Created for Care

*Attachment series to resume on the morrow, friends.

Part of my introverted nature is that I am a processor. Taking it all in, mulling it over, analyzing, and applying all take place in myheart and brain well before I can talk about it. That’s good in that experiences and truths deeply saturate my being. It’s bad in that many times I don’t even tell anyone about it.

It has taken me weeks to process my experience at Created for Care, a conference for adoptive mothers. A friend had asked me to go last year and I was so sick pregnant that I physically couldn’t. She asked me again this year, but I didn’t want to commit to a weekend away from my kids…nor did I want to spend that kind of money on myself. She asked me a third time when a mutual friend had a spot and couldn’t go. I was looking forward to being with other foster/adoptive mamas who “got” me, but not really super duper excited about the conference as a whole…it sounded kinda fru fru and slumber party-ish, and well…that just ain’t my bag, baby. I was sure it would be enjoyable but didn’t have expectations beyond that.  

We left after I got off work, meaning we didn’t arrive until well past the first session. Immediately I sensed that this weekend was sacred and in many ways just for me. There was a panel of adoptive moms with some bliggety bloggin’ superstars who were very forthcoming in their real-life experiences. We laughed, rolled our eyes in unison, moaned collectively, and laughed even more at the kinds of jokes only an adoptive mama would get.

The STUCK documentary was our late-night “entertainment,” but really just resulted in a room full of 500 women knee deep in The Ugly Cry.You know the one.

The next two days we alternated between worship and breakouts and a creative quiet time session (I still can’t talk about that…suffice it to say: marvelous). Just being in the room with so many of my people filled a hole I didn’t even know I had. Speakers included Carissa Woodwyck, an adult adoptee who had some heavy things to say to us mamas about our adoptions. She reminded us that though the adoption journey is hard for us as parents, we choose it. Our children do not, and it is incredibly important to recognize their loss. Another speaker was Amy Monroe, a specialist in adoption and attachment. I attended her breakout and took piles upon piles of notes from her session. One of the statements she made that stood out to me was that “Mad is really just sad underneath.” I was reminded that it’s just so easy to catch a child in the midst of throwing a fit and to target the behavior instead of the unmet need. 

Amy Monroe was good stuff, and I’d very much like to take her to dinner for a brain-picking. Here are a few from the list of books she recommended in helping talk to your children about adoption, with affiliate links (I had ordered them from Amazon before the session even ended):

Rosie's Family
The Mulberry Bird
I Wished for You: An Adoption Story

Created for Care was special in that it was held in a supernice conference center (kind of forcing reluctant adoptive mamas to treat ourselves) and that it provided a safe and unique setting for us all to skip past the normal conversations we all experience on a daily basis on to discussions that were much more meaningful and helpful in our respective journeys. Even more than that, Created for Care was the tank of oxygen I didn’t even know I needed.

I’ve been sort of drowning, not only with behavior issues in our children but also in my own junk that has both everything and nothing to do with how I relate to and parent my kids. I am forever thankful to my friend for asking me time and again to go with her.  

As long as it has taken me to process Created for Care, I couldn’t skip past the sharing part on this one. There are many mamas out there, adoptive and non, who are hurting in some way, too. If that’s you, talk to me here. Maybe I can help.   

It was an intense few days of brokenness, healing, and restoration, and I came home with fresh eyes and a new heart for my children. 

And some furniture from Ikea, because why not.