Last week, I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Christian Alliance for Orphans summit in the Nashville area. One of my dc parents came to me a couple months ago saying that there was money in the OARC (Orphans and At Risk Children) account to send someone and she thought I should go this year because of our adoption of A and also fostering. She was going to try to go too but couldn’t swing it and J couldn’t get the time off so I asked my Sister who is the Children’s Ministry Director at our other church if she could go since the workshops gear towards adoption, foster care and ministry in those areas. Her Senior Pastor gave the go ahead so last Wednesday, we headed out for the 11 hour drive that turned into over 12 hours on the way there due to traffic and rain.
We arrived at our AirBNB at 1am on Thursday in Franklin, TN. It was the basement apt. in a house owned by a Woman who also had a couple of kiddos. We didn’t get the chance to meet her but it was a really nice space and she left us goodies to eat and drink in the fridge which was super sweet of her. We got up about 6:30am to get ready to head to Brentwood Baptist Church where it was being held. Oh my gosh…I have never seen a church that big and the one that sent me is pretty darn huge and we’re expanding. This one has a full time preschool in it that has 200 kids every day. It was amazing and easy to get turned around, lol.
It was 2 fabulous long over 12 hour days of general sessions full of amazing worship music and speakers and the then lots of breakout workshops also. Most of the workshops I attended geared towards caring and connecting with children that come from traumatic places but I also did one called “10 Things Adoptees want Parents to Know” that kind of scared the crap out of me on what A might go through as she gets older. I also did one on self care when caring for kids with traumatic histories and a marriage one. The one on self care was taught by Kristin and Mike Berry. I had just read her book the week before on a night of insomnia and it spoke to me so much because many of the things she wrote about with their oldest boy, were things that we had been going through with T and it was just nice to hear that others were going through it too. The book is called “Born Broken” and it was amazing. I got the chance to go up and speak to her after the session and thank her for writing the book and of course, I cried trying to tell her our story from the last few months but she was awesome and gave me a big hug. 🙂
All in all, it was an amazing but exhausting 2 days and just made me hunger to learn more and do more. I’m going to be researching and learning about TBRI because I think it’s going to be exactly what we need to help T if/when he comes back to us. It really showed me that adoption and fostering is where my heart lies which I don’t know if I would have said that about fostering before I left because of how hard the past few months have been. I was clearly shown that we can make it through and with the right tools, we can really help these kiddos that need to be shown that there’s a different way then what they’ve seen/heard/learned. I’m excited to continue going to workshops and learned more and more about trauma and the ways it comes out in the children I will care for and how I can help them through it.
As amazing as the trip was, I was more than ready to get back to A. She had stayed with my Mom while I was gone. She had a great time with Grandma and her cousins and didn’t seem like she really missed us all that much. In fact, she really wouldn’t look at us too much Saturday night so I think we were getting the guilt trip, lol.
If you have a heart for adoption, fostering, orphans, or ministry helping in any of those areas, I highly, highly recommend this conference! Next year’s is going to be in Dallas on May 10th and 11th. You can go to cafo.org to check their organization out!
In other quick news…5 weeks until I finally get to start some Maternity leave, lol. I am so ready to just have A and M to think about. Also, A’s Baby Dedication is on Mother’s Day so we’re super excited for that. I feel like there was one more think I wanted to tell you guys, but what the heck was it?! Hmmm, I’m sure I’ll remember after I hit publish…that’s just the way my brain works these days.
Hope you are all well!
Lots of Love~Dawn