Julie and I are (only three weeks in to the waiting) are feeling very well taken care of by Barker. We have been matched with and met with two mentor families who are incredibly helpful, open and nice; we have attended our first (possibly of many) waiting parents group; and just recently attended The Barker Foundation's annual conference.
The conference was just full of great information and people. The keynote was given by Collins Tuohy, sister of Michael Oher (if you're not familiar with either of these names, see The Blind Side). While her delivery was a tad tone deaf at times (she twice referred to "Orientals"), her message was basically a good one - don't think, just go out and help. Now this talk was also a tad awkward for this audience because her message was all about adopting a child to do a good deed. Admirable as that is, it is not the reason Julie and I (or I suspect many adoptive parents) are adopting. We are adopting because we want to be parents, not because we want to be saints.
The closing speaker was Scott Simon (he of NPR Weekend Edition Saturday fame) who was, as you might imagine, a fantastic speaker. He and his wife have adopted two girls from China and he has a book coming out this summer called Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption. He was an articulate and funny speaker who hit all the right notes about adoption and parenting.
In between these two speakers was an afternoon of breakout sessions that covered topics like transracial adoptions, blended families (families with birth and adopted children), and open adoptions. These sessions were extremely helpful but really reinforced that my education about adoption is just beginning.
I often wonder if I will be able to keep all this in mind while dealing with everyday parenting. There can be so many levels to parenting an adopted child that it seems like it can be overwhelming to keep it all in mind. Though I suppose all parents feel like this and most do great so I'm sure I will get there. The mountain always looks more daunting at the bottom.