Some of the most moving moments at this year's Gather gala happened while Kiara Montgomery and Deanna Schuette spoke. Last week we published Deanna's speech at Gather, and this week we have the honor of publishing Kiara's speech. On Your Feet Foundation is well-known for keeping birthparent and adoptee voices at the forefront, and both Kiara and Deanna's words had our attendees moved to tears. For those in our community who were unable to attend in person, we share Kiara's words here. Kiara is a birthmother, a member of our case management staff, and a powerful voice for birthparents.
Welcome, everyone, and thank you for joining us tonight. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to speak to you. My name is Kiara Montgomery and I am an Associate Case Manager with On Your Feet Foundation. I am also a birthmother to my son, and I parent two children.
I found On Your Feet Foundation in 2013 after placing my son for adoption in December of 2012. On Your Feet has truly helped me in so many ways - from referrals to services to grants for rental assistance, education, and resume building. Most of all On Your Feet Foundation has provided a safe space for me and other birthmothers to speak openly about our adoptions, with other women who have walked the same path, and without fear of judgement.
I was in a very dark place when I came to this Foundation. I had just left an extremely violent relationship that resulted in my losing custody of my oldest child a few months after I placed my son for adoption. I appreciate this organization so much because, without them, my situation would’ve been way worse. I received a grant for rent so that I could move into a better apartment and even though I was parenting my daughter, my case manager, Jennifer, and On Your Feet’s Board President, Pat, showed up to court dates and advocated for me as I worked to regain custody of my daughter.
I’m so thankful to have the opportunity now, as a birthmother, to be able to work for the foundation that helped me so much. To be able to help other birthmothers like myself is truly special.
So, thank you to the board and staff of On Your Feet Foundation, especially the case management team! Thank you to our sponsors and to everyone who is here helping out. Finally, thank you to each and every one of you here tonight. Without you, none of this would be possible. Thank you!