Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More details coming soon!!! Promise!!!

Hi friends!  We are wrapping up the details for hotels and whatnot!  We hope to have all this information to you soon!  Be on the lookout! 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Hi Friends,
I just wanted to see if anyone had questions about TAFRU?!

The committee is working to solidify information and once we have that--rest assured that you will have it as well!!!

We can't wait to see everyone June 22-24!  It's going to be a blast!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

We Now Have Dates for TAFRU 2012

TAFRU 2012 - D.C. will be held June 22nd - 24th

Mark your calendars and begin making plans for a trip to D.C. next summer!!! 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

TAFRU 2012 - D.C.

A poll was posted on our Toukoul Adoptive Families Facebook group.  We had a total of 70 votes and with only 1 vote separating the top two, D.C. was the winner.

Now it's time to choose a date for TAFRU 2012.  Because Facebook polls only allow one choice and because families typically have more than one date that will work for them, I have created a poll here on the blog which will allow everyone to choose multiple dates.  The poll is located on the right hand side of the blog page.  Choose the date(s) that are best for your family and cast your vote(s). 

The poll will close on August 17th, so let the voting begin.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Registration Time

Plans for TAFRU 2011 - Chicago are mostly made and here is what we have planned.

 - Friday night Meet-n-Greet at Gino's East
 - Saturday morning - Music, dance, writing in Amharic and games with the Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC)
 - Saturday lunch @ Ethiopian Diamond
 - Saturday dinner - still working on the details
 - Sunday - Gathering at Millennium Park (weather permitting)

Because the plans are mostly made and there are only 9 weeks left to TAFRU, it's time to get registration started. 

The registration fees include dinner Friday night, lunch and dinner Saturday, and money to ECAC for their services to our group Saturday morning. 

Unfortunately, I'm having a little trouble getting the registration form link to work so I'm asking those who plan to attend TAFRU to please send me an email asking for the registration form and I'll email the form to you.  My email address is

Also, I want to let everyone know that we have a few hotel rooms left.  Reservations must be made by June 23rd to get the reduced room rate of $89 per night and the reduced parking rate of $12 per night.  Please see the February 15th post here for more detail.

As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask. 

Hope to see many of you at TAFRU!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

An Exciting Opportunity

The Ethiopian Community Association of Chicago (ECAC) has offered to provide assistance in planning some fun events for our children during TAFRU this year.

Before we can move forward in making more definite arrangements with ECAC, the planning comittee needs to get a more accurate count of how many children will be participating in TAFRU and their ages.

If you are part of the Toukoul Adoptive Families Facebook page, a note was already sent out requesting this information and if you responded via FB, please do not respond here as well.  However, for those who are not part of the Facebook group, could you please leave a comment here letting us know if you plan to attend TAFRU and the ages of your children.  ECAC has requested this information to help us plan activities for the kids and what a great opportunity for our kids.

Thank you so much for your assistance.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Hotel Reservations and More TAFRU Information

Families have started making their hotel reservations for TAFRU and I'm excited to see how things are coming together.

Every two weeks I receive a reservations list from the Marriott.  It was discovered this week that one family who made their reservations were not included on the list and I wouldn't have known of the discrepancy if the family had not informed me that their reservations had been made.  This leaves me a bit concerned that other families have reserved rooms that are not showing up on our group list which means they are probably not getting the group rate either.  Therefore, I'm asking families to either leave a post on the Facebook TAFRU events page or email me - when hotel reservations have been made.  I don't need a lot of detail, just a quick note telling me you made reservations and how many rooms you reserved.  Also, if any family reserves a suite at the Marriott Suites, please let me know that as well.

As I'm sure all of you know, putting together an event like this costs money.  The planning committee is trying to keep costs as low as possible.  After all, we don't want our own families to have to spend more than is absolutely necessary.  Once we have finalized all the plans for the reunion, we will make registration forms available.  We do know that the fees will include the cost for the Meet-n-Greet Friday night, which will include dinner; dinner Saturday night; lunch Sunday; and any group outing on Saturday.  We hope to have all the plans finalized, fees tallied and registration forms available within the next 6 weeks and will post the information here when available.

If anyone has any questions, please do not hesitate to leave a comment here, post something on the Toukoul Families FB page or email me.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Couple Pieces of Info

To make reservations at the Marriott, you can also click on this link - Marriott - and make your reservations on-line.  Of course you can also call the phone numbers listed on the February 15th post.  All other details can be found on the February 15th post as well.

Also, I need to make a correction to yesterday's post.  Cancellations do not need to be made by June 23rd.  You have until 6:00 p.m. the day of your arrival to cancel without penalty.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hotel is Ready for Reservations

We finally have everything at the hotel set up and ready for reservations.  Here are the details.

Chicago Marriott O'Hare
8535 West Higgins Road
Chicago, IL

We currently have a block of 15 rooms set up for TAFRU.  The rate is $89 per night and $12 per night parking fees.   

