Thursday, April 3, 2014

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

FSA Regional Conference

The real purpose of my trip to Portland was to help out at the FSA (Families Supporting Adoption) Regional Conference.  I was asked to speak way back in July (by the co-chairs over the conference, the Harrisons, who just happened to be in Carol's ward, which is how I ended up there in the first place).  In July, November seemed so far away!  But those months just slipped by.  I was excited to do it- it was my third conference, and my second birthmother panel.  And so glad to have a reason to visit Carol at the same time.  Just a perfect opportunity!

The theme was "Families by Divine Design".  And it was pretty emotionally and spiritually powerful, as always.  This was the first time though that Wendy and Roman were not with me at an FSA conference.  Wendy so badly wanted to be there but it just wasn't possible this time.  I did miss them!  But with that exception, I think this was honestly the best conference I have been to so far.  (maybe that also has to do with the fact that I actually stayed for the whole thing?  Well, most of it)  Highlights for me were: a beautiful and tear-jerking arrangement of "From God's Arms, To My Arms, To Your's", Elder Brinkerhoff's address, speaking with Melissa and Lindsey (more on that below), meeting and hearing from Monica Blume (more on that too), and meeting new friends!  I love the bond that seems to come so easily within the adoption community.  And speaking of new friends....

This is Melissa and her mom.  Melissa was part of the adoption triad program on Friday evening.  She was adopted as an infant through LDS Family Services and spoke about her feelings and insights about having being adopted.  She's really amazing.  For only 18 years old, she is very mature and insightful (and a great speaker!).  I also got to meet her family and in particular I really loved her mom.  They are all just sweet, wonderful people!  (And do you love how we're all coordinated in black, white, and gray?  Haha)

Saturday morning I was on a birthparent panel with the ladies above, Annie and Nicole, and one birthfather, Steve.  Each told their stories and then answered some questions.  I loved hearing their stories!  I was particularly impressed with how brave Annie was to come share her experience only a few months after she placed her twins. (Twins!)  I was so privileged to meet and speak with these wonderful people.
Here (again ) is Melissa, me, and the always amazing Lindsey, or "mrs. r".  (Again with the white, black, and gray matching outfits...)  I have heard bits and pieces of Lindsey's story from her blogging, but it was so great to hear her speak directly about the divine design of her family.  I appreciated her comments so much, and found that I could apply her insights to my own life, even though we have different experiences.  My sister felt the same way!  I think clearly Lindsey was inspired in being able to show everyone how to consecrate trials and adversity for our growth and gain.  I love these girls.

I have to say the biggest highlight for me over the course of the conference was hearing from and meeting Monica Blume. (Once again, color coordinated-- I swear there wasn't a color dress code for the conference!)  Remember when I said I was excited to meet her?  I went to a couple of sessions that she presented, one of which being specifically about birth parents.  I learned a lot from those sessions.  I just love her perspective and understanding. And turns out she's a marathon runner, so she gave me some tips for when I do mine in January! 

I am so grateful to the Harrisons for flying me up to Portland and giving me this opportunity.  I had a wonderful, memorable time and learned much more (I'm sure) than what I was able to share.  I'll be working on adapting my talk from Friday night into a blog post for a birthmothers' blog, so be looking for that if you're interested in what I had to say.

I love adoption.  Love it.  Why?  Because it involves all different types of people who seem to have one thing in common nearly across the board-- they have big hearts.  I find that anyone involved in a positive adoption experience has been able to turn huge amounts of pain into beauty and joy.  And I love that.   I love living for today (vive in praesentia!) by learning from the past and hoping for the future. It's a beautiful way to live.

The best surprise....

To make up for not being able to personally be at the conference, Wendy sent me a surprise gift via the Lindsey express....and she left me in suspense until the very end....and I LOVED IT! (still do)   It was the perfect ending to the nearly perfect weekend.

Yeah, that part is definitely my favorite. :)

And the book is not all....I also got a new photo montage on CD!  It really made my weekend (which is a tall order for an already amazing weekend!)  Thanks again Wendy and Roman!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance?

Actually, I don't dance....but I do watch very well. :)

The butt dance. :)

One of my favorites: Romeo and Juliet
We were too chicken to try sneaking a picture, but when LeeAnn and I were walking into this restaurant next to the Arena, we both recognized this girl sitting at the bar.  You know when you see someone and you think you know them, but you don't know how?  When we figured out we both recognized her, we were racking our brains trying to remember who the heck she was.  I finally figured it out....anyone else recognize her?:

Anyone? Hmmmmm?

Elodie Otto: she was on The Hills.  She worked with Heidi at Bolthouse.  Don't ask me how I remembered that!  But I'm glad because it was driving us crazy.

Portland, OR

This is what I miss about Fall outside the desert:

I do not, however, miss the cold.  Brrrr. 

But it was fun getting to spend a few days with Carol and family!

Benno likes to pretend he hates me (but I know the truth).  These are the kind of looks I was getting all weekend.  Haha.  Disdain never looked so cute.


This is so cute.....specifically the very end:

We went to several of my favorite places:
  • Ikea- Breakfast for $2?  How can you beat that?  And thank goodness I finally found a viking hat with a removable beard.  I've been looking for one of those everywhere!
  • the Nike employee store- I could spend hours in this place.  And I felt semi-legit this time buying running gear, you know.  Always kinda felt like a poser before.
  •  Powell's bookstore, and . . . 
  •  Moonstruck Chocolates! Yum:

Ever wondered what's inside an eyeball?
Answer: peanut butter and jelly!  (of course)

Did I mention I had fun in Portland?? :)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

National Adoption Day

I thought this was the Arizona State Bar e-newsletter ("eLegal"), this is what they wrote in a blip about Adoption Day in Maricopa County:
"On Nov. 21, the Saturday before Thanksgiving, a record-setting 292 kids will join their forever families on National Adoption Day."
Kinda cool, huh?  I thought only LDS used that term. :)  Of course, all families can be forever, and these wonderful families will get that opportunity at some point.  I love adoption!