“When you honor the birth family, you honor the child. When you don't honor the birth family, the child will believe that something is inherently wrong with him/her.” -S. Eldridge
I attended the 15th Annual Kids' Adoption Network Conference for adopted children/teens (grades 1-12) and their parents presented by CASE (The Center for Adoption Support & Education) this past Saturday. I am not an adopted child anymore and I am not an adoptive parent, but I met up with a dear friend who was a presenter and so I tagged along and "attended" the conference.
This is my second year "attending" and I have to say this organization does it right as far as support and education. Debbie Riley and her team has done an amazing job. I look forward to it every year. It's good for the soul to see an organization doing it right and doing it well. It's a great place for adoptees to find their tribe at a very young age and not feel so alone in it all. They are given space and resources to release their fears, rage, cry, vent...find friends who are "just like them"....a soft place to land. I only wish they had these types of organizations when I was little...what a difference it could have made in my life.
CASE does an amazing job at educating adoptive parents and there is no sugar coating the adoption truths. The presentations are frank and real. They tell it like it really is and for that I am incredibly proud to be affiliated in some small way to CASE. The parents that attend are some of the most courageous adoptive parents I have ever met. They are going against the tide of the "norm" and keeping an open mind, educating themselves and are putting the needs of their adopted child first. The kids I met were an amazing group, some with the most horrific stories, yet here they were, with their tribe, getting to the heart of the matter, getting through tough words and letting go, learning, venting the negatives and looking for the positives. It was inspiring.
I am not naive enough to think we can stop adoption, but what we can do is change the way people see adoption, how adoptions are handled, how records are handled, do away with secrets and lies, honor the birth family, honor the adoptive family and above all else, honor, support and validate the feelings of the adopted child. This organization is getting all of us one step closer.
Thank you CASE for recharging my positive adoption batteries. I am forever grateful.
Photo credit and more information on CASE