Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Refresh 2016

Peter and I had the incredible opportunity to attend Refresh (for foster and adoptive parents) again this year.  It is a wonderful break to get to go away as a mom in the fall and have this conference near spring to go to as a couple.  We always laugh those, because while we love going and it is so good for us, it feels like anything but refreshing!  We come home with information overload and exhaustion but determined to continue the journey and do better! There's nothing better than being surrounded by a bunch of adoptive parents who love God.  There's a whole lotta love in the room and just being who "get it".

This year we had the opportunity to hear from some amazing speakers, including Mary Beth Chapman, Emily Chapman Richards, Beth Guckenburger, Lisa Qualls, and experts Deborah Gray and Dr  Julia Bledsoe.  All of them kind of guru's in the adoption world! We also had the amazing opportunity to hear some adult adoptees with very hard stories but that shared healing and redemption in their lives.   

We also attended several good breakouts including:
Black Lives Matter
Talking to your kids about Trauma
Parenting the Wiggler, Talker, and Runner
Growing up Different (hearing from adult transracial adoptees)
Open Adoption Panel (between a birth mother, adoptive mother, and adoptee) 

This weekend is always something we love to have on our calendar because we find it so valuable to not only get away together but to spend a weekend focused on our children (there's a lot of info to glean that can even be for our bio kids) and what we can do to support them and understand them a bit better.  

And just for fun, here's a link to a video they shared at the conference. The theme this year was "me too" and it proved to be a really great tool all weekend for connecting with people.  It is easy in day to day life to feel very alone when you are parenting this way.  Why I didn't want to leave my children in the church nursery for months or have other people feed them bottles.  Why my child's verbal and physical delays are more than just being the baby of the baby.  Why my son has a hard time with new experiences and needs a very detailed idea of when we will be home if we go on a trip.  Why "All Lives Matter" feels like a punch in the gut every time I see it (and that WILL be a post for another day).  These people I get to surround myself with two weekends a year "get it!"  No explanation of ANY of this stuff needed.  And we're on the lower end of the spectrum here. There's A LOT more hard that families are struggling with, but at something like this, you're certainly not alone.  

So with all that being said, I share a very tongue in cheek video link that was shared with us over the course of the weekend. Enjoy!