As we head into the year, it is an amazing time to reflect and look back at all of the highs and lows of 2018. While 2018 held some incredible highs we experienced some lows as well. The best part of climbing a mountain is reaching the pinnacle, taking in the view and looking back at the accomplished climb. However, the journey to the top is what always makes the story, what memories are made from. Launching a non-profit dedicated to supporting women after placing a baby for adoption is a mountain. It’s one we knew would have rough terrain, that there would be storms to be weathered and surprises, both good and bad along the way. However, we knew building the Donna K. Evans Foundation was not going to be a short climb and we have never believed in anything more, so join us, as we continue to climb.
This past Thanksgiving and Christmas were amazing. People donated from all over the United States, helping women have a Thanksgiving Dinner to prepare for their family, friends and loved ones. We assisted 53 of women alone in the DKE Program and Building Arizona Families Program. Our entire staff came together and both the Donna K. Evans employee and Building Arizona Families employees poured themselves into making sure every food box was decorated and filled with everything they would themselves serve on that special day. Christmas was another successful, incredible accomplishment. We had Santa and Mrs. Claus visit the foundation and graciously took pictures with women and children and handed out candy canes to all. We also were able to provide Christmas dinner food boxes and grocery gift cards to those clients in need. In addition, for both Building Arizona Families and Donna K. Evans clients we held a “Christmas Gift Shop” where women could come and choose gifts for their children; all free to them and we even had a gift wrapping station. Without volunteer and donations this never could have happened. These moments were glorious and the gratitude and graciousness of every woman was plenty.
Over 2018, we initiated so many new aspects to the Foundation; both developed and implemented. Group counseling sessions were held two times a month for women to talk, grieve, share pictures, and learn coping skills. Women opened up and let their walls down, wanting and needing to heal. GED Study Guides were handed out and practice tests were taken. Our job board of local job openings is continually updated, and reviewed and jobs applied for. Employment was obtained. We assisted women in obtaining long term housing. Our clothing closet full of pregnancy, postpartum, and job interview clothing was stocked and restocked full of donations. Education classes on finance, rebuilding your life, leaving prostitution, and more were held and attended. We spoke at the National Adoption Conference about the Donna K. Evans Foundation, in an effort to educate other adoption professionals on aftercare services, with the intent on elevating the standard level of care for birth mothers. Resources and donation were gathered and distributed. This was just the beginning and still continues to be, we want to do so much more. The sky is the limit.
2019 is a new year, fresh and promising like any new life. We know that with more resources, donations and volunteers we can accomplish more. Our goal is to not only grow as a foundation, but to flourish and assist other adoption agencies in investing in the value of women. At the Donna K. Evans Foundation, our number one goal is to make women believe that they matter, their adoption choice matters and that negative life cycles can stop. We believe in the power of hope, promise and the will to succeed. As a community of adoption supporters, it is critical to support life and the power of it. Being a believer in life does not have to stop at the birth of a baby, but continues through the life of the birth mother. We all deserve the same: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Together, united, we can climb the mountain, weather the storms, reflect on the journey and enjoy the view.