So last weekend, I was whisked off to this beautiful oasis in
North East, Maryland.
The above sight was the view from my Suite
(below left door, first floor).
I could not believe God had called me to this place of refuge.
The real joy came in the fact that I had been asked to speak at an Adoptive Mom's Retreat to close to 100 women, by this lovely lady Pam Andrews.
Pam "met" me on Facebook a year ago after I spoke up on an adoption hair forum against a woman who was ignorantly using a derogatory term to refer to her daughter's hair texture.
Pam was moved to message me and a beautiful friendship began.
This resulted in an invitation to speak at a retreat she had just begun to plan for. I spoke on the topics ~ Hope Overflowing: Dealing with Infertility and Disappointment and Journey to the Center of the Heart: Parenting Older Adoptees.
Pam, together with her team of close friends, created the first annual retreat... Joy for The Journey Ministries: The Journey Ministries.
It was a weekend that I will never forget.
I cannot even begin to blog about the impact this weekend had on me and all who attended.
The feedback has been overwhelming and encouraging.
This picture taken during a very hilarious moment for us says it all...as it captures the main session speakers and the three beautiful women who made this weekend happen for us.
What is happening here? You ask.
Beautiful friendships blossoming over a common bond.
But...I am getting a little ahead of myself here.
As I am prone to do.
So I fly out of DFW and have a layover.
My traveling companions...you know the people you get stuck in the middle of because all of the good seats are taken...were, shall I say..."colorful". Both smelled of alcohol as I took my seat. Guy to my left orders two Screwdrivers...guy to my right orders two Bud Lights.
You can imagine the interesting conversations that took place from that moment on.
I will spare you the details.
It did end up that the entire back half of the airplane knew I was infertile and the mother of 5.
So... I arrive. Incredibly nauseous.
Oh, I forgot to mention I was sporting bands on both wrists and chewing disgusting ginger gum by the pack just to keep myself from puking on the airplanes.
Well...It worked. But the traffic jam and almost 2 hour drive to Sandy Cove, did me in:
Yep, you are seeing that right friends. Mid-conversation, I had to ask Pam's husband to please pull over so I could throw up. And yes, my sweet new friend and fellow Main Session speaker Beth Gore DID take this picture of my vomit directly under a liquor sign.
Oh the irony.
I got to my beautiful room and texted my best friend:
"I arrived. OH the journey to get here! WOW!"
To which she graciously replied:
" Yay! Enjoy Yourself...Good storytellers always have adventures."
She knows me too well.
I opened up Friday night by speaking on Infertility.
It went SO well. The weekend went from there....and it was all so great.
We had a luncheon and these cookies were made for us by the winner of Cake Boss' Next Great Baker (Dana):
Flags of all of the countries the ladies had adopted from!
Delicious and adorable.
After all of us spoke Saturday, we did a Q & A that night.
People were very interested in the experiences of the adult adoptees (3) on the panel. That showed that there is a real need for awareness from the adoptee perspective. I think that is great!
So besides the beauty of our place in Autumn and the wonderful food and the fantastic speakers...something really great came of the weekend.
A new friendship.
This lady and I met at baggage claim.
We may have panicked a little too soon about the fact that our suitcases did not come out with the others.
And we had a good laugh when they were discovered sitting safely near the attendee.
The walk to the car and the drive to Sandy Cove was filled with our conversation that flowed as though we had known each other our whole lives. We talked fast, finished each other's sentences. Had moments of getting emotional...sad, angry, reflective.
It was incredible.
Laura Riness is a gorgous mother of three from Minnesota.
This very month she received her Ph.D. in Psychology.
She is smart and articulate and so very funny.
She is also an adoptee.
Parented by white parents in the 70's and 80's.
Her Mom is her best friend.
She spoke on her experience at the retreat...Ebony Girl in An Ivory World, and women flocked to her. They still are, a week later!
We have texted and Fb msg'd and talked on the phone.
One weekend was not enough to contain all the things we now want to share with each other.
She has given a voice to my Jasmine, 40 years from now.
And I will forever be grateful.
She had me in tears all weekend...inspired and humored.
She said things like "My Korean sister was told on the bus, 'Your sister is black'...like 'um...yeah, I hadn't noticed."
This lady is a gem.
The other speaker, Beth Gore (the other cute blond in the above group photos)...is a phenomenal speaker. I believe this adoptive mother of 6 changed lives with what God told her to say to us. She and I and Laura and Pam have kept our intimate dialogue going almost daily on FB messaging.
Because we connected.
That was an amazing feeling...especially because in my day to day life it seems that I am so very misunderstood.
My personality comes off too opinionated, too loud, too controversial at times.
Just plain TOO much.
I rock the boat.
I say it like it is.
I have been this way my whole life.
And I am not always received well.
But these ladies GOT me.
And I get them.
That is an amazing feeling...to be truly accepted.
To be with like-minded people who are going in the same direction you are.
Anyway....I will stop now. This post has carried on long enough.
I do want to share this amazing resource with each of you though.
You can download the MP3's of each of our talks from the weekend.
I HIGHLY recommend it. Some of the stuff you will hear will be things you have never heard at any adoption conference anywhere.
Believe me...I have been to a lot of them and Beth, Laura, and others spoke a word of Truth into the heart of the adoptive mother unlike any I have heard.
It is November already!! This preschool job has kept me from blogging and that makes me sad. Let me tell you...I do NOT recommend working full time when you have 5 children at home. I under estimated the value I brought to the family being a stay at home mom. This has been a very difficult season in my life and I feel like I am treading water most days.
These are the things that are on the horizon: Getting Isaac officially tested and diagnosed with ADHD. He is having increasing difficulty at school both in grades slipping and behavior issues arising. And I do not have children who are behavior problems, so this has sent me on a mission to get my baby the help he needs. It has already been a frustrating battle and we are not even half way there. More on that as we make progress.
Next weekend I will be flying to Maryland to be a Speaker for Joy for the Journey retreats. I will be speaking on the subjects of Hope in Infertility and Older Child Adoption to about 90 adoptive and waiting moms. I have made up two power point presentations (for the first time in my life!) and also hope to squeeze some transracial parenting info. in there. I am very excited and also nervous about traveling so far alone. Please pray friends. I do not like flying!
Fall is officially underway around here. The basketball season has started for Keishun. He is on JV and is a starting point guard. The team is GOOD this year so this is going to be lots of fun. Cheerleading and soccer ended for Vivi and Jayden. We had our Halloween party and are looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving at home, as is our tradition. Hopefully I will have some time that week to blog while we are out of school. In the meantime, here are some photos to catch you up to speed on the past few weeks!
Halloween was a BLAST.
As always around here.
We went to a fall festival and then came back to welcomg about 5 families for dinner and trick or treating.
Vivi had her end of the year cheer party:
The girls got trophies and a cheer bag.
Jayden finished up his soccer season. He was good. Scored once and hustled in every game.