The Roots of AFFGS: How it Began

by Christine Rickert, Former Board Member

In 1994 two adoptive moms, Dawn Lum and Karen Lindh, began their adoption search and attended a WISH ‘Waiting is So Hard’ support group, sponsored by FIA ‘Friends in Adoption’ in Auburn, WA.

After adopting their first babies successfully, they set out for baby number two. Living in Woodinville and attending support meetings farther away became a bit of a burden. So a handful of waiting parents, including Kim Brown, Ann Cockrill and Julie Vanbeek, decided to form their own group and meet somewhere closer to home.

With financial assistance from Friends in Adoption, the moms found a meeting space, had flyers printed and mailed them to recent attendees of the annual adoption fair, to advertise their local adoption group. Lo and behold, a big crowd showed up for the first meeting. Starting off with less than 50 people in 1997, the group quickly grew into the hundreds.

Dawn Lum and Karen Lindh facilitated the waiting group (AWAIT), organized playgroups (SNAP), and sponsored quarterly education meetings. Karen started the newsletter. Diana Gruenwald was instrumental in the early years of SNAP, and was later a co-president on the board. Beth Elliott and Steve Shoemaker were the 2nd set of AWAIT facilitators. Other founding members include Marie Tschirgi, Lorna Bolong, Adi Ferrara, Maria King, Sheila Miller and Julia Shlemmer. The articles of incorporation and the by-laws were a group effort including Julie Shoemaker. Violà, on June 24th, 1997, AFFGS was officially born.

Today we have 125+ families as active members and several professionals affiliated with AFFGS. Our events, like the annual camping trip and Fall picnic, regularly draw 50-75 people. We have 8 members on the board but can always use a few more. Thanks to all the founding and previous members for your contributions in keeping AFFGS alive and thriving!