

Thank you to all of you parents, soon to be parents, one soon to be grandma (Dede) and one soon to be Aunt (Delores) for driving up to 10-11 hours or even flying in for the weekend!

Thank you for traveling from: Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and California!

Thank you to our two "Expectant" Mommies that attended!!

Thank you to those of you who could only join us for one day or even just a few hours, but made so much effort to come out!!

Thank you to those of you who donated potluck items on Saturday!  Dinner was wonderful!

Thank you to the nice campers across the way who let us use their gas grill!!  I am sure our grill team appreciated it!

Thank you to my mom that helped me to prepare each family's bag, the s'mores, pack the car and make the nacho meat.  Thanks mom!

Thank you to all of the little ones who played hard, made friends, got dirty, made crafts, and made the whole weekend worth it by putting so much into their good choices and behaviors!

Thank you to all of those people out there who volunteered to help with meals, crafts, scavenger hunts, or to make trips get ice and wood (thanks Steven and Josh)!

Thanks to our new Bulgarian Friends Nikolai, Acia, Anna G., Maria, Dora and Roumen!  Thank you for bringing your beautiful children out, teaching us about the rich history of Bulgaria, singing Bulgarian songs, teaching us to dance the Horo and bringing such wonderful Bulgarian dishes to our potluck!

Thank you Anna R. for sharing your adoption story and your trip back to Bulgaria as an adult!

Thank you to those of you that were able to stay until the final moments to help me clean up our main site and even my camp site... the grocery mobile was no easy feat to organize... and for those of you still wondering... yes, I was able to fit it all in... even my kids' bikes! :)

But my biggest thank you goes to my friend Viviane, who was my partner in planning this event from the very beginning, but who was fortunately/unfortunately unable to share in our weekend and joy because she was bringing her baby boy Rex home today from Armenia!!  Thank you Viviane for so many hours of hard work, sending hundreds of e-mails, planning every detail and putting your heart into this event!!  I can't wait for next year's to celebrate your Armenian son and your Bulgarian daughter who will also soon be home!!

Thank you to everyone for everything...  I am so grateful to have met you all in person, built lasting friendships from the experience of walking the same road.  Thank you for sharing my love for my daughter's birth country and your adoption stories with me!!

Can't wait to see you again next year!!!!!!!

Hugs to you all!!


P.S. If I have forgotten a thank you, I didn't mean to... I think you are all wonderful and I am so thankful for everything and all the efforts that were put in to have a successful event (especially during a 100 degree heat wave)!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Family Pictures!

IF you did not send me a family picture... please bring one (that will not be returned) to the picnic/reunion! It is a special project.... and you don't want your littles to feel bad that they don't have a picture.... PLEASE do this... PLEASE put the pic in your car so you don't forget it.  E-mail me that you will bring it with you.



Monday, July 18, 2011

Potluck Dinner Sign-Up

Yvonne and I are excited about our potluck dinner as a group on Saturday evening. As of the current headcount, we will have 41 children and 30 adults in attendance. So far, families have committed to bringing the following dishes:

Bulgarian Dishes
Banitsa - Stefanov Family
Tarator - Stefanov Family
Musaca-Kotzeva Family
Banitsa-Kotzeva Family

Hummus with Pitas & Pita Chips - Villemure Family
Chips - Plance-Boman Family
Veggies/Dip - Richards Family
Cheeses - Larsen Family

Hamburgers/buns (20-25)- Dolbier Family
Hamburgers/buns (20-25)- Jarboe family
Hotdogs/Buns (40)-Villemure family
Condiments for Hotdogs - Larsen Family

Shopska Salad - Parks Family
Pasta Salad - Balfour Family
Potato Salad (gluten, egg, dairy free) - Rieben Family
Romaine & Strawberry Salad with Vinaigrette - Rieben Family
Broccoli Salad- Brooks Family
Corn Salad- Brooks Family
Chicken Salad with Almonds and Fruit- Montes Family
Baked Beans - Villemure Family
Watermelon- Richard Family
Watermelon - Rieben Family

Cupcakes - Balfour Family
Cookies - Larsen Family
Brownies - McCulle Family
Cake- McCulle Family
Bulgarian Flag cake - Plance-Boman Family
Cookies - Richard Family

Bottled Water/Soda/Caprisuns-Cox Family
Soda/Lemonade/Apple Juice - Sallot Family

Please send us an email (viviane8 or yvonne.villemure @ or leave a comment here on this blog to let us know what you intend to contribute to the meal. We will add your dish to the list as soon as we hear from you so that other families can know how our potluck dinner is shaping up.

