I need to say again what a wonderful day I had yesterday. I was lucky enough to travel with a group of adopters whom I know well and count as friends to the Open Nest Conference at York. The idea of a conference in York was brilliant for me, as Boyo struggled enough with me leaving home just after 8.00am and getting back at 6.00pm and judging by how Jelly has clung today, he didn’t find it a breeze either.
As ever, when I go on course, I took a notepad and pen with me – but I barely wrote anything in it (there may have been some tweeting going on though). We heard from some experienced adopters, who all had a different story to tell. It was also amazing to be in a group of people who just got it. It was good to meet people who I have connected with via twitter, people who walk alongside us all the time, I now have faces to match names.
We heard from Amanda Boorman the founder of the Open Nest about her hopes for the charity. She also share her film journey of her life as an adopter with her daughter and made most of us cry.
We heard from Al Coates about his families story and he reminded us all how important and powerful it is to share our stories.
We listened to Sally Donovan and Fran Procter tell Fran’s story as an adoptee and some the things that she found out growing up. A key point for me from this was that you have to deal with the effects of trauma even if you are not in the right place to deal with facing the trauma.
We listened to Sally herself talk about becoming a good advocate, alongside the idea of a ‘me holiday’. Just to prove I listened, this morning at Church I was asked whether I could just do a little extra job… I said ‘no’ Key for me from this was the idea that if you are the column holding everything up, you have got to look after yourself. That it is okay to say no. And avoid the drains (which I might write on everything I own), don’t spend time with people who drain you, spend time with radiators the people who make you better.
Sally also talked about dealing with schools – which I think for me, is a whole separate blog post, and some conversations at work this week.
We heard from We are Family and how they are supporting parents in London. We heard how they have set up the groups and how they operate. I think there are lot of worthwhile things that we can all take from what was said.
We heard from Ella about Open Spaces and as small groups shared some ideas of things we would like to discuss in further detail. Typically our table talked about life story work, because this is a local issue at the moment, and whenever several of us are together it comes to the fore.
Finally we heard from Vicki and Sarah from the Adoption Social on the merits of using social media as a support tool. I don’t need to be convinced of this, I have blogged for 7 1/2 years (on a different blog for most of that time) and found connections through this. More recently (April 2012 apparently) I started using twitter more. They also talked about the website broadening the idea of adoption, adding fun and other people’s views.
An truly amazing day, with lots of think about and lots to contemplate. I am so glad that I got to go, and that I got be amongst friends. I did contemplate on Fri evening, when Boyo spent 4 hours crying in his sleep whether I would a) be able to go, or b) that it would be worth the fallout. I now know that it was, yesterday was hard for himself, today has been interesting for us… but I feel more able to continue the fights that we need to have and more able to look after myself and therefore more able to look after my family.