Intense weekend, and no time to recover

This is not going to be the post I had hoped I could write about the American Adoption Congress conference in Cleveland last weekend. I got home late on Monday, woke up to a really intense work day, and have another trip to prepare for on Thursday. And to be honest, I've got so much personal email and other stuff to catch up on that the thought of starting after being tied to my PC at work all day makes me faint.

So for the moment, I'll just say this:

The conference was excellent: great sessions, Jean Strauss's deeply moving film For the Life of Me, Saturday keynote by Paula Benoit of Adoptee CARE, a wonderful performance by Darryl McDaniels at the Saturday benefit, excellent books available - it was really, really good. There was even the very unexpected news that my sister-in-law's brother was one of the recipients of ANC's annual Triad Advocate of the Year award - talk about six degrees of separation!! But the best thing of all was being able to get together with people I've met in real life and online, and to make new friends as well. That was better than good, it was terrific.

First and foremost, I give a deep bow and huge thanks to Suz for agreeing to do our session Nine Months: Gains and Losses at the conference. Our session contrasted the time before an adoption from our very different points of view. My portion was a piece of cake, but Suz's brought back many painful memories, which she shared with great courage and dignity with an audience that made it very clear how validating it was to hear her. I'm in awe of that, and of her ability to communicate. Thank you, Suz!! (I'll post later about the session, and about the other one I did on transracial adoptive parenting, but I want to do them justice and now's not the time - too much to do to get ready for vacation #2 on Thursday.)

The blogger contingent was there in force, and it was great seeing friends like Suz, my friend Marilyn and her daughter, Judy (I love laughing with you, Judy, cannot wait to do it again!), Marley (who has the most encyclopedic brain you can imagine, along with a great sense of humor), and Pam (I want to be Pam when I grow up.) On top of seeing these wonderful people, I also got to meet others I have wanted to know for a long time: Dawn (and Pennie, Madison of the 50K watt smile, Noah and Brett, too), Shannon (omigosh she is incredibly smart), Jenna (so, so sweet, just the nicest person you would ever meet). A bunch of us had lunch together on Saturday and had the best time. These are women I wish were closer so we could do that every month. It was THE BEST! I love you all!!

And then there are the new friends: I was leaving the building on Friday after a session and literally bumped into Malinda - amazing woman, and great fun! I met a terrific Dad from California who joined us for lunch on Sunday, and another great young man, a bi-racial adopted person who works for an adoption agency who is doing outstanding work on transracial parenting preparation. There were many more, but I was happy to have the chance to get to know these new friends, and hope our paths cross again soon.

I wish I had photos, but I forgot my camera - Suz has a great slideshow up, though, and Marley has photos here and here, too.

One more thing, which I'll post more about later: be sure to visit Darryl McDaniels' and Zara Phillips' YouBloom site to hear their song I'm Legit, which they performed at the benefit on Saturday night!

Thank you to everyone at American Adoption Congress and Adoption Network Cleveland for a job very well done. It's hard work to put on an event like this, and you did it beautifully!

Wow this ended up being more than I thought it would be, but there's still more to come.


suz said…
No thanks needed. Mine experience wouldnt have been much without yours to contrast/compare against. We needed both to make an impact. I think we did.

Enjoy your second vacay.
Juliette said…
Sounds very interesting and busy!
Might have been nice indeed to meet all these amazing women.
malinda said…
It was really fantastic to meet you, Margie! And I LOVED your presentation with Suz, and your solo-presentation about transracial/transcultural adoption. Just like when reading your blog, I learned TONS listening to you at the conference!
maryanne said…
It was great to meet you at AAC, and your workshop was wonderful.It is always good to be reminded that adoptive mothers are not all "evil adopters" and the enemy.Lovely when people of good will can throw away the stereotypes and work together.
Margie said…
Ditto, Maryanne, it was great meeting you, too! And Malinda, how cool was it to just bump into you - I really appreciate your support at the sessions and am glad you found them helpful. I enjoyed doing them both a lot.

Suz: What can I say? Many thanks for working together, I knew it would result in a really good session. The feedback we received from the audience that day tells me we were on the money. You were amazing, simply the best. (((hugs)))

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