This year (for the first time!) we're opening it up to any meal — not exclusively dinner.
So you're welcome to host a brunch or a lunch! We know Saturdays can be busy for people's schedules (including yours) so we wanted you to pick what works best for you. There will be a BraveLove Zoom Party happening at 4pm CST. This is for any birth mom who doesn't have a dinner nearby OR isn't comfortable gathering in person. That said, try to avoid planning your meal during that time slot.
Word of mouth and online!
They’ll RSVP online at bravelove.org/dinner. After completing their RSVP, they will receive an auto-response email from BraveLove. If they don’t get that, they should follow up with us at [email protected] to make sure their RSVP went through. The reservation fee payment takes place at this time too. That’s what secures your spot.
The dinners are underwritten by BraveLove and its generous donors. There is a $10 reservation fee. Though this fee is refundable to those who attend or give at least 24-hour cancellation notice.
Due to COVID-19, we'd like to play it safe and keep our dinners outside at a restaurant. Fresh air is a good thing! Please follow the protocol that the restaurant has set. If they require masks, be sure to follow their rules, communicate those to your guests, and set a good example. Plus, we want to support your local businesses. It's been a tough year for everyone!
There’s not a right answer for this besides YES you need to communicate with the birth moms before the dinner. For some people that could be one exchange to confirm they’re coming and provide the address. For others, there could be more communication back and forth beforehand. As the host, making them feel welcome before they even arrive is the goal. And communication is a way to do that either by phone, email or text. Communicating pre-dinner builds some accountability too. By providing information and answering their questions, you’re setting expectations and hopefully easing some fears they have about even showing up.
Inside the package, you can expect some BraveLove swag like cups, stickers, tattoos, bracelets. There's enough for everyone. Also enclosed will be a small gift for each birth mom who attends. (It changes every year so for returning guests, it'll be something new and different.) A sign-in sheet will be included and a handout called "Guide for the Night." The Guide includes a letter from BraveLove to read aloud to your group. Usually, the check is enclosed in the package too (if it hasn't already been sent).
Yes, please do! Examples of this could include but are not limited to… donated flowers, catered food, rented tables/chairs, party favors, venue, etc.
Download and share this letter with those individuals or organizations that you want to ask. This explains BraveLove and the purpose of the dinners. It also includes BraveLove’s tax ID number.
No. These dinners are reserved for birth moms only - no guests, sorry! Encourage carpooling or even suggest a friend or family member to drop them off.
For a lot of birth moms who attend, they’re going to be pretty nervous showing up. Obviously coming alone versus coming with someone can help ease those fears. But we also know the dynamics of the group change for everyone when there’s a ‘non-birth mom’ present. So if someone really wants to come and will only come if they can bring their caseworker or spouse or whomever, then we’d suggest that person drop them off and pick them up. Or come in for the first few minutes. If there are extenuating circumstances, we’ll leave that decision up to you - the host - on how you’d like to proceed.
No. We recognize that birth fathers need support too. However, these dinners are reserved for birth moms only. So no birth fathers - sorry.
No, these dinners are for adults only. We realize it can be hard to say no to this. But hopefully, people will understand the distraction children can be. And in this scenario, that can also be upsetting for some women.
If she has placed a child for adoption and also happens to be pregnant - then yes, she’s welcome. But if she’s pregnant and has not placed a child for adoption - no. Again, these dinners are reserved for birth moms - any woman who has placed a child for adoption at any point in time.
Due to COVID-19, we're discouraging any in-home dinners for this spring.
But in previous years, that's a great question - no, not necessarily. But out of sight is a good plan, which they’d probably offer anyways (i.e. hanging out in a different part of the house). If the adults want to help serve or clean up, that’s great. But we don’t want them sitting down at the table and joining in on the conversation with the birth moms. That changes the dynamics of the group.
Post the invite on Facebook and/or Instagram — or wherever you’re social. Make sure to include the link to where people can RSVP. Spread the word to your local agencies, churches, friends, and family. You never know who might know someone.
BraveLove will also be promoting the dinner on its social media platforms (which includes a lot of birth mom followers). We’ll also be telling our partner adoption agencies so they can get the word out too.
That’s great and not a problem! There may be certain things you can eliminate for that size group. For instance, you could opt to eliminate the place cards so people can choose to sit where they want. But otherwise, carry on as planned.
That's entirely up to you as the host. If it's feasible based on your dinner location, then we'd say 'Come on! We'd love to have you.'
That's up to you as the host. If you're out at a restaurant, people pay their own way for alcoholic beverages. The dollars you received from BraveLove cannot be applied to alcohol. Just let the server know in advance.
If you're hosting in a private residence (either yours or someone else's home), then that's your call. Again, BraveLove dollars cannot be applied to alcohol. If you're conflicted, sometimes it's easier to just say no and not offer it.
We've learned we can't promise anything. But things are looking up for more dinners in other cities this fall. Though as the host, we'd love for you to consider planning a casual meet-up or get-together a few months after this dinner as a way for your group to stay connected.
The online registration limits how many people can actually RSVP. You will be notified by a team member from BraveLove once your headcount exceeds 10 people.
Typically we allow a few extra people to RSVP beyond the limit, and then we notify you once guest #11 RSVPs. At that point, you need to contact the guest immediately to let them know they're on the waitlist. Same with guest #12, 13, 14...etc. You can reassure them you'll let them know once space becomes available. This is where new (versus returning) guests get priority on the waitlist.
If you're uncomfortable with a waitlist and would prefer to open your dinner to an unlimited number of guests, then let us know. But you would be taking on that additional cost for the extra guests.
If your dinner is occurring in a city where you have "returning" guests, then we want newcomers to get the chance to attend first. This impacts the guest list when you have a waitlist. If you exceed 8 people, then newcomers get priority on the waitlist over returners.
You're going to be receiving a $400 check from BraveLove — $30 per person plus a $100 stipend to be used towards extras - decorations, flowers, etc.
You may need to spend some money before you have a confirmed headcount. That said, cash the check and spend as needed. Just remember to SAVE ALL OF YOUR RECEIPTS. Sometimes it helps to do your shopping closer to the dinner date when you have a better idea of what you're projected turnout is going to be.
Not all dinners are going to have 10 people, therefore, you may have leftover money. Whatever money you don't end up using, send back to BraveLove. We prefer a check, but you can do it online if that's easier for you.
If the per-person amount was less than $30 then you should have some leftover money that you can reallocate towards the dinner or return to BraveLove. If the per-person amount is more than $30 then dip into your stipend to cover the difference.
We want the dinner to feel special. We're trusting you to make that happen!