In November of this year, a weekend designed for adoptive and foster moms “Called to Love” was held at the Oregon Garden Resort in Silverton, Oregon.  The goal of this weekend?  “To provide renewal, connection and encouragement in the unique journey of parenting an adopted or foster child.”

This ministry, created by two friends who are adoptive moms, grew out of a desire to minister to other moms who were in various stages of the adoption/foster care process.  They both had attended the ‘Created for Care’ retreat on the East coast and felt God’s leading to bring that same measure of blessing and encouragement to moms on the West coast.

Three of our YWAM adoptive moms were able to attend this first weekend retreat and I’ll let them tell you in their own words the impact it had on them…

Rachel, Karyn and Carrie

“The Called to Love Retreat in Oregon was off-the-charts-exceed-my-expectations amazing. Really. I drove 250 miles each way and stepped way out of my comfort zone to hang out with over 100 women I have never met because something in me was certain that God would meet me there.

From the moment I drove onto the property and began my ascent through the gardens to the retreat center, I felt like I was on holy ground. After a short rest in my room on Friday, I returned to the lodge to officially check in. The lady handed me a green mug with the words “Called to Love” written in red, and I felt the tears start to come. What is going on? I’m crying over a mug? This is so unlike me. (It really is unlike me. I’m a rather serious sort.)

I could tell you about the incredible and God-centered worship. I could tell you about the incredible caliber of speakers throughout the weekend, including a panel of adoptees one night and a panel of birth-moms another night. I could tell you about the amazing women I had the privilege to laugh with and share my heart with over delectable meals. I could tell you about the beautiful property and exquisite rooms with beds that feel like you are sleeping on a cloud.

When it’s all said and done, though, what made this retreat so amazing was the undeniable presence of God, ushered in by the faithful, persistent prayers of a willing team of women who dared to step out and plan this event. Father God met us there. Each one of us, right where we were at, in our brokenness and weariness and disillusionment, He met us. And we returned to our homes, to our dear families, refreshed and filled up, ready to do what we’re called and equipped to do: Called to Love. I hope many more of you can join us next year!”
~Rachel Nystrand
“This weekend was such an encouraging time! Called to Love was a perfect name for this retreat. I felt an overwhelming love for the adoptive/foster parents, adoptees and birthmothers who shared their hearts with us. I think we were all drawn together by the vulnerability that comes with opening up our hearts and sharing our journey. It became emotionally draining at times, but we were able to have an amazing time of worship together refueling our spirits. I cannot wait for next year and encourage every mama to try and make it!”
~Karyn Schmidt
“I was blessed to be able to attend the Called to Love retreat in November. Many have asked me how it was and all I can really say is that it was truly refreshing! To instantly be surrounded by mamas who GOT IT. All the guards came down and real conversation and fellowship happened right away. The teaching times was very helpful, but the worship times were truly what my soul needed… to worship alongside all these mamas who were at the end of themselves and just crying out to Him was powerful! New friendships were made… the kind that will span time and distance because of the depths of the bonds. I would highly encourage any adoptive and foster mom to go!!”
~Carrie Hendricks

It’s not too early to plan ahead and start saving for next year’s retreat – November 14-16, 2014!  The cost is $175 plus lodging and registration opens May 1st.  Please find out more on the “Called to Love” website!