How to Pay for Our Healing Retreat for Adoptees and a Horrifying Look at My Peet's Bill

I’m writing this to tell you that if you are adopted or if you love someone who is adopted, you need to get yourself or your loved one to our retreat Beyond Adoption: You. I saw what happened during and after the first one, and, truly, it was and is magical. More than one of the ten people who attended told us it was the single best thing they had ever done for themselves. How many times in your life will you be in a room of adopted people with a writer and a therapist, all bent not on repeating stories of woe and of suffering, but bent on healing and on learning skills in order to have the best most amazing lives possible?

It’s hard to put a price tag on a healing event that shifts a person so deeply pieces start to fall into place for the first time, ever. 

Leslie Mackinnon, first mother and LCSW, wrote to us after talking to one of the people who’d been to the first retreat. She said, “I'd like to add a word about your recent retreat. One of your participants is a friend of mine and I asked her permission to share here w/o using her name. She told me she was fine if I wanted to name her. So let me say that "something huge changed internally" for my pal Katie. We were sitting in a small group and someone commented on it as Katie was sharing about the retreat. It was palpable, as if she'd come out from behind an invisible wall. She was so much more present among us. Mind you, never before did we notice her 'not being' present. But the difference in her was so noticeable it was mind-boggling. So keep it up you two, I think you've found a winning combination! It is incumbent upon us to chart ways to healing and we can do that in concert with one another, through so many varied modalities. I adore this community!  Kudos you two!!!”

Adoptees: how do we afford healing? Our retreat is $675 not even including transportation, lodging and food! But truly, how do we not afford healing? What does it cost to have stress and trauma-related health problems? Extra therapy sessions? Pints of Ben & Jerry’s? Dirty martinis? Prescription pills? Weight-watchers? Credit card debt? Anger management classes?

How much energy does it take to live while depressed, anxious, isolated, disappointed, traumatized? What’s even the point of having money if you aren’t living a life that feels like yours? You don’t have anything if you don’t have your self. Money is energy, and one of the most powerful things we can do is take inventory and decide where our energy is going and where it could go to make life significantly more comfortable. That’s when we start to buzz. That’s when we, I, can put down the kombucha, the Peet’s, because I’m already, sweet happiness, slightly high.

Our retreat is designed to open your life to abundant new possibilities. To see through new eyes. And to experience a deep bond with the group that propels changes long after the retreat has ended. 

Here are more ways to be creative about money:

1.     PPO insurance is therapy friendly. It usually covers a significant portion of out of network providers—on an individual and group therapy basis. 

2.     Pre-tax dollars put in health savings accounts can be used for therapy and retreats when run by a licensed professional like Pam. 

3.     If you own a business and your business improves with life coaching, a retreat can be a legitimate tax write off as well as the transportation, lodging and food.

Facing my issues with relinquishment and adoption has saved me so much money this year.

I hate to pull out numbers because then I will have to see how much I was willing to work my ass to get money in exchange for just getting to stay in my routine of chasing a few minutes of high. The thing is, no one labels you an addict in the you really need to address this way if you are addicted to things you can buy at the local store and legally eat or drink while driving.

Here goes. If I could hold my own hand and type at the same time, I would. This all hurts already and I haven’t even seen the numbers.

Every day I used to have one and a half kombuchas. My friend Janie called it snot in a bottle, but I liked the fermented drink because it got me a little high. They also, it turned out, gave me diarrhea. You’d think it wouldn’t have taken me three years to notice, but notice is slow going when a buzz is involved. The kombuchas I bought are about $4 a bottle, and so that was $6 a day, $42 a week, roughly $168 in a 30-day month. Three hundred and sixty-five days times $6 is, god help me, $2,190 a year for the bubbly stuff that makes me burp and poop.

And now for Peet’s.

Every morning… I know. I know. I don’t even want to continue because I can see where this is going and the waste of it all is making my fingers go weak. Every morning I would get a decaf iced Americano and an iced tea to pour into the Americano so I could have some caffeine. Don’t ask, okay? Addiction is a fine art and it makes people, me, do whacky things. Including tip, this came to $6 a day. The thing of it was that by mid-afternoon I’d be hitting a slump, so I’d head back for another iced tea, handing over another $3. So that’s (ack) $9 a day at Peet’s.

Do I really have to do the math?

$3,285.

This is where, if it wasn’t for Brené Brown, I’d be taking a shame shower.

Luckily, I’m just gagging a little bit on the steep financial loss that went straight down my gullet all in the hopes of getting a little high. A high I realized, as I faced reality, that was my effort in not staring down the grief of abandonment and the deep-seated confusion I lived with as an adopted person. Kombucha and Peet’s were my pain relievers, and now I don’t need them because I stopped running. I let myself feel the pain. I wrote a book, cried, blogged, and, best and most powerful of all, I connected with other adopted people and learned I was not alone. At all. I was in such good company. That changed everything. I was in community of adopted people, finally, that reflected who I was and how I felt in the deepest places of my soul. 

The most extravagant thing I had done for myself when I was first coming out of the fog and realizing that adoption had affected my entire life was to use my emergency credit card to pay for a four-day writing retreat that, with travel and food, was going to cost me about $3,000. This retreat, while not helpful as far as learning about the craft of writing, was priceless in the connections I made with the some of the writers who had also paid the $3,000. The stakes are raised when you invest in yourself and your desire for the future. You meet people who are as dedicated as you are, and it’s game on.

If I had not gone to this retreat, there is a really good chance I would not have written You Don’t Look Adopted. There are many, many people I would not have met because I would not have lived in the East Village for three months. I would not have gone to Martha’s Vineyard for two weeks. I get a panicky feeling when I consider this--what I would have lost if I hadn’t been crazy enough to spend what I didn’t even have.

Thank the lord for credit.

Then again, I could have just skipped the kombucha and the trips to Peets and put all those dollars in a jar and flown first class and paid for the whole thing in cash. Next time.

Pam and I, more than anything, want to see you in Berkeley at our retreat this April or this July. We want you to see you. We want you to see you in community. In your own skin, feeling the buzz of I got this.

You can read more about the details and the feedback we got for those who attended in March here: http://www.anneheffron.com/home/2018/2/24/heres-the-skinny-on-the-healing-retreats-beyond-adoption-you.

Here’s to saving money so we can spend it on things that really matter. things that reflect our self-worth and our excitement about the fact that we have the rest of our lives to deeply celebrate ourselves and those we love.