Strategy Guide – Moms and Moms-to-Be Night Out

By: - February 5, 2011

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Need, Vision and Description of Strategy:

Many adoptive and foster moms, as well as women considering adoption or foster care (what we call “moms-to-be”), desire a safe and encouraging environment where their unique joys can be celebrated and their distinct challenges, fears and questions can be talked about openly and honestly.  The reality is, however, that this type of environment is often hard to find.  This is why Tapestry hosts monthly nights out for moms and moms-to-be so that they can leave the kids at home and come together at a nearby Starbucks to laugh and share a part of the their lives with each other.  Sometimes the conversation focuses on adoption or foster care – challenges they face, where they are in the process, comments they recently heard from others, questions their kids have asked, a recent conversation with a birthmother or any number of other topics or situations.  At other times the conversation is simply about parenting, recent vacations, husbands who travel – in other words, the conversation is about life.  No matter the topic the women who attend are virtually guaranteed to laugh, cry, learn and most importantly connect a little deeper each time they meet to walk the adoption journey together.

Steps to Implementation:

  • Identify women (regardless of where they are in the pre or post-adoption/foster care process) that might be interested in connecting with others who are walking the same journey
  • Identify one or two experienced adoptive moms that are willing to organize and “host” the get together (Hosting consists of simply selecting the location and being there to keep the conversation going and headed in the right direction); these experienced moms also need to be able and willing to make all women who attend, regardless of the specific adoption or foster care journey they are on, feel welcome and included
  • Find a date, time and location that works (Because so many women want to participate and because they are dispersed around the Dallas area, Tapestry hosts two moms night outs in two different locations – one on the second Tuesday night, and the other on the last Tuesday night of the month.  Each is held at a Starbucks location and they start at 7:30.  The women typically stay until the Starbucks closes, and have even been known to take the conversation to the parking lot after that.)
  • Get the word out (Tapestry uses word of mouth, its email list and its website to make women aware of moms night out)

Key Roles & Titles:

One or more women that have adoption/foster care experience and have a desire to connect with other adoptive (and foster) moms and moms-to-be and to help them connect.  It is important that the women leading this group are willing and able to walk alongside those pursuing various types of adoption (or foster care) journeys, not just the same path(s) that the lead women have personally experienced themselves.

Expected Financial Cost:

Nothing (Each woman pays for her own coffee, etc.)

Potholes to Avoid:

  • Generally it is best not to force an agenda or conversation about adoption or any other specific topic (instead allow the conversation to evolve over time towards more substantive topics)
  • Try to keep the conversation generally appealing to all women who are in attendance, regardless of their interests or specific adoption (or foster care) journey; don’t allow one person to dominate the choice of topics or the conversation
  • Try to avoid having the conversation become too much of a “gripe fest” (most women are coming to connect and to be encouraged; if they want to be depressed they can probably do that on their own and on their own time)
  • Try to avoid having the time turn into a “fix it” session where one person is allowed to display all of her problems and everyone chips in their two cents on how to “fix it”

Helpful Resources:

Quote from a Participant:

  • “Moms Night Out is a place where I am normal . . . or at least a place where I feel normal.  I feel understood, encouraged, and blessed each time I go. The unique challenges of adoption are not as trying and even at times humorous because others can relate.  Certainly, the joys are multiplied as others rejoice with you.  It is BEAUTIFUL to see God’s fingerprint in each family represented at Moms Night Out and to return the next time we get together to see how GOD continues to bring families together through adoption.”

Copyright 2008 Tapestry, a ministry of Irving Bible Church (www.tapestryministry.org)

Also Found In: Resources for Churches, Starting a Ministry, Strategy Guides