Created for Care 2013: My Initiation to Crazy Town

by Camille on March 13, 2013

Last weekend, I attended my first Created for Care, a retreat for adoptive and foster mamas at the beautiful Lake Lanier Resort outside of Atlanta. And yes, it was fabulous, but I’ve got a bone to pick, nonetheless, so here are my thoughts for the hard-working organizers of the C4C event:

Dear Andrea Young and Team:

I’m sorry, but this twice a year thing just isn’t going to cut it. I’ve decided we’re going to need a quarterly retreat. Minimum. This weekend, God took my little heart and broke it open, healed it, filled it, stretched it, and united it with the 450 other mama hearts beating with the belief that all children deserve families. I was encouraged, uplifted, inspired (and I ate a lot of chocolate on the drive home), so yeah…..awesome. I vote for more retreats. Mmmkay? Thanks. 

Sincerely, 

Camille

In all seriousness, it was one of the most fulfilling weekends I’ve had in a long time, and as Charlie and I have spent the past several months struggling through additional Youth Villages hoops in pursuit of another adoption, the retreat couldn’t have come at a better time. Turns out, that God guy is a total master of timing.

See y’all, sometimes being an adoptive mom can be rather isolating. In places, it’s a different path with unique challenges, and sometimes, there’s a lack of understanding. Of connection. Especially when a family starts preparing to adopt older children. Or special-needs children. Or children of another race. Sometimes, the negative reactions of close-minded individuals sting, and a mama can start to doubt her own capabilities. After all, adding more children to a house holding a 19-year-old, a 20-year-old, and a two-year-old, for instance, is total Crazy Town, right?

Probably. But as God continually reminds me, Crazy Town is exactly where I want to be.

About a month ago, I attended my first meeting of a local adoption support group, the 1.17 Moms, based on Isaiah 1.17: “learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” As we move toward another adoption, there’s a lot of uncertainty and complication about the next member of our family. So, around a table at Starbucks, I shared our story and soon realized that I’m not alone. My family is actually pretty sedate compared to the families of the fierce women who sat around the table with me, and I’m grateful for their warmth and welcome.

I was on a waiting list for Created for Care, and I actually received notification a spot had opened up only a few days before the 1.17 meeting. There, I met Paula Sloan— adoptive mom, homeschooling diva, and Twizzler-junkie. Paula graciously allowed me to both ride and room with Jewell, another amazing adoptive mama, and her.  Jenny joined our party once we reached Lake Lanier, and by the end of the weekend, I considered them all my new best friends. (Love y’all!) Check out their blogs to see their beautiful families and read their inspiring stories.

 C4C

My lovely roomies: Jewell, Paula, and Jenny

This was the view from our room:

Room View

 I would have enjoyed spending more time there (oh sweet Jesus, I love to sleep), but between worship, breakouts, and meals, there wasn’t much time for rest, and that’s okay. Some things are more important. Things such as connecting with our kids as we correct them. Hearing the voice of the adult adoptee. Healing a broken international adoption system. Reaching out to other moms in dark places and saying, “You will make it, and I will hold your hand until you do.” I hope to find the time to tell you more about a few of these things in the coming days.

As speaker Tona Ottinger put it, the ladies that gathered to worship, learn, and connect at C4C were“God-fearing women saying yes with reckless obedience.”  I met a mama who has adopted nine kids, many with Down’s Syndrome. A mama who adopted from Ethiopia in groups of three. Mamas adopting older kids aging out of the system, special-needs kids, and mamas working hard to maintain truly open domestic adoptions. Instead of doubts, asinine questions, forced smiles, or judgment, these mamas shared resources, experience, open arms, understanding, and joyful celebration.

Again, God said to me, “You’re not alone.” 

God may have said a few other things, and I sent a text message to Charlie along the lines of…..

“Wanted to inform you we’ll be adopting internationally at some point. Also, 10 kids no longer seems out of question. And seriously considering homeschooling. Just so you know….”

His response?

“Cool. Just send me a memo.”

There’s a reason I love this man.

If you’re a prospective adoptive mom, current adoptive mom, friend of an adoptive mom, or otherwise involved in adoption, I’d encourage you to sign up for Created for Care 2014. It does a mama heart good. 🙂

Amber March 13, 2013 at 9:12 pm

Loved this!! Soo wish I could’ve been there this year! Can’t wait until next year!

Camille March 14, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Thanks! SO wish you could have been there too!! 🙂 I feel like I know you from your blog and Twitter, but a big HUG and some late-night conversations would be even better. Loved your post on B’s birthday party. Your babies are so unbelievably gorgeous. I don’t know how you ever stop staring at them. 🙂

Carrie Horne March 13, 2013 at 10:06 pm

You adopt a whole house full and keep writing!!!! Both are your calling! Good to talk to you the other day!

Camille March 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Thanks Carrie! 🙂 It was great talking to you too. Praying for you as you continue to build your family, and SO wish we were closer.

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