In March, I attended the Created for Care Conference in Atlanta and I thought I would blog about it and I kept putting it off and time slipped away from me. It's now almost August and it's almost time to REGISTER again for next year's conferences! Created for Care is a retreat for moms who share the heart and spirit for adoption.
Are you an adoptive or foster-care mama - or are you considering adoption - or do you have a heart and a burden for the orphan - or want to come alongside an adoptive family in your life? Do you feel a tug in your heart that you should be moved to action on behalf of the fatherless? If so, you need to GET TO THIS CONFERENCE!
With that, here is my 7 REASONS you should go to Created for Care in 2013!
1. There is something insanely indescribable about being with 500 mamas who GET YOU. They share your same heartbeat. You don't have to explain why you chose adoption; nobody questions why your children don't look like you; nobody asks you about your reproductive system and the possibility of it's "brokenness". It's nice to be understood for three whole days.
2. God WILL meet you there. Very few times in my life, have I felt such a presence of the Spirit of the Lord from the moment I walked in the door, but Created for Care was one of those times. Andrea Young (adoptive mama and blogger over at Babe of My Heart) and her C4C Team covered the whole weekend in prayer. They invited The Lord to meet us there, and boy did He! From the discussions at dinner with the mama who said just what you needed to hear, to the timely and meaningful main group sessions, to the fun break-out topics, to the late nights in the hotel staying up and laughing with and praying with your adoptive mama friends. I know I wasn't the only mama God was speaking to, but He was speaking directly to my heart all weekend long! He sure did show up and was ALL OVER that weekend.
3. You will LEARN a TON! I know I don't know it all and I don't claim to, but I'll be honest - I went into the weekend thinking "we've got a pretty good grip on what's going on at the Sloan house" and "this will be a fun weekend away with my adoptive mama friends"- but WOW! I left the weekend with new thoughts on my adoptive children's pasts, their story, their pain and hurt, their birth families, their cultural identity, their losses, and their hearts. I left there with new strategies, new tools, and a new passion to not only bring home orphans to families, but to help those families WIN when they come home - starting with my own!
4. It's FUN! Hop in the car with 3 of your adoptive mama buddies, load the car up with twizzlers and pringles, load up the worship cds (but don't even turn the radio ON because you're having so much fun gabbing the whole way down to the ATL), and hit the road for Atlanta. Honestly, this was largely my motivation - I am a tired, homeschooling mama of 3 kiddos, so the weekend away to hang with women I love sounded like a much needed retreat - exactly what I needed. However, I had no idea exactly how fun it would be! I laughed so hard, my side literally hurt and my face hurt from smiling so much. We had a blast from the moment we stepped onto the property at the beautiful Lake Lanier resort!
5. You probably could stand to put on 5 pounds - or not, but you will anyway! Seriously, C4C wants to make sure your hearts and minds are fed and your tummy is too! WOW! The food just kept coming and coming! 3 meals a day are provided at the retreat and snacks, snacks, and more snacks. I did gain 5 pounds over the weekend at C4C and had to work extra hard to get it off when I came home! The food was fantastic and I really couldn't believe all that was provided with the low cost of the retreat! So don't worry - you won't be hungry - and as a mama who loves to eat, I know that's a big deal. :) The whole C4C retreat was Food for the Soul!
6. You'll connect with those mamas you've loved online for so long! There's no denying it, that the adoptive world is VERY connected. I met about 50 Korean-adoptive mamas face to face for the first time over the weekend! Yes, we already "knew" one another online and had walked the hard road of adoption together over the past several years, but to hug their necks and sit down and chat with them face to face is priceless. We also met some of those adoptive mamas we've always wanted to! I love Stephanie over at Ni Hao Y'all and she blessed my socks off in a couple of sessions and I was able to talk one on one with her at the Wild Olive Tees booth! I also was able to connect with Gwen Oatsvall - an adoptive mama from my hometown who started 147 Million Orphans! Gwen had me in stitches in the "I drive a bus" session - and I'm working on filling up that bus!
7. You'll leave there changed and moved to action! for many adoption is in one of those "one day" categories. For some, adopting again is in that "one day" category. It's HARD and I mean HARD to step out of that boat and take that step in faith to adopt - or to foster - or whatever God is calling you to - but you'll leave Created for Care with a CLEAR understanding that you are to do something on behalf of the orphan!
Registration for Created for Care opens August 15th at 12:01 am (EST) - it WILL sell out within hours, and yes, it's worth staying up and registering! Two retreats will be offered again - January and March! I know that I will never miss another one - it was such a blessing to my mama heart!
Visit the Created for Care website and get ready to have a life-changing weekend if you decide to attend!