The seminar went really well. There were 8 other couples besides us. When we walked into the classroom Friday evening everybody, including us, had a sorta "deer in the headlights" look on their face; everybody was quiet. We grabbed our manuals and name tags and found a spot in the back of the room. The 2 ladies in charge (AO's program supervisor and a volunteer; both adoptive moms) were very upbeat and tried their best to get us to relax and laugh.
The seminar was also on Saturday and Sunday. Throughout the weekend we heard from 2 birthmoms in very open adoptions, an adoptive couple with their brand new baby (so cute!!!), a lawyer, an adult adoptee from a closed adoption that is now open (she also works at AO) and of course many, many stories from the 2 ladies leading the seminar. I think all these firsthand accounts was my favourite part of the seminar.
My other favourite part was meeting other people in the same boat (or similar situations, at least) as us. My MIL (Hubby's parents adopted through this same agency about 22 years ago) had told me that we might make friends, and I went into it looking forward to meeting other people but not expecting to really connect with anybody. Well, turns out we connected with the other couple at our table! It is not my place to share any of the other couple's stories, so suffice to say we had a number of things in common with this couple, including age, heritage, etc. We'll possibly even get together with them yet so I am looking forward to that!
One things I was a little nervous about was that I assumed everyone else there would be there because of infertility, plain and simple. I knew that we didn't fit neatly into that box, and our reasons for adopting are a little more complex. (I think the only reason I was a little nervous about this was because my MIL had recounted how when they were adopting years ago, other couples didn't think it was fair because my in-laws already had one child (my husband) while the other couples didn't have any children yet.) But we were all encouraged to share briefly why we were adopting, and I was surprised at the wide and varied responses - unexplained infertility, medical reasons, recurrent miscarriages, homosexuality, etc. The different reasons gave me comfort that our reason was okay. I especially appreciated the reasons the couple in front of us shared with me during a break.
Our manual covers a lot of stuff, and I took a bunch of notes, too. We really learned a lot and I am so glad we went. By the end of the weekend our leaders had succeeded and we were all relaxed and laughing! Of course there had been many tears throughout the weekend as well.