As the retreats grow, we’ve seen the need to add more retreat staff. We are excited to announce that Joanna Martin has accepted the position of Director for the Washington state Rejuvenate.
Joanna attended one of the first Rejuvenate retreats in Washington state and has been an avid supporter of it. We’ve asked her to share a little bit of her experience, as well as a little bit about herself, so you can get to know her:
“In 2016, I found myself navigating life on auto pilot. I was numbly surviving day-to-day, sometimes just moment-to-moment. An ad for Rejuvenate Retreat with the words “just for foster and adoptive moms” caught my eye. Even though I knew nothing about the retreat, no one that was attending or who would watch my adopted son for a weekend, it was the single fastest purchase I’d ever made and one that proved to be life changing.
During the first ice breaker activity, you stood up if a label read described you. As the activity proceeded, it clicked that my journey was not unique or abnormal as my loving but clueless about foster care and adoption friends, family and coworkers had made it feel. For the first time ever, I was in a room full of women that shared similar labels, similar challenges and similar lives. Suddenly, I wasn’t alone.
Then the lady sitting next to me, patted my leg and said sometime nice to me. To my embarrassment, I promptly burst into uncontrollable tears. While I’d recognized that I needed a break enough to come to the Retreat, I hadn’t realize how utterly burnt out, isolated and devastatingly overwhelmed I felt until this sweet stranger’s kind understanding. All I’d done was stand up to identify that I was a single, foster, adoptive, working mom and she understood what all those titles entailed without me having to say a single word.
That is the underlying power of the Rejuvenate Retreats. It meets you wherever you might be and makes you feel seen, cared for and connected. If provides you with an opportunity to be still and take a deep breath. For one weekend, all your everyday struggles, stress and chaos falls away and the only thing you have to focus only on is yourself. There is such beauty of what this one magical weekend can do to breath life, energy and love into foster and adoptive moms.
How could I not want to be a part of creating that magic? During my 19-year career, I have planned a variety of community special events with attendance ranging from 50 to 15,000 including over 10 multiple-day conferences and training programs. I’m thrilled to be this year’s WA Rejuvenate Retreat Director because I get to use my professional experience to serve a population near and dear to my heart: foster and adoptive moms.
Over the last eight years, I fostered nine kiddos and adopted one of them. They have taught me more life lessons than I ever thought imaginable. They pushed me to grow, learn and become a better version of myself. Sometimes that pushing felt like loving nudges and other times they were violent pushed over the ledge that led to the feeling of free falling with no parachute. Out of necessity, I’ve learned to embrace therapy, self-care, alternative medicine and the importance of building strong support systems.
My goal for the WA Rejuvenate Retreat is to create a safe place for foster and adoptive moms to gather, rest, learn and network. We offer a variety of programs and activities to pamper, support and show moms love. There are also plenty of tissues available in case anyone else is a crier like I am.”
Let us walk along side of Joanna in her new role and support her efforts to reach out to moms who are in need of connection, encouragement, and support.