FORGET ME NOT FAMILY SOCIETY

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

For the period of February 1, 2016 – January 31, 2017

Presented April 29th, 2017

Good morning all!  I am pleased to be here in person this year and have the chance to see all of you!  The past year my family and friends really were amazing in how they helped and cared for me.  And, the silver lining is that my ‘aloof’ 17 year old cat now LOVES his mummy and isn’t afraid to show it!  Lol

This past year has gone by quickly with not much to report from the Board.  Since the AGM we have held two Board meetings via conference call.  We have discussed the future of the Society and the consensus was that the Board members were willing to stay on in their positions but in a smaller capacity – meaning that we would basically be ‘caretakers’ of the Society and not taking on any new projects.  The one change would be that Gail would no longer be the Secretary/Treasurer moving forward after this AGM.  FMNFS member, Dena Shea has agreed to put her name forward for the position of Secretary and Gail would continue on as our Treasurer.  Dena has sat in on the two Board meetings that we have held.  Any other Society business has been dealt with using email.

The New Westminster and Cloverdale support groups have continued with attendance being smaller, however when the group is smaller we can have some deeper discussions take place.   Fortunately Rian Martin has been able to help facilitate the Cloverdale group while I was recovering from my accident.  Cloverdale has also gone back to the format of taking the summer months – July and August off.  With the inclement weather the January and February meetings were cancelled.  Since I am now living in Chilliwack the Board has also started a discussion of perhaps alternating locations for the Cloverdale group with suggestions of Aldergrove and Abbotsford being suggested.  The small Interior group has not met for some time due to some of the participants having moved from the area.

On October 12th, member Catherine Moore presented to the Master’s Class of Social students at UBC.   This was the fourth time that the FMNFS was invited to do so.  The invitation came at a very late date which didn’t allow Bernadette time to prepare the presentation and panel members.  Because of this it was agreed to invite Catherine Moore, a reunited adoptee as well as being a registered clinical counsellor with a master’s degree in Counselling Psychology who specializes in adoption issues and therapy, to be our presenter.  The feedback we received from Dr. Kruk at UBC about Catherine’s presentation was:

“First of all thank you for recommending Catherine; we all really enjoyed her presentation and discussion. The students learned a lot and really appreciated the opportunity to discuss in depth the questions they formulated before the presentation. “

I would say another successful event took place thanks to Bernadette and Catherine Moore!

The other event that took place was of a very informal and social type.  Bernadette, myself and two members of the Society went to Victoria for three nights to visit with six members who live there.  We spent the 3 days meeting whoever was available for chats, walks, meals and a bit of shopping.  It was another way to connect with members to enable them to express their thoughts and feelings on their adoption reunion journeys.  It was time well spent.

We also had two luncheons.  In July we met at the Glen Golf Course in Abbotsford and in August we met at Peace Portal Golf Course in South Surrey.  These lunches were well attended by 12 to 15 members and we managed to chat and eat for a good four hours each time.  Everyone who attended agreed that this is something we should do more often!

Amy has been looking after our website.  Keeping it updated with new information.

Our Adoption Circles newsletter has been emailed to members with the exception of mail outs for those members who have wished to receive a hardcopy.  Since our last AGM we have published 3 issues that as always have been thought provoking and with a professional touch put to the layout.  Thanks to Bernadette and Amy for all of your hard work and to Gail for your eagle eyes with the final edit.  The AC is going to be missed by many.

It is with great sadness that we are accepting the fact that the Society that we all know and love is going to be on hiatus.  Last year at the AGM there was much discussion about what we should do and at that time it had been decided that the Forget Me Not Family Society would be dissolved as of January 31st, 2017.  As I have already said in the following Board meetings we had agreed that we would continue on in our positions if we are again elected, however we will be caretaking rather than being active.  The Society will continue with the support groups, the website will be maintained and the phone will also remain active.  Like so many other organizations, Parent Finders being one of them, we will remain available to help those in need of support.

Now my favourite part – to thank the Board for all of their work and support over the past year.

Rian’s previous experience from other Boards has helped a lot in some of our decision making during meetings.  And as I have already said your willingness to step up and facilitate the Cloverdale meetings is greatly appreciated!  I appreciate also the times that you have called to make suggestions about the Cloverdale meeting places and your willingness to make calls if need be.  Thanks so much for your support!

Michael…I appreciate your thoughtful ideas for what we should be doing in this time of change.  I also appreciate your offer to facilitate the Cloverdale meeting.

Amy your tireless efforts on the newsletter have made it very appealing to the eye while creating a format that flows from one article to the next.  I am going to miss seeing it.  Thank you for all the hours you have put into it!  I also appreciate the time that you have put into the updating of the website. It was getting tired and now it’s easy to navigate and informative.  The time that you have put into both of these important pieces isn’t lost on any of us!

