Friday, March 28, 2014

"Just What I Needed": Bekah's Story

I almost didn’t register to come to Joy in the Journey 2014. Like most or all of you, we budget and don’t always have a lot of wiggle room left for “extras” … but I have an amazing husband. One who practically told me I was going to this retreat! I am so thankful he was willing to sacrifice the cost and the time I was away to watch our twin three year olds. I really had no clue when I clicked the button to pay for my ticket that months later it would have such an impact on my life.

I have never been to any kind of a momma retreat, and I was shocked at the number of ladies who had responded to show up to this first-time event, ladies traveling from all over the country! I thought it was brilliant to allow vendors at the retreat who were raising support for their adoptions, and in some cases, raising funds for friends. The photo booth was serious fun! There was always too much food and just enough coffee. I was able to see dear friends who live near and far away, and meet new, amazing mommas from all walks of life. It was surreal to sit in the same room with and be surrounded by adoptive mommas, foster mommas, mommas who were waiting to bring their children home, those in the paperwork process, those waiting for referrals, those with heart-wrenching stories and those with miracle stories.

When it finally hit me – the magnitude of women in my own backyard who shared similar Journeys through adoption or foster care – I was almost breathless. I knew four years ago the level of support Brian and I would have with families in the area who had also adopted from Taiwan, but… I seriously had no idea how many families in our little sphere were on this amazing Journey with us. The crazy thing is, the number of mommas at the retreat with me only represented a small number from our own backyard.

That room was full of amazing women with hearts so huge, broken, open, searching and courageous. God was in that room. I could feel it. From the words that were spoken, the scriptures read and prayed over us, the questions asked, and the stories, laughter and tears that were shared. It was as if that weekend were orchestrated months before any of the planning had taken place, before those rooms were booked, tables decorated and amazing swag bags were filled full of beautiful goodies for our momma hearts and souls. It was. This event was prayed over, God-inspired and God-filled. For those of you who weren’t able to come … You were missed. You were prayed for. You were.

I wasn’t certain what I needed to hear that weekend. I couldn’t even remember the breakout sessions I had signed up for. It was hard to choose, because there were so many that sounded so good! I even changed my mind on the last breakout session *gasp* and attended another class. It ended up being a class I really needed to hear.

One thing that stood out to me in my first breakout session, in the Adoptive Mom panel and in a table discussion that led long into the night, was how important it is to constantly share your child’s story with them, creating a space for open communication. Many children just want to know why they were relinquished or abandoned. We should be careful not to make them feel bad about where they came from or their story. It is okay to practice what to say to them, age appropriately. Some things are too big for them to “carry.” Be prepared for the moment when they will ask, but don’t “keep” that moment from them. Prepare yourself for the grief, but let them have that grieving period… It was amazing to hear other momma’s stories who have already had that conversation with their child(ren). I feel further equipped to prepare myself when my sons ask one day about their story, and they will ask.

That weekend was all about finding Joy in our Journey, no matter what our Journey looks like. We are God’s treasure, and even when we have a pile of rubble lying at our feet, we can still find beauty in the brokenness. No matter the season, He is revealing that Joy to us.

When I think about all of the God-breathed words spoken to my hungry heart over those two days, I kept hearing words of a song played over in my head: Beautiful Things by Gungor. I won’t make you read all the lyrics, but no matter your story, no matter your Journey to Joy, this still rings true of our Heavenly Father:

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

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