This weekend I was with about 1,600 crazy people. We all share some very hard things in common. We are all foster/adoptive parents. This is the Refresh Conference. There are lots of “Me Too” moments at this conference. It is great to see we are not alone.
My wife and I skipped the Thursday morning and afternoon sessions, choosing instead to spend the time with some great friends we rarely see. They moved to Kent, Washington about 5 years ago and we haven’t connected very often since they moved. It was great to see them. We did attend the Thursday evening marriage talk by Mike and Kristen Berry from Confessions of an Adoptive Parent.
The opening general session was something else. Being in the same room with 1,600 caring adults all praising the Creator was overwhelming. Then hearing people’s stories and Mike and Kristen speak again it was all I could take. I needed some time to absorb it all and get ready for more. I sat out the first breakout session, then there was lunch, then I skipped the next two breakout sessions. I did make it to Ducati Redmond, but that for a different post.
I attended two breakout sessions on Saturday, A field Guide to Fathering Foster & Adoptive Children, and Raising a Child with FAS. Both were what I needed, reminders of things to do to help my kids. It boils down to things which would help every child, patience, understanding, structure, and love. How these play out are different for each child. It is our job as parents to learn what best helps a kid thrive.
I was introduced to a new name, Dr. Ira Chasnoff with NTI Upstream. I will be looking him up and studying his material. On his website is a video about teens with FASD. I have not watched it yet, but I will.
This was my weekend in a nutshell. If you are or are thinking about becoming a foster/adoptive parent you owe it to yourself to attend Refresh. They have two locations, Seattle and Chicago. Pick one and begin gaining valuable resources. It is not an easy thing, but as we learned from Jedd Medefind, in this life joy and pain are wrapped together