Bernadette, your thoughtful efforts on the AC have made it a first class publication and it is with sadness that we are seeing our last one.  However I understand that you have so many other things in life to do, your family, friends and all of your hobbies are calling.  It’s time to give them your full attention!  Also the time and energy that you have put into the UBC presentations have I believe helped some future social workers enter their field with their eyes more wide open to what adoption really means.  Thank you so much for all of your help and support!

And as always, last, but never least, Gail.  What can I say other than thank you for your years…YEARS!!!  Of work for the Forget Me Not Family Society.  You have been keeping the books for…25 plus years?  You quietly pay our bills, file our statements, keep track of memberships and on and on and on!  Not to mention keeping the minutes and organizing our AGM’s each time you have worn the two hats of secretary AND treasurer.  I know I am not alone in thanking you for all that you have done over the years.  Unfortunately I still haven’t gotten the hang of the financials, thankfully for everyone else we have you to look after them and not me!

I would also like to thank the members of the Board for being willing to stay on in a caretaking role.  Over the next year we will see how this plays out and in 2018 perhaps there will be something new…

Thanks to our members who have stuck by us in this tough time of transition.  It’s not easy for you,  I know.  What does it all mean?  Honestly we don’t really know other than we are still going to be here with our support groups and as I’ve said website.  We aren’t going away.  We will still be here, just in a smaller way.

Thanks to Michael for offering to host our AGM here in his amenities building and for making this amazing lunch!  I hope you all enjoy!  Thanks for being here!

Marnie

 

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

For the period Feb. 1, 2015 to Jan. 31, 2016

Presented at the Annual General Meeting April 30, 2016

by Marnie Tetz

Hi everyone and welcome to the Forget Me Not Family Society’s 2016 Annual General Meeting.

It’s obvious our format is a bit different this year as I am having to Skype in to attend.  On March 16th I started out on a short hike to Cascade Falls in Mission and ended up being brought out by firemen and ambulance attendants after slipping.  They were amazingly kind and gentle making my ride down in the basket as smooth as Splash Mountain!  That’s what I was envisioning in my mind as I kept my eyes closed on the ‘ride’!  I had fractured my right leg and left foot.  The patella had shifted slightly but thankfully not enough to require surgery.  I had X-rays and saw my doctor on Thursday and thankfully am cast-free and ready for rehab!!!

OKAY!  Enough about me!  I will now share with you what your Board has been up to in the last year.  We have been meeting on an almost monthly basis with conference calls to discuss where we are going as a Society.  You may remember at our last AGM there was a lengthy discussion about our vision of where the FMNFS was going.  We talked about the newsletter being phased out as a hard copy version and going to an email delivery system.  We also talked about revamping the website, making it more user friendly and easier to find on the web.  The other topic was rebranding of the Society.  Perhaps changing the name to better reflect what it is that we do.  At that meeting we also welcomed two new Board members, Rian Martin and Michael Hodgson.

At our first Board meeting following the AGM we got to work on the issue of revamping the website, a job that Amy and Rian spearheaded. Other topics discussed were having a volunteer to monitor our Face Book group, what it would mean and what it would take to send the newsletter out via email only.  We had listened to the suggestions made at the AGM and we went straight to work on them!

Nancy Kato took the lead with the Face Book group and consolidated from two to one.  Thanks Nancy!  And eventually Amy got us on track with a new website guru and our revamped website is up and running and looks great!

Speaking of the website, Amy has pretty well learned the ropes and is able to now make most of the updates herself.  Instead of a name change Amy has incorporated ‘Adoption Reunion Support Network’ into our website to indicate what it is that we actually do.  Hopefully this is making it easier to find us on the web.  Huge thanks to Amy for running with this!

Our next yearly job was planning and organizing our annual fall workshop.  Thanks to Gail for helping me with the contracts and the organizing of this event!  We were thrilled to have author, filmmaker and adoptee Ann Fessler present for us.  This had been a workshop a few years in the making and FINALLY it happened.  The event was very well received in part because of Ann’s outgoing personality and sense of humour.

However, before enjoying the workshop we had another event to work on.  That was our presentation at UBC to the Masters class of social work students.  For the third year Bernadette put together an amazing learning experience.  As in the previous years, Bernadette made the introductions and Nancy Kato was our moderator.  Nancy wore two hats this time, one as moderator and the other by presenting from experiences her as a birth mother.  Michael Hodgson and I were the adoptees with Michael sharing his story in depth.  I must say he ‘grabbed’ the audience.  Rian Martin shared his perspective as a birth and adoptive father.  We had an amazing group of students who asked many questions and shared their thoughts.  The afternoon flew by and I would say was possibly the best event of the three held so far.  Thanks to Bernadette and the panel!

Of course my report wouldn’t be complete without thanking our Board for all of their time and efforts with the Society.

