last week i flew across the country to atlanta, ga for a retreat/conference with 450 fellow adoptive mamas.
my sweet friend, pauline, traveled with me.
we met a little over a year ago after many joint friends tried to get us together because of our adoptions. we both have 3 boys, of similar ages, and we both adopted a little girl from ethiopia.
after we met, we found ourselves at many of the same baseball games and a friendship was formed. it was soo much fun getting to know her even more.
i adore her
(especially when she rubs my back on the plane as i think i'm dying from motion sickness).
i threw up after the second flight and during the third. and while sitting between unknowns (pauline and i were separated on that flight).
thank you to the kind stranger seated behind me who took me seriously when i told him he could rub my back when i get sick. ha! he did!
and it worked. for a few minutes anyway.
when i get sick, i have a hard time over-coming the symptoms....foggy head, upset belly, etc, which makes it difficult to concentrate and focus.
thank you again, my friend, for holding my hand the whole weekend! :0)
|me and pauline|
i planned this trip for about 6 months.
i had no expectations.
but once we got settled into the retreat i began to realize the over-whelming number of mamas who have/are struggling right along with me after their kiddos came home.
and i got a little frustrated.
i have been wishing, for a year now, that i would have been more informed about what was to come when we brought aregash home.
people always said it was "hard" (which is such an understatement for many/most of us), but never gave examples of what we may go through.
i have been in touch with lots of other moms who have had similar experiences, but here i was....face-to-face with hundreds of them who are struggling.
and we have no answers.
within the first day of the retreat i felt disappointment.
waiting-moms would ask me how our transition went and i told a little of my struggles, without telling too much, only to have their eyes glaze over.
i began to turn to pauline when people asked so she could share HER story.
that's the kind they wanted to hear.
i was distraught.....for myself and the other many many mommies who were desperately needing guidance in this hard place.
|the posse' :0) lori, chari, my sweet friend deena (friends through the process, but first time meeting) & pauline|
|--friendships forming--marisa and suellen--|
i had a good time.
i met many amazing women, stayed up wayyyy too late, ate too much, prayed a lot, spent lots of money on treasures, and worshiped with 450 other mommies.
it was said that roughly 1,100 children were represented by the women who attended.
eleven hundred babes have/will have families.
|worship--like none other|
we listened to several speakers who had amazing stories to tell, but the one who sticks in my head, is an adult adoptee from Korea.
she was adopted as an infant and has an amazing story to tell.
she reminded me, again, how these little brains of these little people are changed when they are placed and moved from one place to the next.
how their little brains, in utero, can be changed when a birth-mom has to think about the fact that she cannot keep her child.
how every. single. one.
of these children has come from a hard place, no matter how happy that child may appear. and how they need to be loved.
even when it's hard to love them.
even when we don't particularly like them.
all the time.....for them to grow up and be healthy individuals.....we need to always love them.
she said this with tears.
with such a heart.
because she IS one of those little people.
she understands....and she can help US to understand.
adoption is beautiful. but mostly, adoption is painful.
it is one loss after another for the child.
and then hopefully that child finds the love that he/she deserves and needs soo badly in a family to help make them whole again.
and the loss comes again when they are old enough to understand where they came from.
it's up to us to nurture and love.
and then love some more.
|meeting my friend and fellow AP, meredith--she's soo lovely|
when i left the retreat i was pretty overwhelmed.
there were soooo many women there. there were soo many unanswered questions. i was realllllly tired and not even close to feeling like myself due to illness.
and now i've had a few days to ponder and really sit back and look at what happened.
i had the opportunity to meet, share stories, and cry with many different friends.
i loved my time worshiping with these amazing women of god.
i took away bits and pieces of what the different speakers said.
i prayed for and was prayed over.
and i came home feeling closer to god than i have in months.
my heart is healing.
and i've had a revelation.
there was a reason i felt the need to go.
because it was god's way of bringing me back to him.
i had drifted away and there was a wall.
i had lost sight of him, my faith in him was close to none, and my life was feeling pretty dark.
satan had me right where he wanted me.
it's the reason i fell ill even though i flew across the world a year ago without being sick.
he didn't want me to find peace.....to find solace.....in the lord.
and i did.
he told me lies while i was there.
and i believed him.
and then i found my faith again.
and god brought me back home without as much as an upset stomach.
my faith waivered, but his grace is bigger than that.
his forgiveness is never-ending.
his love for me is unfathomable.
he made ME beautifully and wonderfully.
and i believe it again.
and even though this last year has been "hard" and i haven't even begun to understand why it is so, i now truly believe again, and have faith, that i was meant to be her mommy.
she is broken.
i am broken.
and our father will heal us both.....while we have each other.
he reminds me that i need not turn to others, but run to him when i'm in need.
not to call that next friend and tell of my troubles or trials.....
but to get on my knees and ask him for guidance.
|4:30 am....waiting in our hotel lobby for the shuttle----cool place!!|
i read a short story recently of a man who questioned god because his week had gone horribly wrong.
god kindly responded that the things that happened were his way of protecting his son. things aren't always the way we see them. and having expectations of anyone, but especially god, always lands us in heartache.
he loves us.
every single one of us.
when we are at our weakest and damaged.
he loves us.
his grace is enough and i'm covered in his love.
his grace is enough for me.
|waiting for our next flight to go home-tired mamas|
thank you god for your unfailing love.
even when i'm a mess.
even when i forget you are number one in my life.
even when darkness overcomes me.
i always find you again.
you find me.
and pull me close.
i crawl up in your lap as your little child.
i feel your breath and your hand on my head.
i feel your love.
i love you