RAINBOW FAMILIES NEWS
Rainbow Families could never serve our members so well, without the hard work and dedication of our incredible volunteers. We’re beginning a new program, a monthly “Volunteer Spotlight” to showcase and thank some of these incredible people.
Kicking off our Volunteer Spotlight is Jamie McGonnigal. Jamie and his husband Sean first became involved with Rainbow Families in 2014, when they decided to enroll in a Maybe Baby class. What they found was a network of LGBTQ+ parents and prospective parents with whom they could build community. Since welcoming their son in 2017, they have become even more involved with the Rainbow Families community.
This year, Jamie was instrumental in helping plan our annual Family Camping Weekend. He worked with donors to raise funds, ensuring more families could come together for this great experience. He also coordinated the end-of-camp Family Dance, even saving it from last minute rain by moving it indoors! Without his dedication, this weekend wouldn’t have been nearly as fantastic for our 150 campers.
“The most important aspect of Camping Weekend” Jamie said, “was building community and connection among LGBTQ+ families.”
“For most of the kids at camp, when they go home, they are one of the only, if not the only, family like theirs in their community,” he continued. “There’s just not a lot of opportunities for people to come together and just be ourselves with families like ours.”
Through Camping Weekend, Jamie and his family have met other Rainbow Families that they're planning on staying connected with in the future through dinners, playdates, and more.
“We’re building community from these events,” Jamie said. “Rainbow Families is where that began.”
Thank you, Jamie, for all your hard work in fostering this community, through Camping Weekend and beyond!
Pregnancy & Loss: Rainbow Families Sees You
Losing a baby is so much more than how it can often be portrayed by others who haven’t had the experience. For most, it’s not “just a bunch of cells” or other distancing language that often gets used, but a baby or a possibility. Losing a pregnancy is about losing the dream of a future that had been mapped out. Dreams of “firsts” and new experiences. Dreams of watching your partner get to parent . Dreams of creating the family that you had always imagined.
Pregnancy loss cuts those dreams off, without warning, and can be felt so deeply. It tends to be a time for a couple where each might grieve differently, causing some confusion in what had been felt to be a solid relationship. Oftentimes, it is the first time that as a couple, you’ve experienced something traumatic together.
Building a family within the LGBTQ+ community is a labor of intention and planning. There are no accidents. As a result, losing a much-wanted pregnancy cuts more deeply and has so many layers.
This month, your loss is seen by those that haven’t walked in these shoes. Whether you’ve experienced embryos that didn’t form or grow, an IVF or IUI cycle that didn’t take, a chemical pregnancy, a molar pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage, a termination for medical reasons, a stillbirth, or a neonatal loss: Rainbow Families sees you. We are here to hold you in this time of pain as well as time of remembrance, and we are here to celebrate when you await building your family or as you parent that child.
Blog written by: Dr. Julie Bindeman, former Rainbow Families board member and leader of the RF Pregnancy/Parenting group and the Pre-Conception group.
Thank you to all who participated in this year's INCREDIBLE camping weekend! It was our largest attended camp weekend ever, and during a pandemic no less. We all had SO MUCH FUN.
"What a magical weekend! Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make it happen! I also REALLY appreciated the care and diligence regarding COVID protocols"
"This was our first introduction to Rainbow Families. What a positive, celebratory experience for my partner and I....and our 19 month old!"
"My kids and Imet loads of new and amazing people, good vibes all around. Just what we needed"
Rainbow Families members Shay & Sequoia (and their adorable kiddo) plus our Executive Director, were featured on CBS' Great Day Washington program, and given a surprise donation in the process! Check out the CLIP HERE
Our banking partner, Amalgamated Bank, published this interview today. We envite you to take a look, and learn a bit more about both our organizations.
"There are many questions and concerns a new or prospective parent might have about growing their family. A prospective parent identifying as LGBTQ+ will likely have even more questions or concerns and the answers may be harder to find in mainstream parental courses or prospective parent literature. It may also be hard to find others going through the same journey, who can provide support and understanding throughout the process of growing their family. Some of these questions might include fertility options for same gender or gender nonconforming people; guidance on “coming out” to your children; finding competent, affirming medical providers; finding a skilled attorney who understands the ins and outs of protecting the rights of “non-traditional” families legally. This is precisely where Rainbow Families steps in.....READ MORE
We are happy to introduce you to Emily Hickey as one of our two fantastic summer interns.
Emily is thrilled to join the Rainbow Families team as a summer intern. Originally from St. Louis, MO, she is a junior at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she is studying Journalism and English. Emily believes in the power of storytelling to inspire social change, which motivated her to pursue nonprofit communications work. She’ll be working on Rainbow Families' social media and communications, as well as helping to run the US/Australia Pen Pal program.
From the Board of Directors and myself, we extend sincere gratitude for helping make the 2021 Family Conference a great program for our community. With special presentations by Congressman Mondaire Jones, the Indigo Girls, fantastic workshops and more.... it was a super event with nearly 400 attendees. We look forward to the 2022 Family Conference which will be IN PERSON. Be safe and happy Pride Month!
Catherine Kelly received Rainbow Families' 2021 Volunteer of the Year award at this pas weekend's Annual Family Conference. Catherine is finishing her PhD program at George Washington University, yet still makes time each month to lead one of our longest-standing support groups, the Adoption Support Group. She also coordinated our 2021 Needs Assessment Survey which garnered tremendous results and data for the LGBTQ+ community in/around Washington DC. Hat's Off to You!
Rainbow Families, in collaboration with George Washington University, has created an extensive community needs survey. Data from this will allow Rainbow Families and other LGBTQ service providers to offer the best, most meaningful services possible. If you live in DC/Maryland/Virginia we invite you to contribute - it takes 15 minutes. Thank you. LINK
Our 18th LGBTQ+ Family Conference is May 22 and 23. Registration Opens April 1st. More info here! It will be another fantastic, valuable program - held virtually and available nationally.