Empowered to Connect is an organization run by Dr. Karyn Purvis who is the Director of Child Development at TCU. She specializes in at-risk children and educates foster and adoptive parents about how to better parent kids from 'hard places' to help them heal and become all that God desires for them to be. It was a two day conference that included almost 16 hours of lectures from Dr. Purvis and other speakers on all different topics relating to parenting adopted children.
This conference was absolutely phenomenal. We loved having time away to focus on our role as parents, our boys and each other. I loved being in a room with nearly 1,000 other adoptive and foster parents - there is just something encouraging about seeing so many people who are like-minded and in the trenches of parenting just like you!
We both learned so much and it was very encouraging to hear from someone who understands some of the challenges we have faced, specifically with Caleb. While Caleb was only in the orphanage for 6 months we have seen lasting effects that impact his personality and behavior. His story is not nearly as hard as some of the children's stories that we heard at the conference. Regardless, we want to learn everything we can about how to parent our boys and our future children, too. The stories and words of Dr. Purvis left us in tears many times as we related to what she shared.
We learned about how a lack of nurturing in the early part of a child's life affects their brain development, and therefore their behavior and ability to process sensory information. Dr. Purvis made sense of many things we've observed in Caleb. She also shared how God created the parent/child relationship to be and how He has given us as parents the opportunity to be 'vessels of healing' for our kids. We learned lots of strategies and techniques to try with Caleb.
We started implementing those strategies almost immediately when we got home and have already seen positive results. Caleb had a great week at school - the teachers reported he was more focused on his handwriting (a real struggle for him) and that when he did have one behavior issue he corrected it immediately the next day after we did a behavior strategy at home with him that night.
We know that God has incredible plans for our boys, and as we have faced some challenges in parenting Caleb we have seen God be faithful to equip us for this journey! He has not called us to this adoption journey without His promise to give us what we need for the road ahead. We can easily see that being adoptive parents is an opportunity to be sanctified by Him and to grow closer to Him!
We bought a full DVD set of all of Dr. Purvis' lectures. We hope to review all of them ourselves and hope to have opportunities to share them with other adoptive parents. They are a fantastic resource that has truly given us HOPE and DIRECTION as we parent our precious boys!