I know my pale, white skin proves that I was born nowhere near a beach. I burn to the color of lobster-red after only thirty minutes in the hot sun, but I am certain that I was made for the outdoors. And I’m pretty sure I was made especially for the beach.

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I love Florida.

IMG_4587 (1)Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida

I love warm sunshine, palm trees, and the sound of the waves crashing.

Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida IMG_4662Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida

I love the sand on everything.

Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, FloridaFamily vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, FloridaFamily vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida

I love to swim in the pool or nap on a beach chair.

Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida

And I want my children to love it as well. So we took the whole family to Naples, Florida for spring break.

Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, FloridaFamily vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida

I recently read how children remember family vacations more than most other memories throughout their childhood. Removing children from their normal structure, routine, and environment triggers something in them that makes vacation experiences stand out. This has proven to be true in my life.

Growing up, my family was fortunate enough to take trips and vacations yearly. About every other year, we found ourselves visiting my grandparents’ condo in Florida. Because of this, Naples is familiar to me.

Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida

The smell of the thick, salty air hits you the moment you walk off the airplane. Between all the seafood and the fresh fruit, you rarely stop eating. Swimming and relaxing have always made their way to the top of my to-do list while I’m here.

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Some of my best memories are associated with my grandparents’ condo on the gulf. I grew up loving vacations to Florida, and I desperately want my children to love these vacations too.

Thankfully, they seem to.

Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, FloridaFamily vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, FloridaFamily vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, FloridaFamily vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida

This is our whole crew’s second year here. All of my kids are one year older, and better able to appreciate our family trip.

Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida

Do I think Louis will remember every detail about feeding the catfish at the restaurant after supper or looking for shells on the beach? No.

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Will Edward and Nasko remember each animal we spotted at the zoo? Doubtful.

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But I pray each of my children will grow to love and appreciate a place that has captured my heart for years. I hope they will remember the love they felt as Chance and I walked away from responsibilities for a week, and focused on experiences and memories.

So we took the whole family to Naples, Florida for sp

I want for my kids to someday see the beach as a place to stand in awe of God’s vastness.

Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida

I want them to relax and feel peace as they smell the salty air.

So we took the whole family to Naples, Florida for sp

Then, perhaps someday, they will bring their own babies to Florida for an exhausting – but oh so worth it – week in the sun.

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Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida

Family vacation with special needs, adopted boys to Naples, Florida

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