Dear NAFA Community

September 28, 2017   Dear NAFA Community, We are drawing a close to another action packed NAFA year! In the past year we have jumped at Sky High, swam at East Portland Community Center, bounced each other silly at JJ Jump and breathed the fine ocean air at Nehalem Bay State Park! We also welcomed 20 new families through the Baby & Toddler Care Class and launched a new Neighborhood Group meet up at local parks. These events gather us together to share a common bond, reassure our kids that their adoption makes them uniquely the same, and have fun with friends new and old. NAFA is a one of a kind organization. We often get emails and calls asking if we have a program in any area other than Oregon/SW Washington. Unfortunately for them, we know no other such program. Fortunately for you and your family, we have a lot to offer you! Two things keep NAFA going strong: Some years ago, NAFA was awarded a onetime grant from The Wendy’s Foundation. Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s Restaurants, was a foster child who made a promise to make the foster and adoptive life easier and more helpful for future kids. We take pride in honoring his legacy. Foster and Adoption life is not a perfect life. But our kids can grow successfully and confidently. NAFA uses these funds, combined with annual membership dues and donations, to provide the events above, relationships within the adoptive community, and a presence on the internet and on social media. Your involvement is a big piece of the picture. We love seeing you...

One For the Murphys (Book Review)

As an adoptive parent, I look for books and movies to share with my kids that present adoption in a positive manner. I want to instill confidence in them. It has worked for the past nine years. My oldest has started to notice that not all media portrays adoption favorably. He laments “why do ‘they’ make adoption seem like a bad thing, when it is not?” I assure him that adoption IS a good thing, and “they” just don’t know it. Last week he and I were going through his school papers. He jumped up in unexpected fury over a paper in which he got a 20/20 grade. He was aghast that he would score so high. Okay– parent radar up! I probed the subject and learned that it was an interactive questionnaire about a book the teacher had read aloud. I scanned his answers and found that foster care and adoption was the prevailing theme. Hmmm. I questioned him  whether he liked the book or not. He did not like the book because it didn’t have an ending, there were no sequels, nor would there ever be another book.  At this time he is shouting and stomping out of the room. So I googled the book, read the summary, and ordered a copy on Amazon. I also emailed the teacher out of fear that he may have shunned the book in school and I wanted to remind her of the perspective he has on this subject. (I don’t know if it is good, bad, or both that people in our community forget that our kids are adopted). His...

Letter to the Membership 2016

Dear NAFA Community, September 30, 2016 we closed out another wonderful year full of NAFA events. Here is a recap and a sneak peak of what is coming up: Celebrate Adoption—In November, we had a bouncy good time at Sky High. November is annually Celebrate Adoption Month. We plan to repeat this popular event November 13, 2016 at Sky High. Look for another email soon! For information or to RSVP contact Christie at nafaevents@gmail.com Baby &Toddler Care Class—We host this event 3 times per year. We have permanently relocated to Legacy Emanuel Hospital. Local agencies and attorneys have been great at helping us promote this class. If you are an alum of this event, please help spread the word! I am also in need of more volunteers during our breakout sessions. Please consider giving 2 hours one, two or three times per year. The next class is on February 11, 2017. Contact me at nafawait@gmail.com if you want to be added to my volunteer list. Splash!—February brought our annual swim event. East Portland Community Center is so much fun for kids and adults. Slides, lazy river, tide pool and hot tub feel so good in the winter! Look for a repeat this February. JJ Jump—This event was new for NAFA. It replaced Skating at Mt. Scott, which had diminished interest from the membership. JJ Jump was enjoyable for all— bouncing, climbing, zip lining and more! We will host this or similar event next April. Waiting Family Meetings—We only held this event once last year due to lack of interest. Despite popular speakers and relevant topics, we couldn’t sustain a...

What NAFA Means to My Family

Recently, long time Board Member Marcia Ohlemiller retired from active board member status. She sent the following letter to the board. She very well summed up NAFA’s importance in the lives of our adoptive families. We wish Marcia, Stephen, Jessica & Erika continued happiness and are flattered that  they still will make NAFA a part of their lives. “Dear NAFA Board Members, As you know, I have not been to a board meeting for some time, and you have been kind enough nevertheless to keep me informed. I apologize for procrastinating about the difficult decision to leave the NAFA Board, on which I served actively for 12 years. I care deeply about NAFA, which has been a wonderful source of fellowship, information, fun times and support as we muddled our way along the adventurous path of being a sudden family of four.  I want what NAFA provides to be there for other families too. Erika and Jessica are in college this year, doing well despite what we were once told were long odds against their likelihood of even reaching academic mediocrity.  As you all know, this is not miraculous but the result of support – from numerous quarters including the health care community, saintly teachers, loving extended family and NAFA. Our family will remain NAFA members always, and if there is any way that I can provide assistance on any specific projects or events please do not hesitate to contact me. I wish all of you and NAFA the best always and am proud to be associated with an organization that uniquely serves such an important purpose. Sincerely, Marcia...

