The conference kick off. That night we had dessert in a round table setting. We were assigned tables and as our speaker began she started talking about our surroundings. There were 250 women from all over in one place with one major common ground...ADOPTION.
As the speaker started to describe the types of women in the room, I was able to forget all of the stuff I went through to get to the retreat and I took a deep breath. It was one of those times when I felt like the whole room went silent and I was able to soak up this moment. I hope I am able to describe it as amazing as it felt. I can’t find a better word than COMFORT. I felt warm, as if God just swept me up and gave me this enormous hug. As I embraced the moment I looked around the room and I knew that all of these women understood. Every single woman in this room gets ME, I don’t have to explain. They know my heart and I know theirs. They know I am scared because they are too. They understand my fears and all of my questions. I felt like I belonged. Looking around the room connections were made; our eyes were FULL of tears as our hearts were comforted. This was only about 10 mins into the conference, but the feeling that I felt at that moment was worth everything!
Through out the weekend we heard from some amazing women. Women with amazing stories. I don’t think any woman in that room had a boring story to tell. I learned a lot about attachment. I honestly did not know much about the importance of in utero time. I know that sounds crazy because I have had four babies, but I had all easy and healthy pregnancies. I am not the type to study up on all the possibilities of things that could go wrong. I am more or less the type to just roll with the punches. So, hearing about the emotional development during utero was kind of traumatic for me. How an embryo can feel unwanted, unloved from the time of conception. My thought process has never gone there before. It was hard hearing statistics on newborn development because of them being an unwanted pregnancy. Maybe the child isn’t unwanted, but the mother is starving? I learned that aside from being malnourished the child also will could feel anxious because for 9 months they heard a racing heart beat. Whereas, our children hear a “normal” heart rhythm. Those are just some of the small things.
Throughout the weekend, we were told lots of statistics. I have begun to hate it when I hear statistics because so many people, myself included, hear them, shed a tear and then go on about our day. For me now, a statistic is my child. That is my baby, in Africa. Statistics are people.
Honestly, I heard so many different things over that weekend. So many things that just made me ache inside. To hear how bad these children hurt. To hear peoples personal stories. To see their children. I met women that had up to 10 kids, biological kids and adopted kids. They were not women who just wanted to grow their families, they were women who have been called by God and they listened. It was very challenging as well as inspiring.
I was SO lucky to have met some women from our yahoo group with AWAA. I was able to ask question after question. I was able to hear their stories. It was really cool because they also wanted to know my story. Someone had a laptop and we were able to show each other our families (from facebook). We were able to put faces with names. A few of these women, I had read their blogs before and it was nice putting it all together. We all hope to be traveling together at some point. A few of our DTE dates are around the same. You never know our kids could be friends in the Transition Home. I would love to be able to surround myself by those women more often, but for now we are all over the country!
For me, this weekend was not long enough. So much information was taken in and I know I have still not processed. Luckily we were given all of the sessions on CD, so I do plan to listen to them again, along with Brian.
These were two of my roommates! Love these girls!