CONFESSION ALERT: I had read that book prior to going to Uganda to be with Jaydn and to be honest, I thought it was too "touchy feely" for my personality type. Here is a little known fact about me: I am a cuddly person (hugs/kisses etc) but there are times I lack compassion (sympathy/grace). My poor husband sees this side of me the most. For example, if he has a headache I respond with rolling my eyes and suggesting he drink more water rather than offering to rub his temples or having him lay down and get some rest. So to read a book that was telling me I needed to approach my children with a more compassion-based parenting style, I quickly dismissed a lot of the principles. I didn't negate it completely but like some people do with the Bible, I picked out what I wanted and left the rest for those "other" types. So how did I go from feeling this way about a book and then attending a conference centered around the very author that made these uncomfortable suggestions?
My friend Mary Beth sent me the information about the conference and said she would be going and invited me to join her. I saw on the website that Dr. Purvis would be the main speaker but there were other names on the list and the mission statement drew me in: Equipping families, churches and professionals to bring hope and healing to adopted and foster children. Because I consider myself not only as an adoptive mom but as an orphan advocate, I felt assured I would walk away with something worth while. Plus I was excited about going on a road trip to one of my favorite places: Nashville. So I registered, made arrangements and attended the conference.
I was quite hesitant to open my mind in the beginning and obviously God knew that so He broke my heart. Within 10 minutes of being in the room and during the welcome speech of Dan and Terri Coley, I started to cry. Never before had I been in a room full of people who understood what I was experiencing in my home or people that at least were taking the time to learn about the experiences of adoptive/foster families for the sake of supporting those groups in their church. The floodgate opened and I didn't feel alone, isolated or as if something was wrong with me for the first time in 10 months. I was surrounded by family.
From the first welcome to the last goodbye, each day and session were jam packed with resources, encouragement, challenges, wisdom, tools, testimonies, scientific data, video clips etc. that will make me a better mother if I let them. It all gave me a renewed sense of purpose, not just in Jaydn's life but in the complete outlook and goals set for our home. I feel both completely overwhelmed and completely inspired about what can take place on the road ahead of me as I implement these holistic strategies and relationship building techniques of connecting to the heart of my 3 children.
I will have more posts about specific things I learned in the future but I had to get out there that this conference will be put on again so if you can get to one of them, GO! You can find information about that on the Empowered to Connect website linked here.