This last weekend was the adoptive parent retreat!!! It was AMAZING!!! Big thanks so JessaLynn for hosting it for us. Before I talk about it though, I have a couple of random pictures that I love!
Buddy staring out the window. This has become one of his favorite pass times. He loves watching everyone out there. He will seriously sit there for hours! It's so funny to me. Buddy turned one yesterday. YAY! Officially not a puppy... yet, we still have the puppy personality. Love this pup!
This one cracks me up! I love Jared. He can always make me smile!
Now on to the retreat... So awesome. I'm so glad I had the chance to go, be apart of the planning committee, and have that how experience. Adoption is just... it's a miracle! I love talking about adoption. So... the pictures aren't the most exciting, but I will include my brief thoughts about what was said. For this section... the comments are under the picture.
Jessa welcoming everyone. She's an incredible advocate for adoption. She's a birth mother, but as mentioned in the retreat... if you talk to her, you'd seriously think she was a adoptive parent/hopeful adoptive parent by how much she supports and loves us adoptive parents/hopeful adoptive parents and all she does for us. You rock Jessa! Love ya!
Mrs. R giving her keynote address! She was amazing to listen too. Her whole address was amazing, but I think the thing I got the most out of it was about having hope! Something you definitely need to remember in the adoption world. Things may seem hopeless, but if you have faith and pray... He will come through. Maybe not in your time, or in the way you expect. But He is aware and knows all. Just got to trust, have faith, and have hope!
Mr. R was so fun to listen too. He's very smart and knows a lot of different points of view from adoption. He's a social workers (until recent, he worked for LDS family services) and being an adoptive dad himself, he has a lot of knowledge from all points of the adoption triad (which kind of leads me... if I EVER use a term associated with adoption or our religion... just ask! Sorry... I don't have a sensor to know when or when not to use terms like that). Adoption triad is the birth parents, the adoptive parents, with the adoptee at the top. Anyway~ the biggest thing I got from Mr. R was honesty! Honesty to ourselves, our family, and expectant parents. If everyone is honest, and knows where everyone else stands... you have a great relationship. Even as things evolve in the relationship and situations arise, just be honest about it all. I think what hit me the most was honest to ourselves. I never thought about not being honest to myself about how I feel about an adoption situation or how I'd feel about things surrounding it. Lots to think about there!
Here's the adoptive parent panel. The man speaking adopted three kids. One spoke at the retreat, but I was getting the baby-sitters lunch, giving them breaks so I unfortunately missed her and most of this panel speaking. But yeah, so there him who did a domestic adoption... the woman next to him is "Mama Lark" who has adopted 2, almost 3, from foster care. I love listening to her and her points of view from a foster parents point of view. Gets me excited for when we open are file! Then the woman at the far right, Ashley Bigler, has done an internation adoption. She's written awesome books on adoption that you can find here.
This is the birth parent panel. Unfortunately I was still working with the baby-sitters so I missed some of the speaking here, so I don't lots about them. I do know the woman on the left is Amanda and she placed about 6 years ago. The woman in the middle placed about a year or 2 ago. The man on the right is the birth father of the adoptee that spoke. YES! We had all 3 points of the adoption triad there. It was awesome! They were so great. I thought it was really cool how they all pretty much said they have an aunt/uncle relationship with their adoptive couples and the child. That's exactly what we're hoping for too!
So while we were in there, doing all this awesomeness reatreat stuff... here's what Jared was up too...
yes... he is tied up... literally. Leave it to Jared to save the day with baby-sitting and being wonderful with the kids. They just love him (What kid doesn't?). So that was the awesomeness adoptive couple retreat! It was fabulous. Makes me so excited for next years retreat!!!