We are all ready to say goodbye to 2020 and welcome in 2021!
As we start a new year, we invite you to partner with us to make 2021 one of ASA's best years yet. While 2020 was hard for all of us and has required a lot of adjustments to the way we have provided services and the way we build community, there has been a lot to be thankful for as well. If you don’t follow us on Facebook, please do! In November 2020, we took the opportunity to reflect on all of the gifts 2020 provided to us.
Technology has been the biggest gift! It has enabled us to continue services in 2020 at a steady pace. In fact, with the addition of telehealth, our counseling program grew exponentially this year! Generous donations solicited in 2019 (spearheaded by the Soni family- thank you!!) have allowed us to offer counseling at reduced-rates for families who wouldn't be able to afford services otherwise. We never want finances to be a reason that adoptive families do not seek the support they need for their long-term health and happiness. The additional income from our growing counseling program allows us to set goals for 2021 that have been dreams of ours for many years.
The growth we plan in 2021 will not take away from continuing the services that have benefited the adoption community in Charlotte for the last six years. We will offer an Adoptee Panel early in the year (even if we have to do it virtually). Adoption 101 and Race, Culture and Adoption classes will continue to be offered. In fact, we hope to make Adoption 101 available on an on-demand platform this year, which will allow families to get the information needed early in the adoption process at a time convenient for them. We also plan to develop a course on Openness and Adoption. Our monthly support groups for parents of adopted teens and adult adoptees will continue. We hope to reestablish an ongoing group for adopted teens. Our time-limited support-ucation groups including Caring for Children with Trauma and Talking to Kids about Adoption will be offered.
In 2021, Adoption Support Alliance will focus on BUILDING CAPACITY. Our board, staff and volunteers are never at a loss for ideas to better support the adoption community. Our budget for 2021 has almost doubled as we work to offer more to our community and bring on more professional support to the organization. Reaching our goals in the upcoming year will not be possible without ongoing support from donors. In December 2020, we have a campaign to make up the difference between our goal for our 2020 Fall Photo Fundraiser ($10,000; made before the Corona outbreak) and what we were able to successfully raise ($5,900; a great success given the circumstances!). We also now have the technology for donors to make monthly pledges of any amount to help sustain our work in a consistent way. With the support of our donors, 2021 can be a great year of building capacity within ASA.
In 2021, we plan to make two important hires to our Adoption Support Alliance team. We plan to bring on a 25-hour a week Operations Manager to support our communications, community building events, fundraising and a big chunk of behind-the-scenes administrative work. It is our desire that our Operations Manager becomes a critical voice in shaping the future of Adoption Support Alliance and is with the organization for the long-haul. In addition, because of the expansion of our counseling program, we have the demand and the resources to hire a part-time adoption-competent therapist in 2021. The numbers of calls and emails we receive on a daily basis has grown and we want to diversify our clinical team to offer clients more flexible appointment times and, perhaps, more variety in our clinical perspectives. We will hire for this part-time role in the second half of 2021.
In addition to permanent hires to the Adoption Support Alliance team, we will partner with adoption-competent clinicians in the Charlotte area to offer more support groups on a variety of topics. We want to introduce our community to other clinicians who can support adoptive families outside of ASA because we recognize that there is more than enough work to go around! As we build this team of clinicians, we will offer them the opportunity to become familiar with our training curriculum so that others besides our Executive Director can offer classes with great frequency and flexibility of timing in the future.
One of the biggest opportunities to be thankful for this year is that Adoption Support Alliance is a member of the 2021 CULTIVATE cohort. This program will help the organization develop a strategic plan to encourage intentional growth over the next three years. Over the next year, CULTIVATE will help us to, among other things, strengthen our board, build a pipeline of individual donors, master grantsmanship and source volunteers and staff. Basically, we’re counting on the lessons learned through CULTIVATE to solve any and all of our organizational challenges ;)
We are so grateful to you, our adoption community and friends, for your previous support of our work and invite you to consider an ongoing partnership to make our dreams for the adoption community a reality. With 2020 behind us (or at least days away from being behind us), we are hopeful and encouraged that 2021 will be a year of solidifying Adoption Support Alliance and further ensuring its longevity and ongoing work of ensuring that all adoptive families get the support they need to thrive.