This past weekend, Don and I attended an adoption conference called "Empowered to Connect." It was hosted by Show Hope and led by Dr. Karyn Purvis, Director of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University. Our friends Dan and Terri Coley also spoke as did a couple of other families.
To say that the conference was good would be to do it an injustice, even to say it was great would wouldn't be the best way to describe it. To say that it was a big dose of a reality check would be adequate.
Truly there is no way to describe how incredibly educating and informative this conference was for us. The overall theme was learning to connect to your adopted child based on your child's attachment style, and, yet, that only skims the surface of the depth of the conference.
I'm not writing this blog today to try to convey Dr. Purvis' principles or recount stories that were told. My purpose in writing is to underline the importance of educating yourselves prior to adoption. Obviously, this is our journey right now, and while education seems like a logical step, I would venture to say that what we learned from Dr. Purvis is unlike anything that can be captured just through reading or perhaps from any other conference.
While the conference was focused on adoption, the principle discussed directly affect relationship in any form and don't only apply to adopted children but biological children as well. In fact, there is not a person who could not learn something amazingly insightful from listening to Dr. Purvis.
The weekend was mostly positive, educational and thought-provoking; however, it was also emotionally draining and even scary at times. We heard personal testimonies of severely difficult adoptions and witnessed video of Dr. Purvis in action working to transform the lives of children and improve their home life, emotional health and provide parents with hope. What we witnessed is that there is hope in every situation. What was missing was a balance of reality.
I'm confident of adoption success stories with few attachment issues and little, if any, difficulties. I'm also sure of adoptions that have experienced more attachment issues than others, but at the same time, have experienced success through implementing Dr. Purvis' safe-touch therapy plus more.
Without a doubt, I would recommend this conference to anyone...pre-adoptive, post-adoptive, or non-adoptive. If you have the opportunity to attend one, please go. I promise you won't be sorry. You can visit the TCU website for more information www.child.tcu.edu. If you can't make it to a conference, the book The Connected Child by Dr. Purvis and other professionals is terrific. There are also several DVD series that can be purchased.
We are still in the beginning stages of our adoption and looking forward to our first home study visit on Saturday. The blessing of this conference for us is the opportunity that we now have to walk into the process with education, with our eyes WIDE open and with the confidence that the Lord has already hand-picked the "new" Donahue. He or she will arrive in His perfect timing, according to His perfect plan and clothed in His perfect care. Our Hope is in Him, and we are blessed to be on this journey