Welcome to the Circle of Hope (COH). The COH was founded in 2004 by NOFAS Vice President Kathy Mitchell. It is a network of women who have consumed alcohol during pregnancy and may have a child or children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Join the COH today by emailing Kathy Mitchell.
The NOFAS Circle of Hope is an organization created to support birth mothers of children with FASD. The Warrior Mom logo represents the fearlessness and courage of each of our members. Our mentoring approach connects women that are struggling to reclaim their lives with other women that have been down similar paths. The COH believes in approaching FASD prevention with balance and an open heart.
To become a strong international network that will work to mentor women who are struggling with addiction or have used alcohol or other drugs while pregnant. Most members have a child or children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). Our mission is to increase understanding and support for birth mothers and to strengthen recovery for women who drank during their pregnancies as well as to support their families.
1. To improve and strengthen the lives of birth families
2. To provide peer support for birth families
3. To decrease the stigma, blame and shame that birth families may experience
How to Join the COH
The Circle of Hope provides mentorship to “new” moms that may be struggling with their addiction or the grief of having drank while pregnant. Members are connected to other members that have similar stories, or possibly that live in the same geographic area. To be connected with a mentor, become a mentor or be connected to a private Facebook site for birth mothers – contact NOFAS Vice-President Kathy Mitchell.
Interested in an FASD Training, or speaker for your community or organizational event? The Circle of Hope has a full staff of trained speakers. Some of the members are nationally known experts on FASD and addictions. Members of the COH speakers bureau are women that are stable in their own recovery . They have been trained to public presentations and are comfortable in “telling their stories.” Contact Kathy Mitchell to learn more.
Welcome Video with Kathy Mitchell
Order COH Materials
Help us prevent future alcohol exposed pregnancies by ordering and distributing the COH materials. To order materials, please contact NOFAS and specify your interest in the Circle of Hope, for example if you serve women in addiction treatment. NOFAS can send posters and brochures for only the cost of shipping and handling.
Learn about the Hope for Women in Recovery Summit
For Parents of Children with FASD
For Addiction Professionals:
Learn how Addiction Centers and Professionals can help prevent FASD. Contact NOFAS to learn more about the NOFAS FASD Curriculum for Addiction & Allied Health Professionals – Level l and Level II. (NAADAC Course, Provider # 704, 22 CEU’s).
Flyer 1 – Reduce Recidivism Rates
Flyer 2 – Prevent FASD
Flyer 3 – Connect with Other Women
Quotes from COH Members
“I believe the COH takes away the stigma with the general public when they can see someone like me—I am not a monster, but someone who needed help.”
“I felt alone and was searching for some support from other women with the same feelings.”
“I needed to share my guilt, shame and sense of loss. We didn’t know what we were doing could cause brain damage.”
“I feel like I belong and I’m understood.”
“It strengthens my commitment to sobriety.”
“It brings healing for us and our affected children.”
“I know I can turn to the BMN no matter what.”
“It is changing my life and saving my life.”
“For the first time in my life I’ve started to love myself.”
Birth Mothers’ Videos to Inspire Health, Hope, and Happiness
Melissa Overcomes her Struggles with Prenatal Care
Melissa discusses the challenges she has overcome with physicians both before and after her son was born.
Melanie Helps Others as She Fights Her Own Battles against Alcohol Abuse
Melanie from San Antonio, Texas is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. She describes her great work at the homeless shelter, Haven for Hope, and her determination to promote the recovery of the women at the shelter as well as that of her daughter.
CJ Gained Great Insight through the Birth Mothers’ Network
CJ, the daughter of a birth mother, saw a panel hosted by the Birth Mothers’ Network and was able to understand her own birth mother much better by listening to the birth mothers that spoke at the conference.
Naomi and Her Son Share an Unconditional Love
Naomi from Ketchikan, Alaska works at a local domestic violence and sexual assault shelter, Women in Safe Homes, and joined the Birth Mother’s Network in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Karen is Inspired by the birth mothers She Has Met in the Birth Mothers’ Network
Karen speaks at the teenage pregnancy centers and has a passion for educating teens about the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
Reba Finds Comfort and Guidance Through the Birth Mothers’ Network
Reba works to educate her community about FASD. She interns at a treatment facility and works as a Case Manager in the department to help women and children.
Arlene Feels Truly Supported by the Women in the Birth Mothers’ Network
Arlene from Minnesota preaches abstinence from alcohol during pregnancy to women.
Jody Felt Like She Was Worth Saving
Jody from Washington State felt like the Birth Mothers’ Network gave her a voice and hope for the future. She now educates others on FASD as a peer support specialist.
Lashaunda Gives Back by Educating Other Mothers
Lashaunda started working for PCAP, the Parent-Child Assistance Program, and educates mothers about the effects of drug and alcohol use during pregnancy.
Peggy Reaches Her Goal of Successfully Raising a Child
Peggy from San Diego, California greatly appreciated the ability to connect with other women in the Birth Mothers’ Network as she raised her daughter, Tracy.
Julie Talks about Being a Birth Mother and Adoptive Parent to Children with FASD
Julie is one of the founding members of the Circle of Hope. She talks about her experience as both a birth parent and adoptive parent to children with FASD. Julie is a strong advocate in the FASD community and speaks regularly at trainings and workshops for FASD awareness and education.
Barbara Loves Meeting Other Women with Her Experiences
Barbara talks about the importance of meeting other women who shared her experience raising a child affected by alcohol use.
Recovering Hope – Part 1 – Kathy and Julie Share Their Experiences in Finding Out They are Birth Mothers
Kathy discusses the diagnosis of her daughter, Karli. Julie, a foster and adoptive mother of seven children with FASD, learns that she, herself, is a birth mother of a daughter with FAS.
Recovering Hope – Part 2 – Birth Mothers Discuss Honesty and Self-Forgiveness as Being Crucial to Recovery
Penny, Mary, and other recovering Birth Mothers realize that to be the mothers they want to be, they must be honest about their past alcohol use and forgive themselves.
Recovering Hope – Part 3 – Birth Mothers Find Solace in the Support of Family, Friends, and the Birth Mothers’ Network
The Birth Mothers share the importance of solidarity and support found in the Birth Mothers’ Network and how it helps them to move forward in their children’s diagnosis and treatment.
Recovering Hope – Part 4 – Hope is Found Through Resources and Support
In the conclusion of Recovering Hope, the Birth Mothers show that resources are available for parents and children affected by FASD. The support found through these resources, including the Birth Mothers’ Network, allowed mothers and their children to move forward in hope.