It's hard to even write about my experience there because there was a lot of "stuff" in less than 48 hours. I'm still trying to process it all. I wrote about some of the reasons why I was planning to attend and I have to say I didn't get my expectations met in those areas.
1. Did I connect with other adoptive moms? YES! And it was amazing! But, for some reason I guess I thought I would meet someone in the EXACT same spot that we are in (infertility, wondering when/how to adopt again, etc.). Well, that was a silly expectation. I didn't leave with a new BFF (ha), but I met some amazing women and, wow! I just loved hearing everyone's stories! I do hope to stay connected with the women that I met. They are all so amazing!
2. Did I get an idea of how/when/from where we should adopt in the future? Not really. We are very much in a state of "flux" right now. We are wondering where (literally) God wants us and how He wants us to serve, whether that means right where we are or maybe even somewhere else. It's not like there is a specific opportunity for us to move elsewhere, but we don't feel 100% settled either. So, until this other part of our life feels settled I don't think we'll be led to pursue adopting again either. So... we wait. :) And pray. There were no big glorious signs that we should pursue adoption at a particular time or a particular place.
Just a few things that stick out to me about the weekend for now that I need to ponder and think/pray about more.
-Truly understanding that God is not only the provider of all we need, but also all that our son needs. This obviously doesn't mean that we should neglect him. but, it DOES mean that I should probably stop worrying so much.
-LOVE and connection are the guiding forces in my relationship with God, Dave and the buddy. I obviously already knew this in my head, but how does this look in daily practical life? As the buddy grows, how can I truly listen to him to hear his heart?
-God's love knows no borders. Children in all corners of the world need homes. I need to continue to pray about what part I play in this.
-God SEES me and he sees all of us, no matter where we are on our journey. No matter how hard life is at the time, He is there with us.
- I gained an even bigger admiration for moms of special needs children. And those who have adopted older children. And who have 10+ children. And a combination of all three of those things! Whew!
There's so much more and I'm just scratching the surface. I'm so glad I went and I'm sure I will sign up again for next year. It may not have been exactly what I was expecting, but it was was I needed.
The retreat also sparked an interest in me to read the books below:
The Connected Child
Parenting is Your Highest Calling: And Eight Other Myths that Trap us in Worry & Guilt
Family Feasts for $75/week (The author of this book has 10 kids, so I'm intrigued.)
And a few new blogs I want to follow:
Hope at Home
OwlHaven (Blog of the mom of 10 from above)
Carissa Woodwyk (She is an adult adoptee from South Korea and a beautiful writer and speaker.)
(While I was gone, our kitchen remodeling FINALLY got finished after we started the project in October! I can't wait to share the pictures! Yay!)