Schedule of Events 2011

FRIDAY 7/22/2011

3:00 pm and after: Arrive/set up/settle in/explore the park (please provide your own dinner)

6:00 pm: Introductions, meet & greet, and icebreaker activities for the kids

1) Musical trees
2) Waterballoon toss
3) Three-legged race
4) Feel the Difference challenge
5) Симеон казва -Simon Says
6) Decorate your reunion t-shirt

7:30 pm: Campfire, smores (provided), Bulgarian and other stories and songs

SATURDAY 7/23/2011

8:00-10:00 am: Breakfast at the group camp site (provided)

10:00-10:45 am:
1) Scavenger Hunt - kids of all ages
2) Balloons & Bubbles - kids not wanting to do the scavenger hunt

10:50 – 11:30 am:
1) Adoption Q&A – adoptive parents and prospective parents only
2) Adoption Discussion/Trust Exercise – preteen/teen adoptees only
3) Beading Crafts – kids of all ages

11:35 – 12:00 pm: Bulgarian Song Lesson – all ages

12:00-1:00 pm: Lunch (please provide your own lunch)

1:00-4:00 pm: individual family time to explore the park, for little ones to nap, etc.

4:00 – 5:00 pm:
1) Minute to Win It – kids ages 8 and up
2) Interactive Story Time – kids ages 5-7
3) Interactive Story Time – kids ages 0-4

4:30-5:00 pm: Set up the reunion potluck dinner

5:00-6:00 pm: Dinner

6:15-6:50 pm: Learn to write Cyrillic letters

6:55 -7:30 pm: Learn to dance the Horo

7:30 pm: Campfire, marshmellows (provided), Bulgarian and other stories and songs

SUNDAY 7/24/2011

8:00-10:00 am: Breakfast at the group campsite (provided)

10:00-11:00 am: Thanks and farewells and clean-up

12:00 noon: Checkout

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Items your family won't want to leave home without.....

items you won't want to leave home without!

Lawn or bag chairs!!

1. Sunscreen
2. Bug Spray
3. Beach Towels
4. Pot Luck Item for Saturday's Dinner
5. Cups/Plates/Utensils- Think green try reusable plastic picnic ware!
6. Aloe (if you sunburn)
7. Bandaids/other First Aid items or OTC items- (I will have a basic first aid kit if needed.)
8. Cooler
9. Flashlight
10. Sunglasses and/or baseball caps
11. Any prescription meds... not sure if the pharmacy in town can help if you forget them.
12. Meals for Friday, and Saturday for lunch.
13. Yard Guard (great to spray around the area of your tent before putting it up.)
14. Tarp and rain gear (just in case).
15. Water shoes or flip flops for the showers.
16. Can opener and/or bottle opener.
17. Water- there will be l ice water available in a 5 gallon picnic jugs. (you will need cups)
18. Floaties, life jackets, etc for the lake
20. __________________________

Please provide more ideas for this list...

What To Do At Hueston Woods

If you don’t want to rest during the downtime from the reunion, Hueston Woods State Park offers many wonderful activities to enjoy as a family:

1) Golfing: The park has an 18 hole, par 72 course and a driving range. For more information, visit:

2) Hiking/Biking: Enjoy 12 shorter hiking trails of easy or moderate difficulty as well as the Bridle Trail (18 miles) and the Mountain Bike Trail (12 miles). Bikes can be rented at the park. For details, please call 513-523-1316 or 513-726-4100.

3) Swimming: Soak up some sun and make a splash at the 1500 foot swimming beach on Acton Lake which has a bath house and concession stand.

4) Boating: Boat rentals, launch ramps, public docks and fuel are available to explore the 625 acres of Acton Lake. (Note: Some are wheelchair accessible.)

5) Fishing: A valid Ohio fishing license is required to fish for largemouth bass, crappie, channel catfish, saugeye, bluegill, etc. on Acton Lake.

6) Disc Golfing: Bring your own equipment to use at the 36 hole course at no cost.

7) Nature Center: Enjoy bird and flower walks, slide talks, educational/hands-on displays and fossil hunts. Open 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.

8) Bird-Watching: Look for the park's 150 species.

9) Paintballing: Three full paintball fields and a target range await your visit. Group reservations are available. Open 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. Bring your own equipment, or you can rent it there. Call 513-664-3500 or e-mail:

10) Horseback Riding: 18 miles of bridle trails are available for those who can bring their own horse.

11) Mini Golfing: Located near the marina, you can enjoy this activity from 7:00 am until 8:00 pm for $3.00 per person.

15) Archery: An outdoor range operated by the park is open to the public, but you must bring your own equipment.