Thanks to Rian for putting his name forward and joining the Board.  You have volunteered to take on various jobs from seeing what you could do to eliminate our Cloverdale library rent, which unfortunately wasn’t possible, to contacting various media organizations to promote the workshop.  Because of this Bernadette and I were interviewed for an article which eventually appeared in the Peace Arch News in White Rock and South Surrey, BC.  Many thanks Rian for your support this past year and for facilitating a few of the meetings in Cloverdale.

Thanks also to Michael for joining us on the Board and for your thoughtful suggestions on money saving ideas.  For a small nonprofit that is always a good thing!  We also appreciated your honesty when you shared with us that you needed to step back from your commitment to the Board because of your busy work and personal commitments.

Amy!  Your continued work on the newsletter has made it better than ever if that’s possible.  Your attention to detail to pull it all together with the quotes, pictures and graphics you choose.  Also your stick-with-it to update the website is very much appreciated!  Thank you!!!

Bernadette!  Working with you is a pleasure! (Well…working with all of you is a pleasure!!!). Your continued commitment to the educational program via the UBC presentations is so important!  Even if one of those students is grabbed by what they hear and learn then a difference will be made in how adoption is viewed.  Continuing to have these presentations is so important!  And of course your tireless work along with Amy on the AC.  The topics are amazing and how you research and write your editorials always brings the issue together making for insightful reading and learning for our readers.  Thank you!

Last, but by no means least, is Gail.  What would we do without you???  You balance our books, file the paperwork with the government, and send out notices for renewals to our membership in your quiet unassuming way as you always have.  And for the last four years you have also worn the hat of secretary.  This meant keeping the minutes of each board meeting and the last four, now five AGMs.  I don’t want to think about how we could possibly be without you.  So for now I won’t.  I will just offer my thanks to you for all you do!

Finally I want to thank our members who have stuck with us.  You have kept up your memberships, attended our workshops and support groups.  Remember, this is your Society made up of your people who GET what it is to walk in your shoes and to feel the highs and lows of adoption search and reunion.  We know the dance steps and what it’s like when we are waltzing but our other is doing the twist or even sitting the whole dance out.  We get it.

We want to continue to be here to support you and the others that will come after you.  To do so we need your help to keep going!  Several of your long time Board members are running out of steam and we need you to step up to the plate to keep us going!

Thank you for being here today!

~ Marnie

[Editor’s Note: This is Marnie’s review of the previous year, which was presented at the beginning of the meeting and does not convey the sadness and emotion we felt at having to make our decision, after our discussion about the future of the society.]

 

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

For the period of February 1, 2014 to January 31, 2015
Presented 27th May 2015

 

