There were all sorts of reasons to be nervous leading up to very first Open Nest Conference. It was called Taking Care. I hoped that everyone who was coming would feel we’d taken care. How awful if it had been a bit rubbish and not deserved it’s title at all.
We are on the face of it, a motley crew – a bunch of speakers and trustees and delegates, adopters, adoptees and professionals, who had ‘got to know’ each other mainly on social media. We are primarily parents, and worse than that many of us are mothers. The mother’s union. As Jazz said, we are the adoption WI. It’s not always easy to carve out a space for yourself when you’re a not quite parent, without a job and with a head full of trauma which few other people understand.
How bloody marvellous it was then to spend the day amongst friends, getting to really know those we twitter know, not having to explain anything, finding so much common ground, not having to tip-toe around and laughing a lot (in that ‘I’M AWAY FOR A WHOLE WEEKEND’ way). How marvellous it was to see Taking Care unfolding.
I came away with so much.
I learnt a lot from watching Severance again, particularly alongside Fran’s experience and views about contact and coping with past trauma. It reminded me that despite similarities in experiences, everyone has a different story, if we just take care to listen.
I learnt that despite it’s misuse in some circles, social media can be a real force for good.
I learnt that yes, I’m not the only one who has discovered (not altogether great) things about myself through parenting a traumatised child in the wee small hours.
I learnt that importance of clear-sightedness and pragmatism in seeing what’s needed to support a community and just getting on and doing it, whether that’s online or in real life.
I also learnt that a special cable is required to connect a macbook to a projector.
My message to Open Nest Towers, as life hunkers down for a bit after a busy time, is this – you achieved something marvellous, through taking some care. Your conference well-deserved it’s name.