The last week has been a difficult one. It all started last week when we decided to attend the Annual General Meeting for our adoption agency. My purpose for attending was to hear the reports on stats; placements, approvals, birth parents etc.
Surprisingly the room was quite full with people who have been successful in the process, others waiting to be matched… and some I just couldn’t figure out which category they fell into. If anyone has ever been to an AGM for a not for profit organization, they can be rather dry. Especially if the chair isn’t familiar with board governance or the process of asking for a motion and someone to second that motion (they eventually got their rhythm).
We passed through the usual pieces, board nominations, financials and the like. Everything sounded great. Then they got to the Executive Director’s report. By this point I had already read ahead in my package and my eyes were fixated on the stats I had been waiting for. They were not pretty. 2015 statistically speaking for placements was the worst year they have had. There were only 6 placements. Six. My heart sank.
As the Executive Director gave her report, she did a great job of getting to the point sharing that,”in terms of placements this has been a very difficult year”. While they were contacted by a high number of birth parents exploring options, many chose to parent rather than proceed with a placement.
I understood this. It is a choice that they make and I respect that. She did provide what she felt was a silver lining, which was that the number of adoptive parents who were approved had increased. I could feel my face flush, and in my mind I was screaming “good news for who?! That means more parents waiting in the pool and placements at an all time low!”. Luckily I was able to restrain myself and outwardly accept this news with a smile and a look of “oh how nice.”. When inside I was frustrated.
I am on the board of several non profits, most of which provide services and their funding is contingent on the number of individuals that they provide services to. When there are years that the number of individuals seeking service decreases, you must turn to marketing to ensure that there is an awareness in the community of the services you provide. I didn’t hear such a plan. Sure they do talks in the community, but I wanted to hear a marketing plan. Signage, radio ads… something. I’m not saying marketing to convince someone to place their child, but marketing so that more people who may be contemplating options know that you exist. Budgets are tight, but I’m wondering if there is something I can do to increase awareness? I need to think about this.
On the way home I was quiet. R asked if I was o.k. I responded with, “yeah just thinking”. He knew what I was thinking. He reminded me that even if it doesn’t happen for us, we are still happy. We just have to keep on moving forward and whatever happens happens.
Then on Saturday after a few days of feeling sorry for myself, I got the news of the tragic passing of a friend. That was the call that helped put things back into perspective. Things are not bad, my life is pretty awesome. Yes there will be frustrations, and yes we really want to be parents. If it doesn’t happen for us though, we have each other, we have amazing friends and we have a pretty great life.
It was also a reminder for me to once again publicly voice that if you or someone you know is in crisis or suffering from mental health issues… reach out. Call someone. Ask for help. If you are someone living with mental health concerns, talk about it. Change the dialogue and remove the stigma.
Yes statistically speaking we got another bump in the road to adoption, but things change. It sucks now, but life is good and I will cherish every moment regardless of outcome.