16) Fossil Collecting: Hueston Woods has an abundance of Ordovician fossils and allows collection for personal use at two areas. For more information, visit this site:

17) Volleyball court, basketball court, horseshoe pits, playground… boredom is not an option!

** If interested, Saturday night there is a movie showing at the campground which is put on by the park and has concessions available.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Current Campsite Reservations

Current Campsite Reservations

Sites C-12 thru C-16 I have not received any communication so if you are a family that has reserved one of these sites PLEASE respond ASAP.  I am unsure if these are booked with our reunion/picnic in mind...  I guess we shall see... if not hope they like a festive and fun atmosphere!!! 

**Note:  C-28 sits in-between C-27 and C-29 and is not interior to those sites. (verified with the park)

Movie Night:  For those interested there is an open air movie on Saturday night at sundown.  I will know a more exact time as the date approaches....for now I was told at dusk/sundown.  Movie title: tba.
Parking for those folks in the lodge, hotel or cabins: We are allowed 2 vehicles per campsite; therefore, I am asking campers to please allow a lodge guest to use your second parking site (if not being used).  There is also a parking lot, you can call and we will see about having a volunteer runner to come and pick you up.

Firewood-$5 a bundle at the park; girl said expect to use 2 bundles per night. Please don't transport firewood due to Emerald Ash Borer.

Ice- $2-$4/bag.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Register by July 11, 2011!!!!!!!

Everyone, please return registration forms to Yvonne by 07/11/11.  We have to do this, for the t-shirt order to be turned in and the shirts to arrive in time!

We need headcounts for food, activities, supplies, prizes and so on.

Please see our potluck sign-up post if you're wondering what people have already committed to bringing for our shared dinner:

Only 13  days to go until the reunion!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Reunion Sponsors Wanted

If you think your agency would be interested, please share this post with them.

The 2011 Celebrating Bulgaria Adoptive Families Reunion is looking for Placing Agency Sponsors for the following group events/needs:

Saturday Family Breakfast: sponsorship $150 (SPONSOR FOUND)
Sunday Family Breakfast: sponsorship $150 (SPONSOR FOUND)
Children's Scavenger Hunt: sponsorship $100
Children's Arts and Crafts: sponsorship $150
Group Camp Site: sponsorship $60
Group Water & Ice: sponsorship $100
Firewood for Two Campfires: sponsorship $100
Smores Galore: sponsorship $100

Please remember that this reunion will be attended by families who have worked or are working with many different agencies. We want to foster connections and unity between all attendees and not create divisions along agency lines. Therefore, we ask that any given agency sponsor no more than one event/need. Your sponsorship (company name, logo and web address/contact) will be noted via a sign at the appropriate time during the reunion weekend and all agency sponsors will be thanked by name at the close of the reunion on Sunday. Currently, 79 people, including 25 Bulgarian adoptees, are committed to being a part of this event a Hueston Woods State Park, College Corner, OH from July 22-24.

If interested or for more information, please contact Viviane Martini @ viviane8 @

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Current Picnic Status and fun statistics this morning... 5/24/2011

These families have CONFIRMED with me that their reservations are made... many more families have expressed interest; however, I am waiting for their confirmations.

Total families CONFIRMED=15 (2 families confirmed but not sure camping or lodge)

Camping Families-6

Cabin Families-1

Lodge Families-5

Families at nearby hotels-1

(FYI "other hotels" may be a good option if there is a possiblity you have Bulgaria first or second/pick up trips looming in the near future or your little one has only just come home and may not be up to the outing.  The lodge has a more restrictive cancellation policy.)


Total Bulgarian adoptees= 19

Total Single Adoptive Parents= 5

Total Large Families 4+ (bio and adopted) kids= 3

Total Families researching or waiting to adopt child(ren) from Bulgaria= 2

Reposting--Invitation to the 2011: Bulgarian Adoptees Picnic/Reunion

WHO:   Families who have adopted, are committed to adopt, waiting to adopt, or considering to adopt a Bulgarian orphan. If you need to travel by "samuleta" (airplane), PLEASE let me know. 

WHEN:    July 22-24, 2011

WHERE:   Hueston Woods State Park, a very picturesque location just northeast of Cincinnati, OH. 

