This last weekend I was able to attend the Created for Care conference in Atlanta, GA. To say that it was amazing is an understatement. There really aren't words for how filled my heart feels. It was just under a year ago that someone in my agency told me about a facebook group that existed for women in our agency adopting or who have adopted from Ethiopia. Little did I know at the time the impact this group would have on me when I asked to be invited. This facebook group has become a place of understanding, common ground, a deep sigh of relief, place of joy, place of sorrow as we walk this hard journey together. I have learned more about the power of prayer in this group than anywhere else. Women setting alarms in the middle of the night to pray for Birth Parent appointments, court appointments, praying for children who are sick and the mothers across the ocean aching to be by their side. Powerful! And last weekend was my chance to meet them...in real life....in person. I was so giddy to get on that airplane!
As the plane was making its descent into Atlanta I realized that I don't really "know" any of these women...including the other 3 I was going to be rooming with. I began to get pretty nervous. Nervous to meet new people, rent a car in a foreign city....all of it! I am a pretty outgoing girl but when it comes to new places and new faces, I can be timid. But the Lord was SO gracious to me and like the Father He is...He took great care of me. I got off the plane and decided to use the restroom to just center myself. (please remember that Atlanta is the largest airport in the world!) As I turned the corner to enter the restroom there was a woman walking out. And I stopped. She stopped. We looked at each other in amazement. And realized....yes that is you....that is the girl who has become such a dear friend to me through the power of facebook. And we hugged. It was so precious that the Lord met me right away in my nerves! And that was just the beginning of God meeting me as I met "new" people.
I met the girl who made my Christmas card, the gal who's blog I followed even before we signed with our agency, the founders of Ordinary Hero and 147 million orphans whose blogs I follow and feel as though I "know", the girl whose adoption of her daughter changed the course of our adoption, women I prayed for as they were uniting with their children, women I have wept for as I have seen such pain in their lives, women who have encouraged me at my lowest, and women I have rejoiced with! Sweetness. Pure sweetness.
The conference was like opening your mouth at the bottom of Niagra Falls. It was a lot. It was deep, raw, real, authentic, fun, with comfy beds and great food! I learned so much about what being an adoptive Mom is all about. I heard about the struggles of loving someone back from brokenness. And learning that it isn't easy to love someone who doesn't believe they deserve to be loved.....or loving someone who is afraid to love again because the leaving would be just too much. Teaching someone that I will never leave you. I will always love you. Wow....it was a lot. I took lots of breaks to go back to my room and sit on my bed wondering if I am even cut out for this. Wondering if I have the strength. And knowing that the answer is, no. But God is! This whole adoption journey for Dave and me has been a purification process. We have learned to pray hard, fight hard, and love big. And we will learn that lesson over and over again I am sure. But we have learned that less of me and more of Him has to be our anthem. That it is only in my weakness that His strength can be revealed. That He uses those that are incapable....and that is exactly what we are! It is all big stuff....but not too big for Him! Thankful for that! Thankful that I love and follow a God who is big enough!
We have been waiting 19 months! Wow! That number seems amazing to me! I cannot believe that we have been on this journey this long. And the reality is....we could still have 12-14 more months. I just keep giving it back to the Lord! It is a daily thing....and some days (like today), it is an hourly thing. Because I do ache. I do long to control and predict. But the reality is, God has something right her and right now for me. So I am going to set my heart to those things and pray for His provision in His timing.
I will probably be processing more of the conference in a few more posts....it was sort of a lot to take in!
Boy= 35 Girl= 48