The tires of my purple van would have screeched on the pavement had I arrived early enough to secure one of those coveted spots. But today there was no sound of burning rubber because I arrived late and the only spot left was far out in the grass. Across the parking lot, keys jingling and purse thumping my hip, cursing Google Maps that had given me faulty directions, I ran. The auditorium was full and although a friend had saved me a seat near the front, my insecurities resigned me to the balcony. So I slithered in trying to avoid drawing attention, my mind like a shaken snow globe trying to settle.
She stood on the platform, Dr. Karin Purvis, with her humble manner and relaxed posture. Her passion, seeing children from hurt places experience healing. My paper was out and notes were being scribbled as she spoke. Why do I care what she has to say? Because I've seen it. I've seen the hollow look and awoke to the screams at night. I've seen the anger bottled up and heard the cry that comes from the toes. I've heard the questions that I can't answer about unknowns of the past and I've seen the shadow that haunts periodically. The auditorium was full of adoptive parents and social workers that have seen it too.
"Why did you adopt me if you can't help me?" asked one older child to his bewildered mother. She shared the question with us and it seemed to take the breath out of all in the auditorium. Another mother of nine shared that she began adopting because she wanted her children to feel safe and offer them a home, but after years she realized it wasn't enough. Their hearts were broken and needed healing and this brokeness was effecting them physically. Actually causing the brain to send mixed messages that was confusing everyone. Like many before her and after her, she tried to parent in the same ways that had been passed down through the generations and was spinning in circles as her children were lost in grief and confusion.
The Empowered to Connect Conference blew through Chicago in two days but left a lasting mark on me and my fellow note-takers. If you have adopted, are adopting, or have thought of adopting please consider reading Dr. Purvis' book, The Connected Child. Because there may come a day when the bubble of "that won't be my child" will pop and you'll be able to dust off a great resource from someone who's been there.
With coffee in hand and time on your side, consider watching this video of Dr. Purvis. It is an investment that your children will thank you for.