Friends... if you are anywhere near the Washington, DC area (or if you can get there) GO. Seriously - you do not want to miss this conference! It's September 12 - 13 and you can register now!
Since we entered the adoption world, I've heard about a lot of adoption conferences (most of them just for adoptive mommas, and most of them pretty expensive.) I was surprised when a friend from our Thailand Adoption Facebook group recommended this one, because I wasn't familiar with it at all. I was even more surprised to find out that it was so affordable (our tickets were around $35 each!) So when she gave it glowing reviews, we signed up for the February Birmingham dates.
I am SO glad we didn't miss this conference! Many of you are familiar with the name "Karyn Purvis" because you've read the book "The Connected Child." Hearing Dr. Purvis speak in person was beyond incredible. I'm telling you - the woman is so gifted, and she has so much wisdom to share with adoptive and foster families. For 2 days I scribbled notes furiously (even though I had an incredible workbook provided at the conference, and even though I knew I was buying the CD's) because I didn't want to miss a word she was saying. I left feeling encouraged and better equipped to parent our internationally adopted child.
But more than that, I also felt like my eyes had been opened to some situations in our Children's Homes around the world. (For those that don't know, my husband and I co-founded an international non-profit 4 years ago and we do orphan care in 4 countries). As Dr. Purvis was sharing explanations behind different behaviors, I was connecting the dots to several children we know and love in our homes. I was introduced to some tools that could help our kids - and I hope I can do some more training with Dr. Purvis' teachings in the future!
So friends who are adopting, friends who are fostering, friends who work with vulnerable children - even friends who want to better understand adoptive families - GO to this conference. Friends who work in education, counseling, social work, or ministry - those of you who come in contact with "kids from hard places" - I really believe you could benefit from this conference too! If I had it to do over again, I would go again AND I would bring my parents as well. (I think this would be a great way to help your parents understand why their adopted grandchild will need to be parented differently than a biological child!) The conference was extremely helpful, organized, and enjoyable. We were given great tools (detailed workbooks and notebooks) that followed the speakers' powerpoint presentations, and there were some excellent resources available for purchase. And again - I can't get over how affordable it was. Thank you ShowHope for giving us such a great experience for such a low price! I know that's a blessing to so many adoptive families who are saving for adoption expenses!
Here are a couple of links with more information:
Empowered To Connect Website - http://empoweredtoconnect.org/
If you aren't in or near Washington, DC though, don't despair! From what I understand, this is an on-going annual conference and they are held in different locations each year. Just email firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them to put you on an email list so you'll know about upcoming conferences!