Friday, March 14, 2014

Retreat Testimonial

            Last month I headed to my very first adoptive mama's retreat. I have been to lots of mega-conferences before. MOPS conventions, Hearts-at-Home, all designed to encourage and equip moms in many stages of motherhood. This was very similar but geared towards adoption and much more intimate. The interesting thing is when I registered, I had not brought Chloe home yet. Our ticket to Ethiopia had been purchased, and we were heading off in less than a week from registration opening to bring her home. All this to say, that when I registered, I was only guessing what my mama's heart would need to hear. Also praying that the transition would be smooth enough to allow wonderful hubby to take care of our 4 kids. I must admit, it doesn't take much for me to be talked into a "girl's weekend". I know it is hard for some to leave their little ones, but I learned long ago that taking care of myself and my marriage helps both me feel refreshed and my little ones have a better mama.
 Fast forward four months, and I wasn't even sure what breakout sessions I had signed up to hear. The Joy in the Journey team was doing a great job of giving us teasers of the workshops and having been to these other conferences, each one sounded like something I could use simply as "mom" not necessarily as adoptive mom. I knew going into this weekend, I would get something. Just was surprised with the "a-ha" moment I got.

            Our transition with Chloe has been pretty easy (don't throw eggs please) and there are no glaring "issues" we are dealing with yet. But it would be silly of me to think that they may never come. However, when asked about our goal for the weekend, I honestly shared to simply have a fun, girls weekend away with like minded women. I enjoyed our car ride from STL with my friends and enjoyed being pampered with the best swag bag EVER. I enjoyed shopping with a cause at the vendor booths. I SO enjoyed the really great worship. Everything was professional, well organized, and intentional. But since I wasn't necessarily having major issues with my adoptive daughter, I wasn't sure what my "take home" was going to be.

            Then sitting at my first break out session I got my "aha" moment. The presenter discussed a statistic that initially I laughed at....(the kind of laugh, so you don't cry laugh). She stated a positive attachment or lack thereof directly correlates to the adoptive mother's relationship with her own mother. In that breakout session, I wrote down a quote, "I didn't expect....Adoption would unearth past wounds and hurts and expose my sin and brokenness." Then in the final main session when the speaker spoke about God using our adoption story to sometimes tell us more about our relationship with Him than anything else I again was surprised. I knew God was teaching me all about faith, trust, perseverance, humility, and patience. These lessons were obvious and abundant ----but brokenness, forgiveness, grieving and not necessarily for my adopted child, but for me. My story. As a mother of 4 (one girl who is well into the pre-teen phase), within my parenting there are irrational fears being conjured up based on past hurts of how I'm going to handle and deal with some of the brokenness in our world and in our relationships. I was so blessed to hear about the beauty in our brokenness and how God uses both.

            To sum up, even though I came as an adoptive mom hoping to glean insight on possible future problems my little girl may have---I left being very aware of being an adopted daughter. The weekend wasn't so much about my adopted daughter (all though I did have some nuggets to take away for her). The retreat would be helpful for any parent trying to mother in a broken world (I thought more about my pre-teen bio daughter and some of our "conflicts" while sitting in some of the sessions more than my other 3 children). However, the weekend was most beneficial for me and my story as the adopted daughter. No matter what your reasoning to attend next year's retreat [to have a fun girl's weekend, to gain information on how to parent kids from hard places, or to learn more about your own story] ----I have no doubt it will be worth it!----

1 comment:

  1. "I didn't expect....Adoption would unearth past wounds and hurts and expose my sin and brokenness." That is one quote that I also wrote down and was also a "take home" for me.