Empowered to Connect is a wonderful ministry that we often refer our families to for excellent resources related to attachment and healing. Dr. Karyn Purvis has written a book we ask all of our adoptive families to read – The Connected Child. ETC hosts several conferences each year designed to help adoptive and foster parents ‘better understand how to connect with children from hard places in order to help them heal and become all that God desires them to be.’
Earlier this month several YWAM adoptive parents attended the latest ETC conference in Nashville where they not only heard some great speakers but got to meet each other face to face instead of just via blogs and Facebook!
We asked them to tell us a few things they came away from this weekend with and here are their responses…
The Empowered to Connect conference was a big wake-up call to me in a good way. My husband and I were so intentional about preparing ourselves for our son's homecoming and about implementing what we had learned when he came home. But now that our son has been home almost 9 months, I realized that we had slipped into a new normal that wasn't as intentional simply because our son had transitioned so well. I learned so much at the conference about the brain of an adoptive or foster child and the incredible power of intentional nurture and structure. Now my husband and I have a new game plan for intentionally connecting with our son in this season. So thankful for the reminder that connecting is a lifelong journey! ~ Tara Dunn
Probably my favorite part of the experience was getting to hang out with other adoptive moms... most notably YWAM ones of course. : ) That being said, the conference was excellent as well. As our daughter has been settling in, I've gotten a bit lazy with her in terms of those intentional attachment fostering activities. I was challenged to bring back that intentionality for even up to 2 years. Dr. Purvis was amazing to hear and as I listened so many people were coming to mind as people who would benefit from hearing her. If there are people out there who are feeling hopeless about the progress their kiddos are making or about their future, they should go! ~Marcy Fitzpatrick
I came away from this weekend thinking that we need to be more intentional in our parenting. I feel like we do well as far as interacting and playing with our kids, but we need to continue to grow in being intentional with all our kids. ~Julie Steimer
The three biggest "take aways" from the conference were:
Voice: Tone, volume, and body language. The words can get lost on our children (especially non-English speakers), but the voice does not. They need to know how precious they are from our voice.
Motivation to adopt: It is important for us to explore our motivation to adopt because it forms the foundation of the expectations of our child. How will I answer the question, "Why did you adopt me?" They will ask it. So I need to be prepared to answer it.
Saying yes: Find ways to say yes! Children who have not experienced a break in care have heard "yes" thousands of times. "Yes, I will feed you." "Yes, I will change you." "Yes, I will hold you." Our children come home and need to hear the thousand "yes's", before the "no" means anything.
~ Jen Morgan
The Empowered to Connect conference was AMAZING! Even though we had read Dr. Purvis' book and many others, we feel so much more equipped to parent our daughter when she comes home. It gave us a very clear picture of what we could encounter in parenting her and the medical reasons behind it (the books did too but something about hearing it and seeing it played out in the video clips just made it stick). Knowing that we aren't just going to be dealing with emotional scarring but that there is a brain and chemistry change (even if a child is brought home as an infant) that happens to children from hard places, and having it explained, gave us new insight that we hadn't had before. But Dr. Karyn Purvis didn't just leave us there. She gave us many tools (a tool box full!) to use to help us promote attachment and parent our daughter the best we possibly can. I would highly recommend the conference to every adoptive parent...no matter where you are on your journey. ~Eric & Jessi Nurmi
Perhaps you’ll be able to attend one of ETC’s upcoming weekend conferences. Even if you can’t go, be sure to sign up to receive their blog posts and new resources via email here. .