Coalition of Oregon Adoption Agencies Monthly Meeting

Did you know that NAFA is a member of the Coalition of Oregon Adoption Agencies (COAA)? We are a non-voting standing member. A few years ago, COAA voted to only offer memberships to Agencies and Home Study Providers. At the time, NAFA and Adoption Mosaic were allowed to be grandfathered in as non-voting members. With the closure of Adoption Mosaic, we are the only such entity. Two requirements must be met: an annual membership fee and attendance at 2/3 of the monthly meetings (there are usually 9 per year). As the current board president, I attend these meetings. I really enjoy knowing representatives of the adoption agencies and hearing the latest trends and laws affecting the adoptive culture. Instead of having the narrow focus of how my adoptions played out, I now have a frame of reference that includes agency, state, international, and foster adoptions. I learn how the state is treating adoption, special needs adoption, adoption assistance and licensing of agencies. All this helps in my preparation for the Waiting Family Meetings and Baby & Toddler Care Class that I coordinate for NAFA. I want to share with you  some of the information I have picked up at the first two meetings in 2016. -Dove Adoptions International has closed. -After it’s closure, Adoption Mosaic made a $620.23 donation to COAA -Sally Guyer resigned from Boys & Girls Aid Society (BGAID) effective 2/5/16; Sally will be working with the Parent Mentor Program at The Morrison Center. -May 2016 is the next SNAC (Special Needs Adoption Coalition) Training at BGAID -April 1-3 DHS Training for foster and state adoptions -Holt...

Letter to the Membership

Dear Members of NAFA, The Members of the Board met last Sunday to close out the 2014-2015 year and plan for the upcoming 2015-2016 year of NAFA events. We declared the past year a success! We hope you were able to attend one or more of our events. We work hard to keep NAFA present. We want to celebrate our uniqueness yet also the common bond we share. In June we mailed membership forms to those whose membership has lapsed. This is a significant number because previous attempts brought low return. We are happy that many families have chosen to stay with us. But we need more! Currently we have 90 current memberships. We would like that number to be over 100. A larger community assures diversity and that we can make an impact in the adoption world. Our events are primarily social in nature—but within that the emotional support for both parents and kids is immeasurable. I have talked to teens and young adults who grew up in NAFA. They always say that it was important to have friends who understood who they are and what they may be going through. I have talked to parents of these young adults. They still cherish the friendships they have because of NAFA. These are parents who knew the pains of wanting to be a parent. They share the stress of maintaining a relationship with a birth family. If you haven’t been with us in a while, I suggest you attend an upcoming event or help with an upcoming Baby & Toddler Care Class. See if you feel that NAFA is...

Campout 2015

What a wonderful weekend at Nehalem Bay State Park! The weather cooled off– it felt like someone turned on nature’s air conditioning. Saturday had a few rain drops but that didn’t dampen the NAFA spirit! The weekend began with a group campfire Friday night. Sticky s’mores, greeting new friends and catching up with familiar friends. Saturday morning we tried out our “group campsite”– a gathering spot for weekend events–with a shared coffee hour. Thank you for helping us get it under cover when the first shower came! And a big thank you to the Van Winkle’s for their screened canopy! We divided up during the day for different activities– biking, geocaching, clamming, crabbing, games. Families blended together depending upon interests. Unfortunately our NAFA Sandcastle Contest failed due to a heavy wind in the afternoon. We’ve got a better plan for next year! At 6 pm Tessa rang the dinner bell for our group potluck meal. So much good food!! And a campout is not complete without the Adams’ famous doughnuts for dessert! I’m having a hard time putting in words how much fun we all had! So please check out our photo album on our facebook page. And if you have photos to share, send them to diane@nafaonline.org I can’t wait to see our group photo from Saturday night! And put July 15-17, 2016 on your calendar (make a campsite reservation starting October 15, 2015). At the end of the summer, I think my son will still be raving about the great weekend he spent with this friends. When he was younger he referred to this group as his “NAFA...

Baby and Toddler Classes

Like many other families, my first experience with Northwest Adoptive Families Association (NAFA) was through the Baby and Toddler Care Class.  We had finished with all the paperwork and home study and were waiting for a referral.  I had a vast interested in improving my knowledge and learning everything I could.  Which is a good thing because after our son was placed with us, I was too busy being a parent to spend much time learning about being one.  After completing the class I couldn’t say enough about it.  In fact, I went back again several months later (when we still hadn’t placed) to brush up on the knowledge that I had learned at the previous class. Unfortunately my husband was unable to attend the class with me due his work schedule, but I thought the knowledge on baby care I had picked up there was so useful I decided that we should take the classes at the local hospital.  They were horrible!  Besides focusing a lot of their time on maternity care (hello not pregnant!), much of the information was horribly out dated.  In addition, we also got a full dose of the teacher’s opinion on circumcision and co-sleeping just to name a few subjects.  Needless to say it wasn’t a good experience, and we didn’t come out of the classes feeling like we had really learned anything new. That is what I liked about the NAFA class.  Information was presented without any maternity information.  The information on topics, like those above, was presented in as non-biased way possible.  These are the reasons to do this or not...