So the last few days one of my best girl friends, Jen, (who has lots of English heritage) has been inundated with photos, people and stories from the Netherlands (which is my heritage). She has sent me a few texts talking about when we last went to Holland and visited the Keukenhof and Harlingen. She ran into someone from Friesland and saw a mural of the tulips at the doctors office. She even made friends with someone who brought one of our favourite Dutch treats (boterkoek/Buttercake) to a party.
Today is my turn to text her because I am away at a 3 day training and staying at a hotel and who enters the hot tub with us but a couple of awesome chicks from England. She will think it’s pretty funny even if you don’t but my story isn’t really about that anyways.
What I want to write about is what I learned from the hot tub encounter.
Back track….. my friend Sue and I are at a hotel for the week and we are going to training to learn to teach others how to become fantastic foster parents and adoptive parents. Tall order!
Back to the hot tub. Anyone who knows me, knows I love me some swim time. As soon as I get some free time, I’m in the pool. I bring a bathing suit with me everywhere I go “just in case”. So after eating way too many fries for dinner, we went to work off some calories in the pool. After the pool, we went to relax in the hot tub. In steps some ladies whom I have a hard time understanding. Of course I’m thrilled to meet anyone from other countries. I feel like I can travel and learn just by talking to them. Learn we did.
Now here’s the part where God steps in. Some would say it’s a coincidence, but I know better. We weren’t in the tub for more than 2 minutes when she starts telling us that she is visiting Canada to meet her half-sister who was adopted at birth. She told us her story and how she has spent the last ten years of her life researching her family tree. She has British royalty in her bloodlines which is really neat. What really fascinated me was listening to her sense of loss. Ok that might sound bad but think about it. Here we are about to spend 3 days learning about how to teach others to be adoptive parents and the first person we meet is a woman who is in her 60’s pouring her heart out about how painful it was to find out she is not who she was lead to believe. She spoke about how she feels a huge loss of identity suddenly finding out her last name isn’t even her birth name. Now this woman was raised by her birth mother but her birth father’s identity was changed. She was lead to believe that the man her mother married later was her biological father. She also found out she has a half sister who was placed for adoption at birth and is now living in the States. She was in Canada to meet a cousin she had traced and connected with online. She now feels as though her whole life is a sham.
It was amazing to me sitting and listening to this woman who so clearly was meant to be there sharing with us at that moment. Later we told her why we were there and she seemed as taken a back as we were. How nutty that she gets in the tub with two foster/adoptive moms. We talked fostering and adoption, mental illness, drugs, and much more. She was very happy to hear about how open we are with our adopted children. She wanted to impress upon us how important roots are and how important it is not to lie to the children even if it’s awkward. She talked about how important truth is and how important learning about our heritage is.
Isn’t that amazing? I’m already feeling blessed because we got a free room upgrade to an awesome suite with full kitchen and our room is big and feels like home. Now I’m feeling like I’ve already been impressed upon and I haven’t even started the training yet! I just know that we will learn a lot and we will meet many more people with stories like our new friends “the English hot tub buddies.”
Lesson’s learned from today:
- Talk to strangers. Everyone has a story.
- Don’t stay in your room the whole time you are in a hotel.
- Listen and let people speak their story.
- We can learn from everyone.
- God places people in your path on purpose.
- We can grow and learn if our eyes, ears and minds are open.