Reflections: Paint Night in Review

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The Paint Night fundraiser went wonderfully!

It started off with Serina, owner of Dublin Roasters, and Dawn, the artist running the paint night coming early to set up.

Dawn shared with us her journey with adoption. She described how difficult the process was and how she ultimately came to the decision to not adopt. Although her path ended differently than we hope for ours, the depth of her empathy and understanding was heartfelt.

Serina quietly floated around the café cleaning, making fresh coffee magically appear, and finding places to place the food, silent auction items, and the bags to be sold. Throughout the night, Serina continued to slip silently around the café offering support to guests, ensuring the coffee stayed warm, and that everyone was having a good time.

My cousin, Nicole, came by not only to participate in the paint night, but she also brought with her vegan chili and cornbread (hopefully, I will have the recipe to post, as there was so much inquiry about how to make it.). Additionally, she brought a few other participants for the evening: Tyler and Shane Simpson.

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Dawn led the evening with excellent instruction on how to paint winter scenes on our wine glasses and beer steins. As the night continued, jokes about terrible painting, parenting, and yellow snow were inevitable.

My other cousin, Lesley, dropped by and was able to jump in seamlessly. She brought with her another bottle of wine, and several funny stories about our family.  (Fun fact: all of our grandmothers either had a child or grandchild who later came out as gay. We consider ourselves the “ornaments” of our family tree.) Additionally, she also bought one of the bags that we have for sale.

 

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Despite the attendance of the event being significantly lower than expected, the quality of the support definitely made up for the empty seats. Because we had so many great Silent Auction items and not enough participants to create competition over the items, Serina offered to keep the auction open through December 3rd at Dublin Roasters and even dedicated a whole wall of the café to highlight the items and advertise the adoption. Shane and Tyler created a fabulous display for the silent auction. Dawn provided us a higher percentage of the proceeds to the event. Even Kimberlyn if Namaste Yoga Studio stopped by to voice her support and later would message me about creating some bags for her to purchase for her family.

With all of the planning, blog posts, bag-making, conversations, managing the go fund me page- it can all be very exhausting. It makes it very easy to become disappointed or even take things personally when things don’t go as expected. What is so wonderful about Matt and my support network is that they are so relentless in their support, it is very difficult to stay in that place for very long. We are blessed to be the recipients of so much of this support.

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In hindsight, there are a few thing I think we could do differently in the future. I think that part of the turnout issue was not enough notice, especially that close to Thanksgiving. I thought that having it the weekend before would be a great way to take people’s minds off the stress of the upcoming holiday, but perhaps it just added to it.

Another observation is that most of our support lives in Howard County and Dublin Roasters is in Frederick County. Perhaps the distance was an issue for people. So I will start looking into splitting up fundraisers to various counties since my family live in Montgomery County and Baltimore County.

I also think that maybe spending more time in Frederick would also be beneficial since so many people in Frederick are willing to support us with very little interactions with Matt and me. There is clearly a very strong sense of community in Frederick and it appears that they have accepted Matt and me as a part of it. We are honored to have been made honorary members of the Frederick community.

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I am considering having our next event at the end of January or beginning of February. I am thinking that the focus will be on self-love. I will continue to update this blog as the fundraiser continues to form.

Thanks for everyone’s support! We really need and appreciate it!

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