So Friday evening, the first day of the conference, there was much to do! But first, what to do with the boys? Well, a friend of mine, Kaci, who lives in the DC area has a teenage daughter Kira. God Bless Kira! With zero notice she dropped everything and gave up her weekend (and time saying goodbye to her boyfriend) to watch the boys for me a few times over the course of the weekend. I don't know what I would have done without her.
But first, Angela was going to spend the evening at the Youth and Adult conference meeting all her new friends. She was SO EXCITED that I was leaving her. "Mom. Just GO." as she walked away with a backward wave over her shoulder. (I'll explain more about the Y & A conference in a separate post.) Can you find Angela at the table with her friends, ignoring me?
Then I raced to the lobby to meet Kaci and her kids as they arrived at the hotel. It suddenly turned into a Serbian reunion. See these three kids? ALL THREE adopted from Serbia. Sofija was adopted first, then Axel and Asher. While families who've adopted from Ukraine run into one another all the time, the kids from Serbia a rare in the U.S. (there were only 7 in 2011, and 12 in 2010.)
I quickly showed Kira to the hotel room, got them set up with electronics, then bolted to the sharing session I'd chosen to attend. There were several sharing sessions from which to choose from. These are informal sessions meant to be more like group discussions than anything else. There were LOTS of topics! My friend Bethany Balsis asked me to come to her session on blogging to offer any input that might come to mind.
I can't say I had much to offer, but it was a lot of fun meeting people who I know from the blogosphere along with others who are considering starting a blog. So fun to finally put names to faces!
Because I didn't have anyone to watch the kids the entire evening, I didn't take them to the opening ceremonies. I figured it would just be too long to sit and there would be plenty of sitting over the course of the weekend. I really missed not being able to attend this. Still, check out this room, all set up for the ceremonies. That is A LOT of chairs! I don't know what the final numbers were for attendance.
For the youth and adults, the highlight of Friday night is......(drumroll please!)....The DANCE! What would a DS conference be without dancing? Dean made an observation once a few years ago. These particular dances are a lot like going to a wedding where everyone has already had a bit to drink. There are NO inhibitions!!! NONE! The DJ doesn't have work to get people dancing, all he has to do is start the music. The people in this community dance from the moment the first note is played and continue dancing their hearts out until the very last note ends. Even then you might have to drag some off the dance floor! Axel loved the dancing, Asher...well he wasn't a fan of the music and cheering people. When the dance first started he was ok, but after that he spent a lot of time with his hands over his ears. I had arranged for someone to be with us at the conference knowing Asher would not tolerate this event. After I recorded this he and I moved to a different area where he was only slightly happier. This video was taken right away when the music started. You cans see there is still a lot of space! It's the only time Asher was happy, but the other two??? Total blast!
Within about 20 minutes it was PACKED and I had a hard time keeping track of my big kids. LOL
Axel even got to dance with Diondra Dixon, sister to Jamie Foxx.
It was a very fun day, one that none of my kids will soon forget! Next up? The workshops!