Last Tuesday, BraveLove joined a webinar called "A Birth Mother’s Heart," which was hosted by one of our wonderful partner agencies, Lifeline Children's Services. Two inspiring women, Katie and Deborah, shared their stories. Though from different circumstances, these women had one common thread weaving them together – they each placed a child for adoption.
In a world where we are given the freedom to operate on our own timelines, the ability to ‘just do something’, can often feel daunting. Especially when that ‘something’ you are waiting to do could take a significant amount of time and effort – like adoption perhaps.
Meet Janelle. In 1993, she found herself facing the many burdens and decisions that accompany an unplanned pregnancy. Feeling as if she needed extra support, she chose to move into the Liberty Godparent Home for the duration of her pregnancy. It was there that she decided that adoption was the best option for her child and made the brave decision to pursue a placement plan while working with Family Life Services Adoption Agency.
Last week was our first time to attend the CAFO Summit Conference, and it certainly exceeded our expectations. CAFO is an alliance that brings together individuals and organizations from all different child welfare groups across the globe. It’s a faith-based group that’s doing a lot of valuable work primarily through the work of local churches to serve vulnerable children because - bottom line - children need families. If you follow us on Twitter, you may have witnessed our live tweeting from #CAFO2014. Lots of speakers, information, and good came from our time spent in Chicago last week. Some of our favorite highlights (in no particular order) were as follows...
Last week we ate dinner with a group of birth moms at Pappasito's Cantina in Arlington, Texas. We had women drive from Dallas, Ft. Worth and even as far as an hour away! Around the table, there were familiar faces from previous dinners and then some new faces.
Last Friday we gathered with a dozen leaders from different pregnancy centers and organizations from across DFW (Non-Texans, that means Dallas/Ft. Worth).
Did you know that Birth Mother’s Day actually exists! It’s Saturday, May 10. (Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 11.) This year, we’ve teamed up with Blessings in a Basket for the second year in a row to create a sweet care package specifically designed for birth mothers. Why? Because we want birth moms to be honored and encouraged on this holiday. And we thought a few fun goodies might brighten one’s day.
A guest writer from Healthline.com shares some of the long-term benefits of open adoption. Here’s an excerpt from her article:
“...Open adoption has been shown to hold many benefits for all involved, and this is the case when it comes to the child’s health too. Along with the benefits related to the adoptee’s emotional health, open adoption can also have a positive impact on their physical health."
Last Saturday we got the chance to attend the very first “Royally Blessed Adoption Walk” hosted Blessings in a Basket, the Utah-based organization providing birth mom community. (You might remember reading about their founder Ashley here.)
On Thursday, February 13th, we celebrated an early Valentine’s with 130 of our Dallas Ambassadors. Our Ambassadors are those who have committed to helping us raise awareness that adoption is a loving option. And Valentine’s seemed like a fitting time to acknowledge this different kind of adoption love story. Our founder spoke and shared where we’ve been in the past year and what’s ahead. For those that attended the event, THANK YOU!
These dinners are our favorites. The purpose is primarily social - eat good food and get to know one another. It’s a way we can gather a group of women who have one thing in common - placing a child for adoption. These dinners allow us time to get to know the women we champion by sharing a meal and listening to their stories in person.
Based on the 2009 investigative book by BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith (The Lost Child of Philomena Lee), the movie Philomena focuses on the efforts of Philomena Lee, played by Judi Dench. Philomena got pregnant at a young age, which was something her Irish-Catholic community didn’t have the highest opinion of.
Last Saturday, January 18th, we had the opportunity to speak at the Dallas March for Life Rally. It was an honor to be a part of this HUGE event in downtown Dallas and to get to talk about adoption to thousands. Literally, thousands.
Time really does fly. We can hardly believe that 2013 has come and gone. As we enter 2014, here are some of our hopes and resolutions for the year ahead plus one of our favorite articles to date. In 2014, we hope to...
