Monday, April 26, 2010

"Strengthening Families" Adoption Conference 2010

This past weekend marked a very special event--the first ever-national conference for Ukrainian adoptive parents!!My team and I (pictured above) have been hard at work since September,planning and dreaming and puttingtogether all the details for our 2010 Adoption Conference- “Strengthening Families.”
The only thing we hadn’t planned on was a volcano to stir things up at the last minute. (Note to self: keep in mind that natural disasters can really mess up human plans! Second note to self: God is still in control!)

With only one keynote speaker kept away by the volcano, the conference went on! We had 85 Adoptive/Foster couples in attendance, from 16 regions of Ukraine, representing nearly 300 adopted or foster children!!!

Early this fall I approached the Radisson Hotel in Kiev to partner with our event and provide accommodations, conference halls and some meals for our participants. They went above our expectations and provided us with almost a 75% discount on accommodations. We were able to find various sponsors to provide the needed

funding, so conference participants only had to pay a small fee. It truly was a team effort to put this event on and it was amazing to see so many Christian organizations coming together to support something that was so needed.

Currently very few resources exist in the Russian language to help families parent children who have come out of trauma or abusive or institutional settings, and since the church as a whole has become more active in adoption and foster care, it has become clear that more training is needed.

This was one of the motivating factors to provide this conference.The couples in attendance were able to choose from a wide variety of workshops and then also attended 5 general sessions. We recently translated and published 3 books on
parenting adopted kids, and we had these resources available as well. People were so eager to get their hands on this material!

Many of these families came in from villages and remote regions of Ukraine, and had never been to Kiev before, let alone a 4 star business hotel!! We were amazed by Radisson’s hospitality and I even had several women come up to me throughout the weekend and tell me that they were living out their fairy tale.

Some of these families are parenting up to 10-12 children, so as you can imagine the weekend getaway for these couples was a much-needed time of rest and time to reconnect for them. I’ve never seen so many smiling Ukrainians all at once!! :)

couple's forum on Saturday
night sparked some interesting questions for the panel! (r)

Kristi and I
checking in on Friday
Yuliya selling newly published books!

planning team and some of the speakers

It was truly a weekend to remember and I pray that all the parents who attended will be returning to their children today full of encouragement and with new skills to meet their needs. Thank you Lord for the opportunity to put on such an amazing event- may this be the beginning of a new movement to come.


Bryna Brown said...

Wow Karen, Amazing! May Jesus continue to work through you as you produce immense FRUIT in Kiev!

KKrombein said...

That's awesome!

Kari said...

Sounds like a wonderful weekend. Thank you for helping equip and encourage adoptive and foster parents!

Gary and Beverly said...

We're so happy that it went well. God can even shut down volcanos.

Gary & Beverly