Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Called to Love Recap


This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to attend a brand new retreat for adoptive moms!  I went in to it with no real expectations for what I would experience there.  Worst case, it would be a rare opportunity to get away for a few days of rest.  What happened was so much more than that and here is a very brief recap of my wonderful weekend surrounded by like-minded women!

General Retreat:
1)  I had no idea just how needed a retreat like this was for families in the NW!
2) Connections happen quickly when you are surrounded by people who share your passions!
3) My large, diverse family was normal!
4) Ethnic hair care was a common topic of interest!
5) There sure is a lot of love going around when you are surrounded my adoptive moms!
6) We're all struggling with something.
7) The food was surprisingly good and it was nice to get to eat a whole meal while it was still hot!
8) Big Passenger Vehicles were also a topic of discussion.
9) A lot of woman worked REALLY hard to put this whole thing together!
10) It exceeded my expectations, especially for a first ever retreat!

We, meaning my MIL (also an adoptive mom) and I, headed out to the retreat center at the Oregon Garden's early Friday afternoon.  If you are in the adoption community at all, you have probably heard the names Karyn Purvis and Amy Monroe.  They are pretty much celebrities in my book!  Amy Monroe was hosting an early evening break out session for us early arriving moms and we definitely did not want to miss it!

Breakout #1 -
Connecting While Correcting with Amy Monroe
Something that I don't think a lot of people realize is that every adopted child comes from a hard place.  Because every adopted child comes from a hard place, normal discipline tactics are not ideal for them and so as parents we need to adjust our parenting to meet their needs.  I have read The Connected Child (highly recommended reading for adoptive parents!)  and well, some of the stuff hasn't sticked.  Parenting is hard work!  But hearing it all laid out in person, really helped me.  It is a great reminder for me that my goal as a parent is to connect and train my children, not to punish!  And extra great bonus: Connecting While Correcting also works great for biological children!

Another side note: I always thought that Amy Monroe would be like the perfect parent.  I had her on a pedestal but I must say I was pleasantly surprised to find that she is SO normal and faces the same struggles that we all face!

Main Session Friday Night:
Stephanie Fast
I have heard Stephanie Fast speak 3 times now, but every time I hear her speak I am amazed.  She has the most tragic orphan story I have ever heard.  But her story of redemption and adoption always gets to me.  She is an amazing woman with an incredible story to share.

Main Session Saturday Morning:
Saturday morning we had the great opportunity to listen to an adult adoptee panel.  This was great to gather insight into what their lives have looked like as they are now in their 20's-40's.  A few points that really stood out to me is that each one of these adoptee's whether adopted as a 2 day old baby or as a 13 year old was deeply impacted by the loss of their birth family. Like it was described from one of the adoptee's, a piece of the puzzle will always be missing.  Another thing that stood out was how profound the birth of their children was to them, to have a biological connection of someone who has similar features to them.

Breakout #2 -
Something to Talk About with Amy Monroe
This one was so important to me. Malachi is now getting old enough to start asking questions about his story and well, sometimes I look like a dear in the headlights (which is NOT what we are supposed to do) and I really needed some encouragement on how best to help him learn about his story.

 Main Session Saturday Evening:
We had one final chance to listen to Amy Monroe speak and she really spoke to our hearts as adoptive mother's.  The fears, doubts, and shame that play games with us.  It was another great session from her.

We also ended this evening with an opportunity to listen to a birth mom panel.  This was something I looked forward to as we embark on the journey of domestic adoption and will more than likely have a lifetime relationship with our child's birth mom.  I gained some valuable insight into their unique hearts and stories.  Again, just like with the adoptee panel, the decision to place a child for adoption leaves a lifetime impact on these woman and a hole in their hearts.  In general, it took years for each of these woman to process their adoptions and finally get to a healthy place with it.

Main Session Sunday Morning:
Sunday morning ended up being the emotional rollercoaster ending the weekend.  I didn't really know what to expect from the morning session and was even thinking we should have just left after the last evening session but it was worth staying.  I don't even remember the speakers name because she was a last minute addition when the speaker who was supposed to be there got sick. But it worked out so great in the end and she did amazing.  One minute there was laughter and the next minute there was crying. It was crazy but such a good send off to all of us moms as we set back out to do better and connect more with our kids.

All in all it was a great weekend and I am so grateful to all of the hard working adoptive mom's who put this retreat together.  I was able to meet "in real life" quite a few woman who have been online friends for quite some time.  And I even made some new friends too!  I hope to attend again next year, but as we are currently expecting a baby with no due date we will have to see how this next year plays out!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Playing Catch Up!

A bit behind and trying to catch up on the happenings over here.  

Last week was (obviously) Halloween.  The boys are at a really fun age with holiday's and carving pumpkins and trick or treating was very exciting this year! 

You want me to stick my hand where?  

We took a quick weekend trip up to Seattle to hang out with Peter's brother Andy.  He drove us around and showed us a lot of the tourist sights.  We look forward to spending more time up there and getting to do and see more!

And if all that wasn't enough, this past week we took the plunge and signed paperwork to adopt again!  We are so excited about this next adoption journey and that is a lot of why this blog was being ignored.  I promise to do better on updating here, but for all of the adoption process happenings check out our Adoption Blog!