Normally I would have started my report with something flip like, in a blink of an eye, or time flies by so quickly.  Not this time.  My report will start off a bit more somber as this past year, 2014 held enormous sorrow for me personally, and for some of our members as well.  2014 dealt my family a very heavy blow as I as diagnosed with breast cancer and the fallout that comes with that. And my husband Rod…my hero and lifetime companion of over 40 years passed away from multiple myeloma after living courageously with it for 7 years.  I hope I don’t offend any of you, and if I do….I apologize.  **** Cancer!
And so…..with those words off my chest….I will proceed to share with you our year as the Forget Me Not Family Society enters…….25 years???
Since our AGM in April of 2014 your Board has continued to meet on an almost monthly basis.  You must remember that your Board is made up of aging citizens who qualify for that seniors breakfast menu at all of our favourite restaurants!  I just keep forgetting that I’m that old!  Then again, it’s only a number, we are only as old as we feel!
I am getting ahead of myself.  First off, I want to thank our membership for their continued support, keeping up your membership dues and attending our support groups and workshops.  I know sometimes when that support group rolls around and you are thinking…….support?  I don’t need it, I am good with how my reunion is going…….or, support?  My reunion is in the tank…….our dance steps are not in sync so why bother?  And yet you do, month after month.  You continue to attend because you want to pay it forward like many before you.  Thank you for doing so.  By being there you are helping someone else.
Since our last AGM  Nancy hasn’t had any speaking engagements with pre-adoptive parent groups as funding has been cut.  Such a shame that now the pre-adopting education is being done on line.  There is no way that this is even close to being as educational as the time these adoptive parents need with someone with the knowledge that Nancy has been sharing and teaching over the years.
For the second time the Society made a presentation to the Masters class of students at the School of Social Work at UBC.  This occurred on October the 8th, 2014.  Thank you to members Triss Matthews who spoke from the adoptee’s perspective, Elizabeth Christian sharing her experience as an adoptive parent, Gail Davies as a reunited birthmother, and a special thank you to Michael Grand as a step adoptee.  Nancy again, you did a fabulous job as our moderator and Bernadette as our facilitator.  Bernadette the work that you put into this whole event is so appreciated.  The connection you have made with Dr. Kruk is invaluable!  I was able to attend this event and in awe of how light bulbs were turned on!  Thank you to all who generously shared their experience, thoughts and time.
Once again the Society had a presence at the “Finding Your Roots” seminar held at the Family History Centre in Surrey.  This is the third time the Society has had a booth.  Gail the ever present trooper was there as well as member Audrey Harrington, and Board member Amy Newman. Thanks Amy for making this an annual event and for those who have given up their Saturday to ‘man’ the table!
This past year we had some turbulence with our Annual Workshop.  Gail…..our pillar….was able to pull off making a disaster turn into a weekend none of us will forget.  Our contracted presenter bailed at the 11th hour and Gail…bless her, dove in with both feet……glad you are such a great swimmer!  And made an even better workshop event!  She convinced Brian Stanton and Patti Hawn that they needed to be here for our workshop November 1st and 2nd, 2014 and they believed her!  And what a workshop it was!  Even with a short notice change of presenters those that should have been there were!  We had rave reviews as Brian once again performed his one man play BLANK, with the skillful behind the scenes work done by Gail on sound.  Patti Hawn shared her personal story with readings from her book “Good Girl’s Don’t” accompanied by Brian.  The only comment that was repeated was that we would have liked to have heard more from Patti’s book, more readings.  The afternoon was more interactive with writing and sharing lead by both Patti and Brian.  Sharon Jinkerson and Glida Morgan facilitated a healing talking circle that followed the workshop.  Sunday morning we met once again for a support group.  As we all know it is so hard to leave a safe, understanding environment to go back to the real world.
With each of us being busy in our everyday lives we have had a few changes this past year.  The Forget MeNot Family Society lending library was returned to me and as always Gail kept a watchful eye on what we have.  Kathy Chambers agreed to look after our Archives and has put some things in order and returned them to me.  Thanks Kathy!
As last year…..our Board is still small…and yet we just click!  We each have our strengths…..and we go with them.  Gail…..as our Secretary/Treasurer, Bernadette as our Director/Newsletter Editor and Amy as our Vice President and Associate Newsletter Editor.  I think I have it easy…..I’m just the President!
And so…..like a broken record I am going to thank each of you………and as boring as it is, it will once again be in alphabetical order.
Amy…….Amy Amy!  You are a gem.  Sometimes like a dog with a bone…..and who the heck says there’s anything wrong with that?  You continue to pursue until you have the answers you want.  Guess that’s why you are a professional searcher!  Thank you for the amazing job that you do with the AC.  The attention to detail and making the newsletter appealing to the eye is second to none.  The layout is fabulous and the number of drafts before we go to print shows your attention to detail and also how versatile you are when at the last minute you are thrown a change that you make happen!  Thank you!  I smile thinking of the time you put into this publication, that apparently some want to receive on- line……me?  I want it in print so I can savour it…….enjoy it with coffee, wine or with the bubbles in the tub….a matter up for debate…….the hard copy or ecopy I mean!  It bears repeating…you are a gem!
Bernadette. I want to say I am speechless.  Then again……..we all know that’s not the case…..I am never speechless unless I am at a loss for words to describe and thank someone as talented as you are.  The gifts that you have brought to the Society are enormous.  The positive life that you bring to the AC and the ever changing topics and editorials.  Thank you.  The time that you have invested into the UBC educational program, a gift to all of us in the adoption world.  Teaching new social work students what it is for those of us who have lived the adoption truth and lies…….myths and realities.  This is a gift that you and your co-hort in crime, Dr. Kruk are giving to these young students.  I hope they realize what they have been offered and that they won’t forget these lessons so generously given by those members who bared their souls. Thank you Bernadette for making this happen!
Ok, broken record time.  Gail….last…….and never ever least!!! Ever!  Thank you for your softness and generous spirit!  With all that you do in your 9 to 5 life, you give that and more to the Forget Me Not Family Society.  You are a joy to work with and to be associated with.  As your reunion has moved in different directions you have continued to be supportive of me and each of us on the Board.  You remind me of what needs to be signed and you just do what needs to be done to keep us registered as a non-profit Society without any of us even being aware.  You keep our books, take our minutes and then remind us all that it’s AGM time.  If there’s a question about the by-laws and what we need to do to set them right, you do it by researching it and then sharing with us what our next move is.  As I always say, you are a keeper and we will be doing races in our walkers for sure!
Thank you, Amy, Bernadette and Gail for your continued hard work and support over this very tough past year.  Your love and caring for me and my family has been much appreciated.  You are all very dear friends to me……as well as to our membership.
And to our membership, thank you for continuing to support us.  Just as we think that we are not needed anymore…..a phone call will come in, or an email asking ‘what do I do?’  So……tonight we shall chat about our vision for our future……how do we keep being there for those that ask that question?
Thank you!

 

Marnie Tetz