Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Created for Care

A few months ago, an amazing adoptive-momma friend of mine, Ashley (she's the one you helped to send  goodies to her daughter's transition home) mentioned that she went to an incredible retreat last winter, designed for adoptive moms. She RAVED about this retreat and strongly encouraged me to consider going with her this year.

While in the "waiting stage" of her own adoption, she told me that connecting with other adoptive moms (in all stages of the journey: waiting on THE CALL moms, new adoptive moms, seasoned adoptive moms, moms of adoptive moms...you get the picture!) helped encourage her in ways that she would have never imagined.  The main sessions, along with the breakout sessions over the course of weekend helped to refresh her soul while giving her resources to help prepare her to live out this calling for her family.  After hearing her enthusiastically high recommendation, I decided to register to go with her this year....thankfully I got a spot!

Last year was the 1st  Created for Care retreat, and it was dreamed up by another amazing adoptive momma, Andrea, who I only know of through the blogosphere. Crazily enough, I had been following this woman's blog (www.babeofmyheart.com) off and on for about a year prior to ever even hearing about Created for Care! Her family had adopted a sweet little boy from Ethiopia, and after arriving home and trying to balance mommying 3 biological kiddos, while mommying their newest family member, she (like most other moms) had moments where she felt overwhelmed, tired, yet still full of overwhelming love for her "new" family. While contemplating her own emotions, struggles, and  daily changes (both good and difficult), she began to realize that other adoptive moms must surely feel the same way.

 The idea for Created for Care was born. 

Because of this one momma's heart for the heart of others travelling her same journey, she partnered with 2 other families to feed the soul of adoptive moms across the country.  They anticipated a small gathering of possibly 50, which turned into 250 moms last year! By this year, news of its refreshment, rejuvenation, and encouragement, spread like wildfire and the 400 spots sold out within 9 hours, with 200 moms on the waiting list! Obviously there is a huge need for such a retreat as this! Because of the overwhelming demand, not wanting to leave a single soul unserved by this amazing retreat, a 2nd Retreat has been scheduled for March 23-25! What a blessing these women are to pour themselves into such a cause!

Here's a peek from their website as to what this retreat is all about:

"Christian families all over the world are being called to grow their families through adoption and foster care. Throughout the journey, different needs arise–some times, we just don’t know where to start–and other times we are just tired from all that is required in these callings filled with new approaches, lots of healing and much required extra love. While your hearts have been called to care, YOU were also created to be cared FOR. We want to not only support these families by equipping them with adoption resources, but most importantly provide resources to encourage them in their walks with their Heavenly Father who led them to this amazing calling."

I know there are some adoptive mommas reading this blog...I've talked with you, emailed you, etc.  You should go! I went from "Created for what?" to uber-excited for this weekend once I found out what it was all about.  If you are interested, I'd take a little trip to their website to check it out...and SOON! Registration actually begins tonight at 12:01 am EST, and may fill up quickly again, depending on how the word gets around. I'm actually sorry I didn't post this earlier.

If you're not an adoptive mom (at any stage), but you know someone who would benefit from this retreat, PLEASE send them this information. I know I actually can't relay any firsthand experiences from past attendance, but I can quote Ashley as saying, "I need this retreat now!" to me just this evening! ;)

So anyway, here's the skinny...PASS IT ON...

Created for Care
Location: Lake Lanier Legacy Lodge and Conference Center
Date: March 23-25th, 2012
Registration: September 28, 2011 (***Get your hiney on over to the registration page!!***)Cost: $165
Rooms: $109/night

Obviously, I'm super pumped to go to this...can you tell? Before I go, here's a video of some of the mommas and their families that attended last year:


Monday, September 12, 2011

mmmmm, the smell of new baby

This past Friday our family grew a little larger.  6 lbs, 2 oz. larger to be exact!

My sister and her hubby welcomed their handsome little guy, Taden Oliver into the world...and let me tell you, our world couldn't be more excited to have him here!  His birth-day was such a special day for all of us as we marveled at the sight of new innocence, our hearts bursting with love for this babe we just met.

Babies just have this way of captivating us. Have you ever noticed that?

How is it that we can sit and stare at a sleeping baby for hours on end, needing nothing more than a curl of a lip or a furrow of an eyebrow to completely enthrall us? Day in and day out, we're continually seeking the biggest, brightest, fastest, most talked about X, Y, or Z to (supposedly) fulfill us, sustain us, or entertain us. But place a baby in our arms, and the world slows down a bit. We forget about the newest reality show gossip, we no longer have the need to check our phone for a text...we simply get lost in the wonder and awe of the tiny warm body cradled against us.

How can something so small hold so much of our attention? Is it their newness? Their soft, sweet scent that draws us in? The miracle of their development and birth into this big world? I think what ultimately captivates us is the hope that they represent. The hope of a new beginning. The hope of a new life. Regardless of any mistakes (large or small) we make in this life, each one seems to be momentarily forgotten while gazing into the eyes of a newborn...and amazingly each and every mistake can be forgiven and forever forgotten after turning our eyes to the creator of life. Once a baby, born to give us a life full of hope, Jesus desperately seeks to captivate us in the same way his creation captivates us.

Daily, I'm finding myself becoming more and more enthralled with the love he has for me. The way he provides for me and blesses me is unfathomable. Despite any highs and lows I face (in the daily grind or in this adoption process), I know he's there longing for me to seek his newness and his soft, sweet scent of life.

In the next few months when I get quiet moments to snuggle my sweet nephew, as I lose the world in his eyes, I'll breathe in the hope of new beginnings and thank my creator for this special gift of life.