Reservations should be made directly with Marriott reservations by calling:

1-800-228-9290 or 773-693-4444

When making your reservation, tell the you are part of the TAFRU group.

Reservations must be guaranteed with a major credit card, but no charges to the card will be made until your stay.  You will have until 5:00 p.m., June 23, 2011 to make your reservation and any cancellations must also be completed by 5:00 p.m., June 23, 2011.  There will be no charges for cancellations.

Any rooms remaining in the block will be released for general sale at the regular room rate.  We are encouraging families who plan to attend TAFRU to make their reservations as soon as possible.  Not only will you be assured room availability, but it will also assist us in determining if additional rooms need to be added to the block.

The rooms are being made available for the evenings of July 15 and 16.  However, any family who wishes to extended their stay in Chicago can reserve their room for 3 days prior or 3 days after the event for the negotiated rate of $89 per night and $12 per night parking fee.  The additional nights are based upon availability, so we again encourage you to make your reservations in advance if you plan to extend your stay.

For those families requiring or wanting more space, you can contact the following hotel:

Chicago Marriott Suites O'Hare
6155 North River Road
Rosemont, Illinois

Unfortunately, due to the booking requirements of the Marriott Suites, we were unable to obtain a group rate.  If, however, we have at least 10 families confirm their stay at the Marriott Suites, we can approach the hotel and request a lower group rate.  Therefore, if you do book a room at the Marriott Suites, please let one of the planning committee members know so we can keep an eye on the number of reservations made.  We again ask that you make your reservations as soon as possible as this is strictly based on availability.

Also, there is free shuttle service between the Chicago Marriott O'Hare and the Chicago Marriott Suites O'Hare, so transportation between the two hotels will not be a problem. 

For those traveling to TAFRU by air, the Marriott will provide free shuttle service from and to O'Hare International Airport.

Another note about the hotel location - There is an El station just across the parking lot from the Chicago Marriott O'Hare.  It is about a 30 minute ride into downtown Chicago and tickets can be purchased at the station.  So for those wanting to extend their stay in Chicago to take in the sights, you will not need a vehicle and we would recommend that you take advantage of the wonderful public transportation system in Chicago during your stay.

If anyone has any questions, please leave a comment and one of the committee members will respond asap.

We are working on some exciting things for TAFRU this year and hope to meet many of you this summer.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Chicago Marriott O'Hare

I know I haven't been passing along a lot of information to the group lately, but wanted to let you know that although it's been quiet, there is work being done behind-the-scenes.  Fortunately, we are making progress and starting to put some things in place so I wanted to give you a little update on what's happening.

I have been working with the Chicago Marriott O'Hare since October and am happy to say they have given us a pretty good rate of $89 per night.  For those who live or have stayed in Chicago, you  know that parking can be pretty expensive as well.  For a matter-of-fact, I know of no hotel in the Chicago area that doesn't charge parking fees which can really add up.  The Marriott is no different, however, they have agreed to reduce their self-park fees from $24 per night to $12 per night for our group.  Again, a pretty good rate.

Also, the Marriott will be offering this rate to TAFRU families for up to 3 days prior and 3 day after TAFRU for any family who would like to extend their stay in Chicago.

Another nice feature of this hotel is location. 

For those flying into O'Hare to attend TAFRU, the hotel offers complimentary shuttle service from and back to the airport. 

For larger families who plan to attend TAFRU but need more room, there is a Chicago Marriott Suites O'Hare about 2 miles down the road.  Complimentary shuttle service is offered between to the two hotels.  Unfortunately, the Marriott Suites has a requirement that we were unable to fulfill at this time.  However, if there are families that would like to book a room at the Marriott Suites, please let me know as soon as possible by leaving a comment here or contacting me via Facebook.  If there are enough families who want/need the additional space provided at Marriott Suites, I will go back to the sales team and try to get it set up. 

Chicago offers a great public transportation system, however, hotels out by the airport don't always have easy access to the system.  The Marriott is an exception as one of the El stations is about a 3 minute walk across the parking lot.  It is a wheelchair accessible station, which also means those who have children in strollers can easily access the El.  Score!

A sales agreement is being sent to me and once the Marriott receives the signed agreement their events team will get our group finalized and we can begin making reservations.  I will post the details here once received.  In the meantime, if you want to check out information on the hotel, you can click on the photo in the right had column of the blog page.

Also, if you are a member of the Toukoul Adoptive Families Facebook page, please go to the events page and take a minute to let us know if you will be attending, may be attending or won't be attending TAFRU.  This information is so very helpful to the planning committee as we make decisions regarding TAFRU.

If you are not a member of the Toukoul Adoptive Families Facebook page, please feel free to leave a comment here.

As always, please stay tuned for more information.  Thanks.