Sunday, May 18, 2014

Parenting...the other 363 Days a Year

Who doesn't want to celebrate Mother's Day and Father's Day? Especially those of us who moved heaven and earth, traveling around the globe, to become parents. I know we surely do. But here, in this message, FRUA celebrates the other 363 days a year of parenthood. The day-after-day, challenge-after challenge, joy-following-joy, messy, sweet, exhilarating, exhausting, sometimes lonely, better-if-shared, thankful days that require patience, love and fortitude. FRUA celebrates all of you, every day, and the families we have built. We celebrate with our eyes open, always focused on our mission; to provide hope, help and community for adoptive families.

There has been a lot going on at the FRUA, INC national level. Based on the 2013 national survey, this has been a year of change, as we set out to act upon the wishes of members and those who want to belong. Here, some highlights of the changes over the past few months:

Ten FRUA regional chapters
Since earlier this year, With the involvement of the leaders of FRUA chapters, and a recommendation of a FRUA chapter leader task force, FRUA has shifted from inconsistent metro-focused chapters to ten regional chapters, covering all fifty states. The FRUA regional boards are composed of volunteer leaders spread across each region, with volunteer representatives from Parent Organized Districts(PODs) that can bring FRUA families together wherever family clusters are located.

Major contact with our children's birth country embassies
FRUA has made a concerted effort to establish a place at the table regarding national adoption policy, and in helping to keep the doors of adoption open in Eastern European and central Asian countries. Over the past two years, we have significantly stepped up our communication with the embassies of our birth countries, meeting with them, most for the first time, to share information about our family support mission of hope, help and community for adoptive families.

While the next issue of The Family Focus will include a more detailed report, I made formal calls in February and March of 2014, on the embassies of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Republic of Georgia, Uzbekistan, and Armenia. I'll continue to reach out to more of the twenty two foreign embassies of the countries from which our children have come. Last year I met twice with the Ambassador of Ukraine, and plan to meet with the embassy again this summer.

Last December, continuing our cooperation with The Institute of International Education, FRUA-Colorado hosted a group of independent media Russian journalists at my home for dinner. I remain in touch with some of these journalists, to help get factual information about our families to the Russian people,

I have received a formal invitation to attend a US-Russian Forum on Capitol Hill, June 16-18, representing FRUA. The gathering focuses on areas of cooperation in culture, business and science. Attendees will include the Dept. of State, members of the United States Congress, the Russian Embassy, University of Moscow, and the Russian Cultural center.

New, 21st century database tools
With the launch next weekend of the new FRUA Member Center, linked to, FRUA will address a major need; making it easier for members to join and renew, adding efficiency for regional chapter leaders, and preparing to create an enhanced member resource center. Stay tuned for the email announcement message on our around 5/24, and after the roll-out, follow this link  to Join or Renew .

Happy May,
Jan Wondra
Acting Chair
FRUA, INC. National Board of Directors