If you’re an adoptive mama — or if you know one — I really want you to read this. Because registration for Created for Care is this week, and it is an absolutely amazing retreat for moms who’ve added to their family through foster care, domestic, or international adoption.
I had the privilege of attending the weekend retreat in Atlanta in March. I haven’t written about it because I really don’t have the words to tell you all of the ways I was encouraged and equipped. It really is a retreat and gives you time to connect with God in a beautiful, distraction-free spot — a gorgeous lakeside resort in northern Georgia. The ladies behind Created for Care do an incredible job of equipping you with breakout sessions that matter with breakout sessions ranging from tackling sensory issues to raising black children in America, and everything in between. And that’s not to mention the main sessions. Beth Guckenberger brought so much truth in her sessions that I was furiously scribbling in my journal, trying to record everything she was speaking into my heart.
And then there’s the community.
The friends that you don’t even know you have until you share a meal and you just realize, “You are my people.” You realize that there’s this amazing tribe of women from everywhere, representing every denomination, every social sphere, every political perspective, who’ve adopted from just about any situation imaginable, and despite the differences of their stories, there’s this common thread of grace that has weaved its way through each heart. And there are laughs. Lots of laughs. Lots of craziness and antics and So. Much Instagramming.
And there are tough moments, too. Times when you weep over the hurts of adoption. Of the little ones still waiting. Of the traumas they’ve experienced. Of the deep injustice and the brokenness that comes with adoption. And you cry together and you hug each other and you know that you’re not alone.
One of my favorite (I mean, it’s all my favorite) aspects of the retreat is the Date With God portion. I was kind of skeptical about session. I thought it sounded cheesy, and, if I’m being honest, a little…lame. Oh my word. I’m glad I went because it was one of those very rare, very clear moments when God whispered into the very depths of my soul exactly what I needed to hear. When I landed in Atlanta, I was a very weary…and worried mama. Connecting with him in a very real way could not have come at a better time.
God also provided so much encouragement through two ladies who are so special to me — Courtney and Shannan. These mamas also adoptive mothers of children with sickle cell. We found each other online and to be able to actually talk, and laugh, and cry, and hug each other? It was absolutely amazing. They spoke so much truth in love into my worried mommy heart and it was time I’ll never forget.
Created for Care isn’t one of those over-spiritualized women’s retreats. Nor is it a conference. It’s this sweet spot of creativity and compassion, of encouragement and equipping.
(That’s Andrea, an adoptive mom who created Created for Care kind of on accident. She’s also super funny and hopped in a photo as I was taking a picture of the sign. Love that!) Here’s how the leadership team describes Created for Care:
The short version is Created for Care is a weekend retreat for foster care and adoption moms — filled with sweet community, encouragement, and rest. We have 2 retreats back-to-back, always the first weekend in February and the first weekend in March. Approximately 450 women come to each retreat. While we could combine these retreats – we want to serve each group well, for ministry to really happen–and well…to us – 900 or bigger turns into a conference. We want community to happen – to REALLY happen – and we want every mom who comes to experience all the personal touches our team wants to bless them with.
You can read the longer back story here.
Leaving your family and taking time and money to attending something like this definitely an investment, especially if you have younger kiddos and are on a limited budget. (Ask me how I know.) But my honest experience? Totally worth it. Totally worth saving and totally worth showing your family that you care enough about them to invest in yourself.
Created for Care is this beautiful mess of women coming alongside each other to worship, learn, and grow. I’m hoping to attend again this year (probably in March) and I’d love, love, love to go with you. The theme is “Bloom” and did I mention there are legit swag bags? Let’s do this, mamas!
(Also…sorry this post is ALL THE THINGS and so smashed together. I’m typing as fast as my fingers can fly while Asher is still asleep and Joseph is still a Thomas the Tank Engine trance. #reallife)