We kicked things off with a Mixer on Friday night at the NC Music Factory where we caught up, ate barbecue, and played "Minute to Win it"! All of the ladies were separated into two teams and one at a time, each team had to send one person up to complete against one from the other where they played ridiculous games for 1 minute against each other. I felt bad for the people in the next room because we were definitely NOT quiet, haha! It was hilarious and a lot of fun!
Saturday morning, we kicked the day off with an activity in which a stack of cards was passed around the room, with each card having a different shoe. Each lady picked out a shoe that she believed represented her the best. We all then went around the room and explained why we chose the shoe we did. Next, we headed out into our breakout session! This year, Amy Schumaker led a session titled, "Identifying your Support System". Betty Phillips taught others some helpful strategies she has used to get through the holidays. Jennifer Abbe shared how vision boards helped her picture her future and helped others make their own boards to be a reminder of their dreams and goals for the future. Leah Outten and Amy Schumaker led a discussion with others on adoptions down the road to help navigate topics such as relationship changes and maintaining boundaries. After breakout sessions, we moved on to craft time where everyone made their own ...yes....shoes!! Next, we all moved to a yummy italian bar complete with salad, garlic bread, and two different kinds of pastas.
We started the afternoon portion of the day with a balloon release where attendees wrote a prayer, wish, or dream for their child on a slip of paper, tied it to a balloon, prayed, and then released it. Leilani shared a devotion she wrote describing the different friends in your life and relating them to different types of shoes. Amy Schumaker, fellow birthmom, shared her story. Next, local adoptive mom, Ginny Chole and her daughter, Lindsay Smith (also an adoptive mom) spoke beautifully, sharing their hearts and love for the birth moms of their children. I can personally say that everyone in that room was touched by their words.
We then watched the 2016 slideshow Coley created and afterward held the candlelight ceremony. We ended the day, by announcing the 2016 Buddy of the Year. Congratulations to Leah Outten!
That evening, we went to Mellow Mushroom for dinner as a group. This was a time in which we reflected on the weekend, laughed, and got to know more about each other! We ended the festivities on Sunday morning with a bittersweet farewell breakfast.
We want to take a moment to thank everyone who played a part in making this year's retreat a success. Thanks to all the birth moms who attended, the sponsors and contributors who helped pull off this event, and the many people who donated items for our gift bags. Special thanks to Melanie Mosberg, our event coordinator.
This event would not have been possible without each of you!