  • Bulgarian Cultural Activities
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Water Activities
  • Hiking
  • Bonfires
  • Because we have adopted, are considering adoption, or are waiting to adopt an orphan from Bulgaria.
  •  Because we will all have adoption experiences to share.  
  • Because it will be wonderful to meet and share our stories
  • Because it will let our little Bulgarians/Americans hang out and understand that they are not alone in their journey and assimilation into American culture.
  • Because we plan to incorporate Bulgarian culture to keep our children's culture alive.
  • Because the siblings of our Bulgarian children need to hang out and share their own stories about their Bulgarian brother(s)/sister(s).
  • Because it is a great excuse to get away and to just have a... great time!
Please e-mail your family's response and include the following information: CLICK HERE

         1. Interest: YES, NO or not this year but possibly in the future. 

         2. Address and Phone #.

         3. Accommodation Type: lodge, cabin, camping or other.

        4. Overnight guest?  Lodge and Camping require 2 night stay.

         5. Number of adults and children, include name, gender and ages for children.

         6. Do you have any ideas to share?  

Thank you!

Reunion Committee

Friday, May 20, 2011

Don't know about you guys....

...I am counting down to our reunion!! 2 months and 3 days left... and my crew cannot wait! 

We need to get a firm headcount, if you have responded to other posts or to my e-mail that you have reserved... then you are in the count.  IF you have not responded that you have reserved a campsite then I do not have you counted in.  Please respond to this post or to my e-mail address: to let me know your status.

We are asking for a small fee to help cover the expense of the campsite that will be dedicated to the picnic and activities, a t-shirt, the campfire snacks, 2.5 days of activities, and 2 days of breakfast food.  I think $10 per child under 12 and $15 per person 12 and over should cover the costs.  If the fee is such that it prevents your family from participating please send me an e-mail and let me know... we can figure something out.  I just don't want any family to feel they cannot participate!

So, please get your reservations in... especially for campsites before they are booked and you can't be close to the rest of the families!!


Yvonne and Viviane

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Getting Closer

Time is getting closer and we are now less than three months away from the reunion. Yvonne and I have been busy, but wanted to share with you our most recent news regarding our gathering.

First of all, we have 40 people committed to attending the reunion at this point. Eleven of them are Bulgarian kiddos! If you intend to come and we don’t have you in our head count yet, please let us know. As plans get more specific, it’s important for us to have an accurate number of attendees.

Secondly, we have been crunching the numbers and trying to figure out how to pay for the weekend’s events and have decided that we need to charge a small fee. It will be $10 per person under 12 years old and $15 per person over 12 years old. This fee will pay for two group breakfasts at the shared camp site, all the activities and prizes for the children as well as a reunion t-shirt for each attendee. Please contact Yvonne via email to find out the best way to pay this fee and to let her know of the shirt sizes you need.

We’ll keep you posted as more plans shape up.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and waiting moms out there! You are awesome!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Reservations Update

Just like Yvonne, I want to encourage everyone to make reservations for the reunion. It would help us greatly in the planning to know which families are committed to attending and to begin getting a head count. For anyone not interested in camping, I called some lodging options this morning and got the following information:

Hueston Woods Lodge & Family Cabins 5201 Lodge Road, College Corner, Ohio 45003 513.664.3500 Fax: 513.523.1522 (Front Desk)

They have 7 double rooms, 4 king rooms and 5 family cabins left to be booked directly on the park property. Starting at $139.

Comfort Inn 5056 College Corner Pike, Oxford, OH (513) 524-0114

They have 24 rooms left starting at $159.‎

Best Western Sycamore Inn 6 E Sycamore, Oxford, OH (513) 523-0000

They have 50 rooms open starting at $122.

Baymont Inn & Suites 5190 College Corner Pike, Oxford, OH (513) 523-2722

They have 60 rooms left starting at $90.

Holiday Inn Hotel Oxford 75 South Main St, Oxford, OH (513) 524-2002

They have 21 suites left starting at $164.95.

Butler Inn Oxford 5235 College Corner Pike, Oxford, OH (513) 523-6306 ‎

I called and had a strange experience that makes me wonder if this number has been reassigned and the hotel is out of business. I may have woken up some poor MU student really early. Try to book at your own peril ;).

Oxford Inn 5399 College Corner Road, Oxford, OH (513) 523-1880 ‎

I called this place and got a generic message on an answering machine. No indication that this is a hotel, so you’re on your own with this one.

Marcum Conference Center & Miami Inn 351 North Fisher Drive, Oxford, OH (513) 529-6911 ‎

This seems to be a historic property located on a corner of the beautiful Miami University campus. They have rooms starting at $89 according to the online reservations system. As I was making my calls early, I didn’t talk to a person, but you can do so here: 513-529-2104 or 513-529-6911.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Please place a Comment if you have reserved a room in the Lodge, another local Hotel or a Hueston Woods Cabin.  If there are great deals please also put that in your comments section... I know families are looking!  We will make a few phone calls and see what we can come up with as well.

Lodge Link: