After getting settled into our room (lovely!), we caught a few hours of shut eye before the blaring alarm sounded. We jumped to our feet and were off and running (sort of!).
The conference started at 8:30am, and we were approximately 25 minutes away from the Gladney Campus, or so we were guesstimating. We left the hotel at 8:00am. The highways, by-ways, and spurs (yes, spurs) were much busier now.
Pulling onto John Ryan Drive (approximately 25 minutes later), my heart began to beat a little faster. We were close...close to the place where much of our adoption story had unfolded over the past fourteen months. Close to the people (intake managers and caseworkers) whose names had been carved onto my heart through much laughter and tears, joy and frustration through this process.
I knew that the highlight of this trip for me would be meeting them. AND IT WAS!
I loved how the meeting started.
Right from the beginning, we, as parents, were held accountable for how effectively our children will attach.
From the beginning, the responsibility of attachment was placed on us, the parents. That's where the training started, and every presentation, game, video, and talk from there built on that idea...the goal always being to enable parents to look past a child's behavior and into their heart, to the unmet need driving the behavior.
Gladney staff spent two full days filling our "tool box" for the job of parenting a child toward a secure attachment (ANY child, not just an adopted child).
I keep a quote on my desk:
"No one would ever look at a caterpillar and believe that one day it will be a butterfly."
The way I interpret this quote is to say that children (all children) are caterpillars. Each is innately equipped with everything he/she needs to become a butterfly...an awe-inspiring, beautiful, unique butterfly. Given a cocoon of love, understanding, and security, each and every child will transform, thereby reaching their full potential.
As parents we must accept the responsibility of being the catalyst for change in their hearts and minds. It is up to us to provide the environment for transformation.
Thank you, Gladney, for recognizing our children as caterpillars just waiting to become butterflies.
Thank you for equipping and empowering us to meet the challenges of such a transformation.
Thank you for loving family.
Above all else, it did this momma's heart so much good to meet other momma's and papa's preparing their minds and hearts for their children.
It was therapeutic to meet other momma's and papa's who so completely understood what it means to walk through this insanely beautiful, gut-wrenching process of adoption that leads to becoming a family.
I love each of you. It was a pleasure to meet you, and I have been praying for your journeys.