Come on, be Refreshed!

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I’m not sure why I’m compelled to sit down this cold, sunny day in January and put words to my thoughts. I think to myself that there are just about a million blog posts written about adoption; the hard stuff, the good stuff, the down right messy stuff, the legal stuff, the waiting…so honestly, why write about adoption again?

This post isn’t for the couple who is waiting to get their referral. It isn’t for those going through all the training classes that DHS makes you attend before your home study. Okay, I lie. It is for you..but you won’t need it for a while, so tuck this back some place that you will remember it. This post is for the moms and dads in the trenches of adoption and foster care. Those whose daily life is harder, wilder and honestly sometimes unbelievable to those not walking in their shoes. The ones who are on the other side, fleshing out what it means to really raise a traumatized child. {News flash: EVERY child, no matter the age they were adopted…NO MATTER THE AGE THEY WERE ADOPTED…has trauma to their brains.}This post is written for the parents who are at the end of their bloody rope, who need encouragement like they need air and who need to be REFRESHED.

ONCE a year there is an amazing opportunity to go to Redmond Washington and actually be refreshed. Last year was our first year and we decided that we’d make it a priority every year that it was physically possible. We sat there like dry, parched sponges just soaking in every drop of hope possible. We laughed, we cried, we nodded our heads in agreement and breathed easy, knowing that so many in the room had ridden the same wild roller coaster we’d been on while fostering/adopting over the last 6 years. There were no pretenses, no pretending that everyone had one big happy family waiting for them to come home to, nothing fake. Instead, there was compassion, understanding, wisdom and most of all HOPE. Don’t get me wrong…we personally were not at this point; we weren’t hopeless or in despair, but many were and because we had been through a LOT with over 30 kids in our home, there was a feeling of camaraderie. Not a pity party – not at all – but a sense of banding together, taking a deep breath and joining arms to fight this good fight. Because it is good and it is a fight.

Let me say this again. Adoption and Foster Care is a fight and it is good. So do yourself a favor and PLEASE sign up to go get refreshed at the Refresh Conference! Go prepare yourself for the future. Not that every family will have horrible catastrophes coming their way, but even walking away with one simple tool, one little phrase that we can use in parenting our broken children makes it worth your time. Not only will you hear from Psychologists, Pastors, Parents of adopted children (from everywhere and every age), but you will also get to sit in classes with the Bio Moms that chose to give their children up for adoption; to hear their stories of redemption and see how God has worked miracles, with teen Foster kids (currently in the system or adopted from the system); to get in their heads and understand where they are coming from, and with adults who were adopted or fostered and who now are navigating their way through life with their own families. It’s all about HOPE and it’s all about learning in complete openness.

Have I convinced you yet? I hope so. Make it happen. It’s worth all the hassle of finding child care and driving hours and hotel expenses. I promise. Hope to see you there!

**Bonus for Foster Families… this counts as nearly 15 hours of the mandatory training that is required through DHS!

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