A TIME TO GIVE
It is November, and this month always inspires reflections on what we’re thankful for. Especially adoption, as it is National Adoption Month!
If the past month has highlighted anything, it’s that compassion, giving, empathy, kindness, and community are key. They are vital components of human life and happiness, and they need to be treasured and nurtured now more than ever.
In the spirit of the holidays, National Adoption Month, and raising awareness for the greater good, we wanted this month’s newsletter to be a call to action to think outside ourselves and to remember that we have responsibilities to those members of our communities — local, nationwide, and global — who are in need. If the election showed us one thing, it’s that many of us have not been aware of the deep-seed fears of the other side. Right now, we stand as a nation deeply divided, and for parents the consequences are many. How do we explain to our children the levels of hate erupting nationwide? Or how an election can elicit such deep fear on both sides? How do we teach them how to feel safe, secure, loved, and supported, and to pass all that on to those around them?
We start by teaching them compassion, and how to give. We teach them to transcend boundaries and to focus on caregiving wherever they possibly can. And we start, as early as possible, to instill within them a spirit for giving, for being conscious of those struggling and in pain, and for taking action to help whenever they can.
Below is a list of organizations that offer support to individuals who need help in a variety of ways. From civil rights, to education and empowerment, to helping secure resources for those of limited means, each offer ways you and your family can donate time and/or money.
The ACLU works to support the civil liberties of all, while upholding their rights in the constitution. There are also on-the-ground opportunities for volunteer efforts.
The Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project specifically works to protect and care for mothers and children who are refugees, giving legal help and community to mothers across the country.
Our little ones are our future, and the Boys and Girls Club of America offers beautiful opportunities for working with these young ones, giving them the critical learning programs they need for greatest possible success. Opportunities for volunteering are abound with this organization.
The Catalyst Project is an education program geared towards white people, giving them the information and training they need to help support and work towards an end to racism, as well as helping to create safer communities for people of color. An important project for all, but especially those in multiracial families who want to learn more about supporting all ethnicities and creating a safer, happier world for their children.
Doctors Without Borders is a critical organization, especially given the 7.4 magnitude earthquake that recently hit Japan. They provide emergency medical care to individuals affected by crises and in conflict zones, which is more important than ever.
Fair Housing Justice Center works to eliminate housing discrimination, as well as to promote housing policies that foster open, accessible, inclusive communities. So often, minorities and those of lesser means are left without viable or safe housing options, a devastating situation for anyone. Especially those with children just looking to find a safe place to live.
Technology jobs and opportunities are NOT just for men, and Girls Who Code knows this better than anyone. This fabulous organization is fighting to bring computer science education to middle and high school girls, empowering them to join a workforce that is traditionally dominated by men. Our girls can do anything they put their mind to, and we love organizations that fight to inspire that.
The Women’s National Law Center has worked for more than 40 years to protect and promote equality and opportunity for women and families. They champion policies and laws that help women and girls achieve potential at every stage in their lives, especially those who are most vulnerable.
These are a few of our favorites, but togetherlist has a very comprehensive list with dozens and dozens of organizations doing positive work in the United States and across the world. Let’s teach our children how to fight for their rights, and the rights of our more disenfranchised citizens, who need all the help, support, love, and compassion they can get. Happy Thanksgiving.
My husband and I grew our family by adoption, adopting three children of different ethnicities and cultures. Regardless of who you voted for — and there are honest, realistic perspectives on both sides — it has been very difficult for us this month to hear some of the things being said about individuals from other cultures, especially having black and Asian children. Our extended families lie on all sides of the political spectrum, and my husband and I are adamant about not wanting to talk to politics, or to get into heated discussions that could affect our children. It’s the holidays! Despite our differences, we want to love our family, not fight with them. Do you have any suggestions? Jessica, LA
This is a tough season for so many people, and we’ve heard from lots of our adoptive families who are blessed with multicultural families that they are nervous and stressed about how to discuss the current political state with family members of other mind sets. You are already a million miles ahead of the game by anticipating any potential conflicts but also by coming in with an open heart and mind, and a willingness to connect and lead with love. It’s when we don’t lead with openness that problems arise, because we’ve already closed ourselves off to an opportunity for connection and understanding before we even begin.
The New York Times has run some wonderful pieces on how to navigate these trickier topics during the holidays. One is about how to argue fairly and without rancor. Although I know you’re not looking to argue, someone else may be thinking differently. These tips, including “Listen Carefully,” and “Mind Your Body Language” are excellent guides for helping you keep your cool and not letting a disagreement fly off the handle.
Another series called “How Could You?” is also a podcast, where two individuals in a close relationship — whether friends, co-workers, or family, etc. — who voted differently in the election have a mediated conversation in safe space to help each other understand where the other is coming from and how their decision makes the other feel. In addition to the podcasts, the Times shares the list of 19 questions they use to mediate the conversations and that may help you mediate one of your own.
The bottom line is that you can only control how you and your family respond to this situation. Your head and heart are in the right place, and it’s important that you align with your husband on how you will communicate with your children and your extended family. And if there are any spaces this holiday season that truly don’t feel safe for you and your family — you absolutely have the right to stay away until things have cooled down and feel more manageable.
Take care — we’ll be thinking of you and your family!
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About Our Agency
Abby’s One True Gift Adoptions is a full service, licensed adoption agency founded by adoptive parents. After our personal adoption experiences, we wanted to utilize what we had learned by creating an agency that strives to provide the most positive adoption process possible.
Our staff is available to provide maximum support from beginning to end. Having been through the process ourselves, our goal is to meet the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents alike, supporting the individuals involved from all aspects of the adoption process.