Did you know Appalachia has bamboo? It is small and thin, but it grows like a weed. It is almost impossible to get rid of. I can see it out my kitchen window. It is down in the valley right behind our house. The leaves are distinct, unlike the surrounding shrubbery. Our “city” deer like to bed down in it. We joke with my in-laws, who live out in the country, that we see more deer than they do. Several herds run and graze around our little town. They love to move together past the trampolines, basketball hoops, and flower gardens. Together. In community.
A few weeks ago, I was able to join a new community. I had been a part of it from a distance. For a year. But suddenly, I was among real women, real adoptive women. I attended the Created for Care retreat outside of Atlanta.
It was an amazing experience to look around the room of 450 women and know: They all get it. The average family size included 4 or more children. These women adopt, foster, and love so hard back home. So we came together to just breathe. A group of ten extraordinary women pull it off every year.
We spoke truth to each other. We sipped our diet Cokes and just listened. Nodded our heads as we all used the same language. Attachment. Coccooning. Rejection. Placement. Court dates. LOA’s. Dossiers. Travel Approval. Birth Family. It feels good to be able to speak without having to explain.
We are created to care for our children, but first we must care for ourselves. It was a weekend to care for ourselves. It was a time of filling up, so that we could return home to be poured out again. Although we were all sad to leave at the end of the three days, you could feel the excitement of returning home. We were beginning to miss our babies. We felt so full we might explode, but we were ready to be poured out again. Without shame. Without regret. Without hesitation.
So, I am home now. Being poured out each day. Pouring into the little hearts in my charge. We are changing some things in our little family this year. We are praying for direction with regards to school. We want to make the best decision for everyone. Will you pray for us? We want to serve ALL of our children as best we can.
– – SHINE – –
It was the theme of the conference this year. As I wake each morning to small footsteps across the wood floor. Whispering in my ears to get up, I often don’t feel as if I’m shining. As I pour the cereal in the plastic bowls and engage in conversation, I am reflecting the light of my God. No matter how dark and empty I can feel at times, I can reflect the Son.
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