Recipes in this Story
Cinnamon Grapes and Peanut Butter Dip
Kids' Mac 'n' Cheese
Cream of Pumpkin Soup
Salmon with Warm Sesame-Soy Salad
Ginger Chiffon Layer Cake
Written and produced by Krissa Rossbund
Photographs by Kathryn Gamble
For a group of Des Moines-area friends, all mothers of young children, there is never a quiet moment in the conversation. Naturally, there are the requisite tales of soccer games and memorable "you won't believe what my child said" stories, but these women share a more intimate bond that triggers a topic close to their hearts. They've all adopted children--from Iowa, Texas, Florida, China, Guatemala, and Russia--in short, the world. On a glorious autumn afternoon, this multicultural group gathers for a luncheon to celebrate these beautiful children and the joy they bring to their families.
"Each of us has been blessed with such positive experiences from the adoptions of our children," says attorney Nicolle Schippers, who with her husband, Greg, adopted daughter Emma from Guatemala in 2007. "We've had many opportunities to celebrate these special additions with our own families, but it's fun to reflect with women who share similar experiences."
The table scheme is imbued with youthful spirit. An apple-green-and-white linen print topper on a tailored gray silk table skirt is the springboard for an exuberant palette. White faux patent-leather placemats edged with shimmering crystal trim catch the light (and the children's eyes).
Pewter is associated with masculine decor, but here the pewter-colored goblets were chosen for their modern edge and paired with gray-and-silver tinted crystal stemware. Glazed octagonal stoneware chargers set off plates that are decorated with painterly green flowers. The dinnerware complements the menu, which includes pumpkin soup, salmon with a soy dressing over salad greens, and scrumptious ginger cake.
The tablescape creates a sophisticated tension between invigorating apple green and sturdy pewter, one that is energized by roses and hydrangeas in bright jolts of contemporary colors--orange, raspberry, and green. Rather than offering the expected nut cups filled with nuts and mints, a lidded glass bowl at each place setting cups a bloom of green hydrangea. Elegant in their slender silhouettes, silver candlesticks nestled among the table decorations add sparkle.
In the corner of the room, a white-painted tray table displays a ginger cake that's irresistible--just ask the kids. Frosted art glass vases filled with roses and hydrangeas echo the flowers on the main table, adding color to this inviting dessert station.
"During the adoption process, you make calls to talk with others who are going through the same thing," says Erin Barfels, human resources manager for an insurance company, who with her husband, Chris, welcomed son Chase to their family in 2007. "This lunch was special because it was more party than process." Although their experiences varied, the mothers agree that any way a child comes to you is a miracle.