Sunday, April 14, 2013

One Amazing Weekend

To say that my weekend at the adoption retreat was wonderful would be an understatement!  I left on Friday with such high expectations, and Sunday afternoon I was asked if the retreat was what I was expecting and my response was, "much more!"

The retreat was in Estes Park at the YMCA of the Rockies.  The majority of the 65 women who were at the retreat were from Colorado so they drove, but three of us flew into the Denver airport.  Jen, Mary Ann (who I didn't meet until we were at the airport), and I were picked up by a wonderful lady, Shelly, and we were off to the retreat. The four of us hit it off immediately and we realized like most Christians, we had so much in common!  Which was good because we ended up going to the wrong YMCA of the Rockies (yes, there are two) and the other one was 3 hours away.  We decided to stay the night  where we were and leave the next morning.  We were a little disappointed that we didn't get to the retreat on Friday night, but that just meant we got to chat longer and get to know each other even more.

Our agenda for the weekend included:
* worship lead by Megan Isaacson (she is so talented... you should find her on iTunes)
* amazing speakers (more on that later)
* breakout sessions... mine were: organizing orphan ministry at your church, caring for special needs children, and connecting with your adopted child.  I could have just gone to one session and felt like the retreat was worth my time and money, so the fact that I got to go to all three was truly amazing. The leaders let us ask as many questions as we wanted (which you know I asked a ton) and they all honestly said, "here's my email, email me if when your little one gets here you need any help/advice." I know they meant it and I will be sending many emails!
* chatting with super women... I had a great time talking to everyone I met, but my favorites were the ladies who adopted a son Abram's age, from our agency, with the same needs as Abram, and from his exact orphanage.  I was in awe and their information was priceless!!
* and, watching the movie, "Camp." If you haven't seen it, I recommend you do... and watch it with a box of tissue!

And, here is what I walked away from the retreat with:
1.  My favorite song that Megan sang was Ni Zan Je.  The lyrics are simple, but oh so important. They are: "I will go with Jesus anywhere, no matter the roughness of the road. I will go, I will go."  Love it and I want it to be the prayer for my life.

2.  The three speakers that I heard were incredible, but the theme from Jody Landers' talk was a quote from Frederick Buechner that I will remember forever.  This is the quote: "Here is the world.  Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." WOW! She said while she was preparing for her talk she initially was going to talk about the beautiful things that have happened in her life and the terrible things.  But when she stepped back to categorize everything, she couldn't because what was terrible at the time has become beautiful!  I love it!

3.  When I walked into the retreat, my concerns were finding the right cleft palate team of doctors for Abram and involving him in as many Chinese heritage groups I can find... I left knowing that none of those things matter nearly as much as forming attachments and connections with Abram.  He is going to need so much love, affection, and time when he gets home. I can leave the surgeries and therapies to the professionals and the Chinese heritage stuff will come later if he wants it, but right now I need to focus on parenting this sweet little boy that God has entrusted us with, which leads me to my next point...

4.  I realized that I want my parenting with Abram to be intentional. I want the moments I spend making connections with him to be intentional, I want my saying "yes" to be intentional... everything!

5.  I also learned the importance of a good support system... I will need to go to my friends for prayer, conversation, and help.  Chris and I can't do this alone.  We are blessed with amazing family and friends and we will need to rely on them especially right when we bring Abram home.

6.  I also learned from many of the moms (because they didn't have just one or two adopted children, they had about six or seven) how and when to start the adoption process again.  We are looking forward to bringing Abram home, but we're also looking forward to bringing home his brothers and sisters!!

7.  And finally, the hardest, but most important lesson for this control freak of a mom... adoption can and will be messy!  It will be hard and tiresome and turn our life upside down, but it will also be amazing and wonderful.  I can't wait!!!

I had such an amazing weekend and it was such a blessing from God.  If you are considering adoption or have adopted, I encourage you to think about going on this retreat next year.  I'll definitely be there... I can't wait to see these wonderful ladies again!