Thursday, 8 December 2011
Why I’m going to Summit this year — and you should, too
Next time we go to Uganda (which could happen sooner than I thought it might, stay tuned), it will be different.
On my third trip there, I will see it through new eyes. Specifically, my 9-year-old daughter’s.
Her empathy is deep and wide. Her heart will fall in love with the country and the continent, and I have a feeling it’ll be broken a bit by it, too. Like mine was. Like mine is.
I told a lovely group of women last week that we mothers are the vision-casters for our children’s lives.
Audrey has seen my dedication to Uganda and love for its people, and she wants to join the mission, too. I couldn’t be prouder. Not because I’ve done something in her, but because God has.
Africa is already part of our family, but after she experiences it for herself, I’m sure it will be part of her heart, too.
* * *
I have a confession: I judged too soon.
Thinking I knew the spirit and intent of the Christian Orphan Care Movement, I have written that I’m not sure I can support Orphan Sunday. That I’m not sure it’s a good idea to cast ourselves as the heroes and the “poor orphans” as the rescued. That I’m wary of what I viewed as too heavy a focus on the beginnings of things. (Or maybe that was my focus before actually adopting.)
I’m still conflicted about the movement as a whole, because I know that some families might want to join the movement and enter into adoption-as-mission, which makes children into projects, and that’s not healthy either.
But now I know something else: The Christian Alliance for Orphans is doing it right.
Next week (!!), I’m attending Summit 9, Christian Alliance for Orphans’ two-day conference on adoption, foster care and global orphan care initiatives.
I’m going to soak in the presence and calm that is Karyn Purvis and learn all I can about attachment. I will attend workshops on being a multi-racial family and hear from adoptees and orphan care/adoption advocates. I’m excited to see a screening of the documentary STUCK, and even get some ideas on how to use photojournalism in my creative work. I’m even going to a special Blogger Breakfast!
But one workshop I’m probably most excited about? Is called ‘Ministry is a Family Thing.’ About how families can cast a vision for service and mission across generations. Taught by Mary Beth Chapman and her daughter, Emily. As in, Steven Curtis Chapman’s Mary Beth Chapman. As in, adoptive mother, author, non-profit founder and one of my heroes. I’m so excited to sit and learn from her and her daughter.
And then maybe just a little while later, I’ll be taking my daughter to Africa.
* * *
Summit 9 has something for everyone who is touched by orphan care, adoption and foster care. They have a session for adoptive mothers coping with the emotional turmoil that often comes with adoptive parenting. There are workshops on special needs adoption, older child adoption, and even adoption disruption. If you’re looking to build an orphan care ministry in your church or community, there is plenty of information and resources here to get you started. There are tracks for pastors, adoption service professionals and child welfare professionals, too.
Besides connecting with some good friends in Nashville during my stay, it will be magical to connect with other adoptive families and advocates — just to breathe the same air with people who share my passion for adoption.
And maybe in a few years when she’s exploring God’s call on her life, Audrey will come with me to Summit, too.
Are you attending Summit 9? Leave a note in the comments and let’s meet up there!