27 women, 27 unique stories, less than 5 hours of sleep each night, 3 days in 1 city all combined together creates a very exhausting weekend. Sound like fun?? Well I was one of the 27 women doing exactly that, this past weekend!!
For some of you who follow me on Facebook will know that I went down to Charlotte, North Carolina this past weekend for the Birthmom Buds Birthmother's Day Celebration. Birthmother's day is the day before Mother's Day. Since a lot of birthmothers may be parenting children as well, Birthmom Buds put on the retreat the weekend before. This was my first year to be able to go. I had been wanting to go for several years but could never figure out how to go. I was given an amazing opportunity to go this year and I took it. Thank you to the person who gave me this opportunity!! I flew out early Friday morning and met Lani at the airport as her plane landed just about thirty minutes after my flight. We then shared a taxi ride over to the hotel. I met up with a couple other birthmoms who were sitting in the hotel lobby eating some breakfast. I sat for a few minutes while my room was being straightened out as our party was all suppose to be staying on the 10th floor. Once I got my room I went up and took a shower to try and wake myself up as I knew it would be a long day and probably a very late night.
Once I was ready, I heard a kock on the door and it was several other ladies wondering if I was ready to go. I grabbed what I needed and made sure I had my camera. Our hotel room was just across the street from the brand new NASCAR Hall of Fame. Two other birthmothers were already inside of the Hall of Fame and so Coley called them to see how far into the exhibit they were. They were not very far and so I embraced my inner redneck and excitedly walked up to buy a ticket for admission. If you are a NASCAR fan, please take an entire day and spend it at the Hall of Fame if you are ever in or very near Charlotte. Completely worth it, and discounted tickets can be found through your AAA membership!! After spending the rest of the morning and most of the afternoon at the Hall of Fame, we went back to the hotel to rest for a bit. I went back to my hotel room to get dressed for dinner as we were headed to a nice Italian place.
|Ladies at dinner - Friday Night|
Friday evening was spent with 19 other birthmothers and a few of their mothers. I shared an entree with someone as the entrees were huge!!! So yummy and I have found a place to eat at again when I go back to Charlotte! Friday night some of us ventured out to a bar called Howl at the Moon where there was some dueling piano playing going on. I didn't know what to expect, but found myself singing along to songs like "Brown Eyed Girl" and "American Pie". When we got back to the hotel a small group of us sat in Coley's hotel room telling each other our placement stories. I has been awhile since I have verbally told my story and it was great to hear other women their placement stories. It was amazing the bond that was really felt in that room. Women who were all like each other in so many ways young and older. 2:30a rolled around and it was definitely bedtime.
Saturday came quickly and I found out that I should probably share a room with someone next year. My alarm went off, and I thought I had hit the snooze button. Well the snooze never went back off and I woke up 40 minutes before the actual Birthmother's event started!! Talk about a rude awakening!! I took a very quick shower and tried to look as presentable as I could. I skipped any eye makeup as I figured it would be a pretty emotional day. I am a sympathy crier at times and didn't need to end up with burning racoon eyes!! The morning consisted of sitting through two different break-out sessions. The first one I chose was on close adoptions. Now before you say anything, "Yes I do have an open adoption, but I wanted to learn something new and I find the closed adoption world very interesting!" The session was on what to expect if a reunion happens and it goes wrong, or if a reunion never fully happens and how to cope. Most of the women who gathered around the table were all from the era of closed adoptions. Myself and another woman were the only ones who had an open adoption. I am just in awe at the women who were not given a choice of why type of adoption they wanted due to the time period of when their placement was. The other breakout session that I chose to sit through was how to deal with the shame and guilt one may have when dealing with adoption emotions. Once again very interesting and some got very emotional with this session. I am at peace at where I am for the most part in my adoption decision and so even though I may have some shame and/or guilt...I have been able to process a lot of these emotions already.After session number 2 we all ventured over to a different room and created a fun little craft tht was extremely easy. I will make sure to blog about that later this week!!!
|Katrina - one of the speakers who was a birthmother and an adoptive mom|
After lunch came a pretty emotional afternoon. Speakers that ranged from all sides of the Adoption Triad that had different walks of life and how they have dealt with the emotions from being in that part of the adoption triad. Once the speakers were done we did a balloon release and then watched the annual slideshow. I am one who can only watch the slideshow once a year and then I am done with it. I love viewing it each year but it is something that I can't watch over and over.
|2011 Balloon release|
|The dance club had glow glasses!!|
Yesterday I woke up and got ready to head on out. I didn't know what time check-out was and so I wanted to be prepared that it may be an early checkout right after breakfast. I said "see you later" to some of the women who had early flights to catch or were headed back home by car sooner than some of the rest of us. I l and 6 other women who all had late afternoon or evening flights spent the afternoon together exploring a little bit more of Charlotte. I fell in love with everything that Charlotte has to offer and I was sad when I was in the airport having to say goodbye to such an awesome city and the amazing women who I met over the weekend.
|Pam, one of the ladies who I hung out with Sunday afternoon|
I am looking forward to next year as I am definitely going back. I have already made plans that the day after I get back from my trip next year I am not doing anything but staying home and sleeping if I can. The retreat/girls weekend or whatever you want to call it was completely worth loosing sleep. I made friendships that I feel will last a very long time. I look forward to getting to know some of these women a little bit better (on their adoption life and their non-adoption life) over the next year and hopefully see some of them in person before next May!!!
|Melanie and I who share lots of things in common!|