The Family-Building Dinner was a wonderful experience. One of my personal goals for the evening beyond raising money for the endowment was to provide a forum to educate on infertility and adoption. The guests who attended without personal experience left with a better understanding of our non-profit and more importantly, infertility and adoption. I hope that they believe in our cause and will attend next year.
I gave a short speech to thank everyone for making the fundraiser a success. I thanked all of the people who have contributed to making PFM grow so rapidly, for believing in the cause enough to take time out of their busy lives to help. For believing in me. I also gave out the very first Commitment to Excellence Award to our Fundraising Committee Chairman, Kevin Mulcahy. Below is the speech I recited. It was hard for me not to get emotional that night. I admit, I'm a cryer- big time. I choked up a bit but made it through. I felt a lot of different emotions at the dinner, all good.
Thank you to everyone for being here this evening. Your presence and generous donations will make a difference in the lives of those who struggle with infertility and dream of being parents and building their family. We have received nearly 175 requests for applications from all over the country including Utah, California, Ohio, and Florida. Many of the letters thank Parenthood for Me for giving them hope that they too will become a mom and a dad.
Thank you to CNY Fertility and Dr. Kiltz for supporting our efforts. The partnership we are forging will help both of us have continued success in our equal mission to bring affordability to those who need medical assistance to conceive, to support those that need a shoulder to cry on, and to continue to educate on infertility choices for patients including adoption.
Parenthood for Me started as an idea one evening late in 2008. My husband, AJ and I wanted to make a difference in the lives of those who bore the burden of infertility and those who wished to adopt. So I thought of a name, reserved a domain, bought a “how to make it in the non-profit world” book, printed business cards on my computer and started telling everyone I knew that I started a non-profit.
I have met so many wonderful and inspiring people in the past 18 months. I am humbled by the support and respect I have received from people at home and all over the country- many of them strangers who I will never meet face to face.
The board of directors who received a random letter from me asking them to consider volunteering their time for a cause close to my heart, joined in this venture to create an organization that enables the dream of having a family. It has been a pleasure working with all of you and seeing our non-profit grow so rapidly. Your hard work and efforts have allowed me to continue on during those days when I wondered what I got myself into. Some of you have known me since the day I was born and others are new, life- long friends. I will never forget how you have helped me make this dream a reality. And if friends are the family we choose, I must acknowledge the gift of the Mulcahy family for your love and presence in my family’s life.
The Board of Directors has awarded the very first Recognition of Service Award to both Deborah Wittenberg and Beth Brownstein for serving on the original board during the first monumental year of our existence. They could not be here this evening but we greatly appreciate all they did to help establish Parenthood for Me.
Many people advised us not to throw a big fundraiser so early into our venture. But for those of you who know me well, I am pretty determined. I would be remiss if I did not tell everyone that we would not be here today without the dedication and help from my friend and Committee Chairman, Kevin Mulcahy. Through his hard work and determination we were able to put together a lovely event that will raise a significant amount of money and awareness to help those struggling with infertility and those who long to adopt. He has taken on this cause as if he experienced first-hand the hardship of wanting to be a father. I am amazed at his willingness to learn and understand what so many people worry and grieve over every single day.
To my friend and colleague I present you with the very first Parenthood for Me Commitment to Excellence Award.
There once was a time when all I thought of was what infertility had taken away from me- the ability to plan my life, the experience of pregnancy, and the assurance that I would be a mom someday. Now what I think about is all the wonderful things that infertility has given me. I am changed forever and have been given so many gifts to carry with me throughout the rest of my life. I learned that it is not the struggles that we face but what we do with them that alters our path.
Nothing could be more true than the words of Margaret Fuller- “What a difference it makes to come home to a child.”
Thank you again for taking the time out of your busy lives to be here. And when you receive news of the first grant recipients in June, understand that your support played a key role in making that happen. We hope to see you next year with many more wonderful accomplishments and experiences to report.
And, now I would like to share some thoughts and words written to me in emails from people requesting help from PFM. I wish I could help everyone. And I simply cannot believe that we are offering hope to people. I remember very clearly all the times I felt hopeless on my journey to being a parent. If I have been able to instill hope, then I have completed one of my life's dreams and Parenthood for Me has been a wonderful success. Besides being a mom, working for PFM may just be the most important thing I do with my life."Thanks for your help and your support to help people through adoptions and infertility procedures. We have ventured through both and know the challenges that can arise from each."
"Thank you for this opportunity. It is so wonderful to know that there are organizations like yours that help build happy families."
"It is frustrating because at this point, the only thing between us and parenthood is about $20,000.00"
"Thank you in advance for this opportunity for us to experience parenthood. It is organizations like you who make our dreams a reality."
"Thanks for your time, and frankly, your existence."
"I think this is wonderful what you are doing to provide resources and financial assistance, but moreso the companionship for infertile and adopting families."
"Thank you so very much for all that you do for adoptive families and orphans around the world."
"Thank you so much for having an organization such as this for those of us who have unique steps in becoming parents."
When I am exhausted and unsure whether I can continue to devote so much of my life to PFM, I re-read these emails. I appreciate the sentiment and those who share their stories and thoughts.
As I sit on my couch finishing up this post my beautiful son sits next to me, wraps his arm around my neck and says,"C'mon, dear." My heart swells at how lucky I am that my life has turned down this path.