Our theme this year was The Road Less Traveled. Each table had a box (that J built) filled with flowers. The boxes were painted to look like roads and sticking out of each box was a street sign. The "streets" were Adoption Avenue, Triad Trail, Birthmom Blvd., and Reunion Way. The boxes were sitting on top of a road map and had two decorated candles sitting on top of it. There was a little suitcase sitting at each place setting.
Once we got to Charlotte Friday afternoon, we (myself, the Bestest Bud also known as LaLa or Lani Dowling and Holly the niece) checked into the hotel and headed down to the conference room Melanie (a great friend and event planner extraordinaire). We began setting up the conference room and were joined by another bmom and event attendee. We headed out to dinner where I had some yummy yummy quesadillas. After dinner, we headed back to the hotel finished up the goodie bags and headed off to dreamland.
Saturday morning we woke up bright and early and headed to the conference room to quickly finish setting up and grab a bite of breakfast before guests started arriving. It was great to see everyone again and of course meet new faces.
We started the morning off with welcomes and introductions. Then we played a neat game called speed friendship that I learned from another blogger. We moved onto our breakout sessions in which the ladies could learn about challenges that come up in every day conversation as a birthmother, moving forward in life and making creative collages as visual way to help you move forward, and adoption scrapbooking. We also had a craft – we made jumbo clothespins which can stand up and hold a photo. Totally fun and neat to see how each person’s turned out differently.
After that it was lunch time and time for the balloon release which launches us into the program type portion of the day. We had two speakers this year. One speaker was a 15 year old who is an adoptee. His name was Justin and hearing him speak and talk about what a great life he had was touching and personally validating to me in many different ways. I think each of the ladies got something from it as well.
Our second speaker was an adoptive Mom of two named Tory. She really captured me with the way she began telling her story. She started it off with “Once Upon a Time…” and described a married couple who desperately wanted to be parents but couldn’t have children of their own. Next came the slideshow which always a favorite part of the day and we ended with the candle light ceremony which is always my personal favorite part of the day.
Our day was filled with door prizes, learning, sharing, and just being in a room full of other women who totally get it. It’s hard to actually put all of the feelings into words but once again, it was a successful celebration of our children.
For those who were from out of town or those who just wanted to hang out more, we did dinner and dancing. We went to this really fun 80’s club that reminded me of my 30th birthday party all over again.
And finally after Sunday brunch, I arrived home to my boys!
Let me just thank everyone who helped somehow – even if it was a big way or a small way. Melanie, you make the planning part enjoyable for me and you do such an awesome job at it and make it seem effortless. Holly, I can’t do anything with out you girl. Lani, thank you for putting up with my bossiness (And I’m sure my Mom is laughing at that part!) and just being you! Alicia and Leigh – thank you for the help you provided with booklets, placemats, poems, etc. Thank you to my family and friends for putting up with my craziness for the past few weeks. (Ok, forever.) And thank you to anyone else I’m forgetting to mention!!! (Hmmm, is this what it feels like to give an acceptance speech at the Oscars or some other awards show?)