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On Your Feet Foundation - Support for Women Who Placed Their Babies With Adoptive families

By Enid Callen

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For most mothers, Mother's Day is a time to be remembered.  Unfortunately, for many birth mothers, Mother's Day is when they feel most forgotten. In the world of adoption, Mother’s Day does not celebrate the mother who gave birth to a child: it celebrates the mother who was given the opportunity to raise him/her.  After placing a child for adoption, many birthmoms fade into the background or disappear all together.  While adoptive parents focus their attention on their new addition, birthmoms frequently struggle emotionally and financially.  

 

On Your Feet Foundation, has been addressing these issues since it was founded in 2001. This small, not for profit organization works to help birthparents step confidently into the future.  As the only social service agency in the Chicago area dedicated to providing post placement services to birthparents, OYFF strives to improve societal perceptions of adoption and increase public understanding of the brave selfless choice made by birthparents.  By offering post placement counseling, mentoring, and financial assistance, OYFF supports birthparents emotional needs, helps them achieve their educational goals, develop their job readiness skills and helps them assess their needs which helps them move forward with their lives.

 



Frequently birthmothers have no support system and feel isolated and alone.  On Your feet Foundation works to change those feelings.  Realizing that connection with other birthmothers is an important key to alleviating feelings of loneliness and shame, networking opportunities are planned throughout the year. OYFF hosts and organizes numerous events to help birthmoms connect with each other and increase their confidence. On March 5th of this year, George Gonzales of George the Salon, an upscale salon on Hubbard Street in Chicago, donated his salon for an evening of beauty for birthmothers, and his stylists were available to provide haircuts, color, life coaching, reflexology, make up techniques and a psychic to a group of women that usually don’t get to feel pampered and indulged.  It was a wonderful, fun filled event with lots of networking opportunities.





On the weekend of May 4-6 a Birthmother retreat will be held in Michigan City, Indiana.  It is facilitated by three wonderful women with many years of professional adoption experience who are themselves birthmoms.  OYFF currently holds three or four retreats annually with participants attending from all over the country.  Additionally, all retreat attendees can continue to stay connected after each retreat through our private web-based internet support group.  

Two years ago,  On Your feet Foundation allowed a film crew from MTV to film one of our retreats for their series Teen Mom. Caitlin, one of the teens featured on the show learned about our retreat after making an adoption plan for her child.  She attended the retreat and OYFF allowed MTV to film.  In keeping with the belief that adoption education is essential, OYFF agreed to let the cameras into the weekend retreat in the hope that it would educate and enlighten more people about who birhparents really are and why choosing adoption for one's child is a plan to be proud of.  As a result of filming our retreat for the MTV show Teen Mom, hundreds of birthmothers from all over the country have contacted us to learn more about our retreats and services.




Mutual support




On Your Feet Foundation will be hosting a dinner on May 14th, the Monday evening after Mother's Day to honor the loving, unselfish decisions that birthmoms make. It will be held at A Tavola Restaurant on Chicago Ave. in the city.  This restaurant is owned by a couple that have formed their family by adoption and are delighted to help OYFF honor women that have placed children for adoption.

 



On Your Feet Foundation will be hosting their annual fundraiser at the Hilton Chicago/Northbrook on Oct. 13th of 2012.  It will be a casino night with dinner and a silent auction.  For more information on OYFF programs or the fundraiser, please call the office at 847-433-7820 or e-mail at [email protected]

Photos: Courtesy of On Your Feet  Foundation

Published on Apr 26, 2012

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