Thursday, March 26, 2009

Education on family building but not limited to...

I have come across a conflict with our mission statement:
Providing financial and emotional support, along with educational tools to those starting families through adoption or medical intervention.

The conflict is not a complete surprise as my DH and I talked about the fact that we wanted to help both those pursuing ART and those pursuing adoption. We have gone through both experiences and feel that each facet should have support, resources and grant money. The conflict comes with the fact that some people don't want to hear about adoption because they either aren't ready or are not interested. And, there are people who don't want to hear about IF and ART. Through my experience I think that most couples/individuals are sympathetic to both family building alternatives ,and hopefully, think it is helpful to have an organization devoted to both causes.

I knew we were taking on a lot by not limiting our mission to one or the other. But, our heart wouldn't be in this if we couldn't talk about our entire experience. We want to use our knowledge and experience with both ART/IF and adoption to help others. I worry that potential donors won't give their money because they don't want to support ART (because they don't believe in it or understand it) or some won't donate because they don't want to help couples adopt internationally for example. There is a lot of misinformation out there about both topics. After awhile I thought about this further and came up with the conclusion that if a potential donor is that uneducated, then they probably wouldn't be a good donor anyway. We need people who are passionate and supportive of our cause. That being said, donors can ask to have their donation allocated to a specific cause. That is commonplace in charitable foundations.

Our first fundraiser is coming up April 26. I wanted to have a keynote speaker to help spread our mission of educating the public about the life crisis of IF and/or the difficulties that go along with adoption (finances, choosing a program, choosing the age of the child). I will be speaking but I wanted someone else to say something; I have been rambling about these topcis for years now. I asked a woman to speak who has experience with both IF and adoption. She is also founder of Adoption Resource Network here in Rochester. She would have been able to give a wonderful perspective on her family building experience. Unfortunately she was unavailable.

We were lucky enough to get a wonderful RE in Rochester to come and speak. However, I didn't want potential guests to think we were not focusing on adoption as well as ART and IF. A friend pointed out to me that having an RE be the speaker may turn certain people off from attending because they don't want to hear about IF and its treatments if they know all about it. But, then again, many infertiles are not in a place to hear about the wonderment of adoption either.

I have asked the RE to focus on the psychological impact of infertility on couples and individuals. She will not be giving a medical synopsis of diagnosis' and procedures. She will be talking about her experience with her patients. She will talk about the struggles she sees them go through and the how they get through it. Some of them conceive, some live child free, some adopt. Regardless of what her patients do, she is privy to the raw emotion of infertility and I know she feels the pain of her patients on a daily basis.

The point of this post is to reveal that we are not advocating for any one path of family building. We support all the different options. There are many things that I am still learning about when it comes to family building. I will continue to educate myself so that I can help others.
The mission statement should probably be changing from "starting families..." to "building families." If you read our FAQ, you will notice that grants will most likely be awarded to those who have no children first. But, I want to stress that when applicants write their personal statements, we will be reviewing each application on a case by case basis.

We never intended to limit our applicants to couples either. Again, the application will be reviewed on a case by case basis. A lovely woman wrote me about the fact that she is a cancer survivor but the disease left her with infertility problems. She has not met "Mr. Right" so she decided to pursue ART on her own. She asked me if she would be considered for a grant. Of coarse. I felt bad that she felt that we limited the criteria to couples.

So you see we are learning. We want our non profit to be a place of support for all different kinds of people in all different stages of family building.
Hopefully we can iron out these bumps, and find the correct way to communicate what we are all about.


Hillary said...

I can see what a tricky balance that is, but I think you are providing 'complete' education and support for infertile couples by advocating ART and adoption. Thank you for doing this, and hopefully the wrinkles of how to do that will get ironed out as you go along!

Coming2Terms said...

You're definitely going to feel the tug from both of the extreme ends of the spectrum. I applaud you for trying to find the middle ground.

Jennifer said...

(ICLW) Thanks for your comment on my blog, and for sharing about your organization! :)

I think it's wonderful that you are providing support and education for both avenues of family-building. I hope your fundraiser does really well!!


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