Wherever you may be this Thanksgiving - whether with friends, family or keeping it quiet - we hope you are able to slow down, take it easy and enjoy some pumpkin pie. It’s been a busy few months in the life of BraveLove as we’ve celebrated National Adoption Month, launched in Oklahoma and featured a compelling new adoption story. And now the hustle and bustle of the holidays is literally upon us. Therefore on this Thanksgiving Eve, we want to take a minute to acknowledge our appreciation of you…
On Friday, November 22, we were awarded the 2013 Hope Award at Gladney’s 10th Annual Hope Award Luncheon. What an honor! Thank you Gladney for this recognition. The luncheon was a sweet time in which we celebrated with friends, family and supporters of BraveLove as well as staff from Gladney and other organizations in the DFW area. To those who attended amidst the chilly temps in Ft. Worth, thank you for being there. To the rest of you, we appreciate your interest in this movement and caring about adoption. Happy National Adoption Month!
On Thursday, November 14, we launched this movement in Oklahoma! We gathered with about 175 of our closest friends in the Oklahoma City/Edmond/Nichols Hills area and shared the vision of BraveLove with the intention of raising adoption awareness. Our friend Clay shared his adoption story, and then BraveLove founder shared the vision of the organization. By the end of the night, people were excited to get involved, give and help spread the BraveLove in Oklahoma. For those that attended, THANK YOU for being there. We’re so excited to get to know you.
Meet April from Texas. Last week April won a BraveLove t-shirt. This week we wanted to get to know her a little better and discover why she’s interested in adoption. Thanks for sharing, April.
What’s your connection to adoption? My cousin is adopted. I work with parents who have children with special needs. Some of the parents adopted their children or foster parent.
Why are you interested in adoption / BraveLove / birth mothers? I love reading the letters that are on the BraveLove website. Reading each one, and all from different points of views, are sure to bring tears to your eyes! Being a mother has made me realize, even more now, how brave and difficult that decision would be to make.
Do you think birth mothers are brave? YES!
Why Grace cares about this adoption movement:
"A few years ago a friend of mine had an unplanned pregnancy. She and her boyfriend struggled to raise their baby themselves because they didn’t understand the blessing that adoption can be.
I care about BraveLove because I want all birth mothers to know that far from being something to be ashamed of or “giving up,” adoption is both courageous and selfless, and one of the most loving acts a birth mother can do for her baby."
FYI. In the past year, we’ve gotten to know Grace and have been blown away by her desire to just help out. Did you go the 5K adoption fun run earlier this spring? If so, you saw Grace!
Why Erica cares about this adoption movement:
"Having observed the anxiety that can strike a woman in an unplanned pregnancy and after walking the road with a brave & loving birth mother, BraveLove absolutely matters! I’ve witnessed the encouragement and hope BraveLove offered this birth mother throughout her pregnancy and thereafter."
FYI. Erica is usually the one behind the lens so it’s rarity that we get to feature a photo of her! She’s friends with this mom, and happens to be the one who got us hooked on this song. Thanks for sharing, Erica!
Happy Thursday! We’ve run across some great adoption stories, articles and videos so far this week. Read/Watch these at your leisure...
Why Michelle cares about this adoption movement:
"I care about BraveLove because human life is the most special thing we’ve been given, and adoption opens up the doors to saving that life. Adoption has blessed me and made my life fuller, and anything we can do to call woman to be brave, we should do!"
FYI. Michelle is one of the brightest 16-year-olds we know. She’s also super talented, too. You should ask her to sing for you sometime. She loves adoption. Why? Because she has two younger cousins who were adopted (see the pic!). She wouldn’t know them, love them, be able to play with them if it weren’t for their birth moms who lovingly placed them for adoption.
Why Ellen cares about this adoption movement:
“Because I am thankful everyday for the birth mothers of my babies, and I want to applaud all the brave women who make this choice!”
FYI. Ellen is a mom—an adoptive mom actually. She’s proud to call Texas home. She also happens to be the founder of BraveLove. (Read this story.) Besides currently rearing her four cute kids, Ellen’s all-time favorite job was when she worked at SeaWorld… just a few years ago.