This has felt like a timeless summer. For some, it’s meant relief. For others, increased stress. For some of our families, the stresses of delayed legal decisions have been bearing down. Will adoptions finalize? Will their foster children reunify with bio families? Regardless of the decision, the extended in-between time is hard. It’s hard for the parent personally, but more importantly it’s hard to know how to best support and orient our children in these confusing times. 


The families of our Wilshire Boulevard Temple cohort continue to meet every month but now by Zoom and, since Second Nurture would never deny our families bagel brunches, we have the yummy spreads home delivered. It’s still wonderful to meet—and the kids burst with just as much excitement to see each other! Second Nurture has done our best to support the families with psychological consultations and also with fun, purposeful help.


We welcomed Esther Ben Gigi, an Ayeka certified parents’ counselor, to discuss parenting in stressful times. It was a content rich, meaningful session in which each parent shared a metaphor describing their experience during these challenging times and Esther, using those metaphors, helped us all think conceptually and practically about ways each one of us could best parent our children through the many uncertainties they must hold. We were all left with the Ayeka model’s powerful metaphor of being a lighthouse for our children.

We also welcomed Ms. Sonja Field to teach parents more ways to tend to their children's coils and curls. To start off, Second Nurture supporter Carolyn Aronson, founder of It’s a Ten! Haircare, herself adopted from foster care, sent gift bags of hair products. Members of our partner community Shomrei Torah Synagogue prepared the gift bags and hand delivered one to each family in the Wilshire Blvd. Temple cohort. It was a fun and practical event and such a joy to see each family unit, tools in hand, following Ms. Sonja's careful, attentive instructions—parting, combing and styling their children’s hair—and to see the kids’ joy in the results! Here's Cora all tuckered out after having her hair done!

We had our first bagel brunch with the Nefesh cohort and are gearing up for IKAR’s, and Shomrei Torah Synagogue has been creating a robust support network for the other communities’ cohorts.


Meanwhile, Susan has updated the Jewish educational materials for the fall holidays— thanks to The Dave Thomas Foundation—beautifully designed by Deborah Delany. And our new gorgeous website is about to be launched, thanks to many volunteer hours by designer extraordinaire Coren Feldman.


We are  putting our Columbus grants from Mentor Central Ohio and the Ohio Arts Council to good use, preparing for the October launch of the Harmony Project based mentorship program for Transitional Age Youth aging out of the foster care system. The youth are residents of  Star House’s Carol Stewart Village. The programming is created under the expertise of Starfish Alliance. When social isolation measures are lifted, the new mentors will welcome the youth into the Harmony Project Choir.


Big News! Four new amazing board members!

Please meet....



Marra Gad, a grateful child of adoption, speaks internationally about her own transracial adoption, and her experiences as a bi-racial Jew, through the lens of her memoir, THE COLOR OF LOVE: A Story of a Mixed-Race Jewish Girl. She is a writer and producer, and is President of Egad! Productions.




Willie Garson, who adopted his son from foster care, is an actor. He has appeared in over 300 episodes of television, over 70 films as well as continual theater productions. Willie twice served as National Spokesman for National Adoption Day.



Lakshmi Iyer, who adopted her older girls, twins, from foster care, is a software engineer and an author. Lakshmi is the author of a blog on parenting and of the children's book, "Why Is My Hair Curly?"




And last but not least! Mike McCullough, who adopted two of his children internationally, is a technology CFO and Partner in a Venture Capital firm, with a past in auditing. Michael is a licensed CPA and a professor of Business Management.


A loving, excited and grateful welcome to

Marra, Willie, Lakshmi and Mike!


And we are so thankful to welcome a new staff member, Jen Moran!

Update on Suki McCoy, our phenomenal COO:

Suki is taking a step back while she takes care of health issues. We know you join us in sending loving wishes for speedy and complete renewed health.

And, as ever, we are immensely grateful for all of you who make Second Nurture possible!

With love and blessings for health and well-being,

Susan

As we “Count the Omer”, the days between Passover and Shavuot, we are struck with an irony: Shavuot is both the only Jewish holiday that has a ritualized count leading to it, yet it is also the only holiday mentioned in the Torah that is not assigned a specific date. That is a metaphor for our struggle with the coronavirus. It is also a metaphor for youth in the foster care system waiting for families, who are always counting the days with no promise of the family for which they long.


Even as local governments greatly limit their services during this unprecedented time, Second Nurture is ramping up our work at four of our eight new partner communities in LA County via remote introductory sessions and agency orientations.

We are also continuing to support our families in our thriving Wilshire Blvd Temple cohort who are in lockdown with their children, waiting for their children to come home, or in painful limbo as their adoption finalizations are postponed: holding remote bagel brunches where we gather to share a meal and talk through challenges and connecting in other ways such as remote trauma-informed yoga with the talented Kate O’Hara of Thriving Tree Yoga LLC.


Meanwhile, Susan is hard at work improving the Jewish educational materials. The Dave Thomas Foundation renewed their generous support to bring the resources we created (through their generosity) last year to a new level—professionally designed, web-friendly and branded. We are also thrilled to report that we have exceeded our goal to raise the $60k needed to trigger the second year donation of the generous Benmosche three-year commitment. Another generous grant from the Aviv Foundation helped us meet that goal.


We are having similar success in Columbus, receiving a renewed grant from Mentor Central Ohio, and a new grant from the Ohio Council for the Arts, to fund our collaborative effort to create a mentorship community for Transitional Age Youth (TAY) at the Harmony Project from Star House’s Carol Stewart Village, and the professional expertise of Starfish Alliance to guide us. When social isolation measures are lifted, the new mentors will be ready to welcome the youth into the Harmony Project Choir.


In these months, we are all counting the days—both to a safe freedom from isolation and, for Jews, to Shavuot to mark the moment God gave us the Torah at Mt. Sinai. But none of us h9lds the longing of the children and teens in foster care who count the days until their own Sinai, their own covenant of belonging, with no marked date to believe in.


Subject Line: Black Mitzvah—and More Mitzvahs—in LA



Dear Friends:


The days are getting longer—as are our growing list of adoptive families and communities that want to become Second Nurture partners!


At Wilshire Boulevard Temple, we now have 16 families who want to foster and adopt. Eleven have children at home, five of whom have now adopted their foster children. And we are growing LA County-wide as well. We are expanding our work to eight more Jewish communities, have started information sessions to recruit foster families and are thrilled with the interest we have found. Stay tuned for the official partnership announcements after Passover!


In February, we held our first educational roundtable with rabbis and Jewish educators in LA to test our educational materials that lift up and link the themes of fostering and adoption with Jewish lives today. As one rabbi said at the end of the session, “This text study is so important. It’s not just an announcement about fostering and adopting, we are engaging in a deep way.” In 2020, we are planning more roundtables and will hold them this spring in Chicago and Boston. Please let us know if you are interested in joining these events.



In case you missed it, Second Nurture founder and Executive Director officiated the bat mitzvah for Tiffany Haddish, Second Nurture’s newest board member, in December, the same day Haddish turned 40 years old and released her new Netflix comedy special, “Black Mitzvah.”


Finally, we want to thank all of you that have generously supported our work. We are well on our way pleased to raising the funds we need to secure a 3-to-1 match from our board member and generous donor Nehama Benmosche. Your combined support has allowed us to grow in LA—and we look forward to telling you about our wonderful new foster and adoptive families as they grow!







Second Nurture was founded in 2017 by Susan Silverman. After meeting hundreds of people in dozens of cities in the US and Canada while touring with her book, a memoir about her family and adoption, she became convinced that many more people would foster and adopt if they had direction, fellowship and support.

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