Monday, May 9, 2011

PRIDE Training - Day 1 & 2

Two days down and two to go! 

I think I can speak for both Nic and I when I say that PRIDE training was not what we thought it would be.  Throughout this process we both have felt like we have been made to jump through some unnecessary hoops.  On our way into Toronto at 4:45am on Friday (to avoid morning traffic), we both discussed that this was yet another hoop.  Was it really necessary for us to complete a training course, and a 27 hour one at that? Don't get me wrong, we are both willing to do anything to adopt.  We just thought this was maybe a bit much.

We were wrong...  This may be one of the first requirements in our Homestudy that actually makes sense (next to having to give references).  The material was all relevant and sparked some great questions and soul searching.  The material is there to inform prospective parents, and maybe scare off some that are not in it for the right reasons.  Our trainer Sofie Stergianis (and her co-trainers), present the information in a way that makes it interesting.  She has supplemented some of the required material, with her own, that she felt was important.  As a private practitioner, and a adoptive mother, she provided some true stories that solidified the information we were learning about. 

At times, the good, the bad and the ugly, were a bit heavy.  But we came away from the two days, happy for having known about it.  We did a number of group exercises, which allowed us to hear about other people's feelings, and experiences.  We met some truly amazing people, who I know we will keep in contact with.  It was amazing listening to people talk and think, that is exactly how I feel.  In allot of ways it was refreshing to learn we were not alone on this path towards being adoptive parents.

I do think parts of it were challenging for us.  Just getting Nic to sit still, indoors, for 16 hours, and pay attention.  I thought a miracle might have to happen to get that accomplished.  I know by the end of Sunday it was getting to him a bit, but he put 100% into the course and I was proud of him.  It demonstrated to me how dedicated he truly is to this.  Not that I needed that reinforcement, but it was wonderful none the less.  He was a bit nervous when he had to stand up and present some of our groups answers in front of the class.  He had no reason to be nervous because he did a great job and had everyone laughing by the end.

For me it is the opposite.  I feel like I can't shut up!  At the beginning she encouraged us to talk as much as we felt comfortable doing.  Emphasizing that she is going to be evaluating us, and her thoughts, and impressions would be part of our homestudy package.  At the beginning I think that was part of my motivation to speak up.  Especially since it seemed Nic and I were farther along in the process than most people, so I felt I had some valuable information to share.  By the end of the first day, I asked Nic if he thought I was talking too much.  He said no..... I'm not sure if I believe him....  I tried to say less the second day.  But by lunch I had noticed there were lots of people talking as much as I was.  It hit me that my goal throughout this process was to be myself.  I was surrounded by a great group of people, and if my input would help them in some way I was not holding back.  I'm a talker, so kill me!

Overall an amazing two days.  Some of the topics covered: Adoption Legislation, Private, CAS and International adoption processes, loss, attachment, effects of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse on the adopted child, strategies to help abused children, discipline, and positive adoption language.

This week is supposed to be a bit more fun.  We are going to have a number speakers come in.  I am interested to hear their stories.

We both really liked the three trainers, especially Sofie.  We are contemplating a consult with her, for some advice on strategy, once our homestudy is complete. 

The next two days of training are this Saturday and Sunday.  I am relieved to not have to drive in to Toronto on Friday again.  The traffic made travelling a real nightmare.

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