On Your Feet Retreats
On Your Feet Foundation’s birthparent retreats started nearly 20 years ago and are among the longest running and most consistent anywhere in the country. Our in-person retreats are held 90 minutes outside of Chicago and are accessible via train of bus for those who are not driving.
What Sets Us Apart
- Our retreats are run “for birthparents by birthparents;” meaning that every single person at the retreat, whether a facilitator or participant, has given birth to a child and placed that child for adoption. Our retreats are the one place where everyone understands each other because they have lived the same life-changing experience.
- We stay in one large house together, bunk beds and all! By spending all of our time together (talking, eating, working, dancing, laughing and, yes, even crying) we leave feeling like one big family!
- We meet you where you are: angry, happy, hurt, relieved, in pain… and potentially all of those in the span of 5 minutes. We accept and acknowledge the hard emotions. They are real.
- We stay connected long after the retreat ends – ensuring that when you leave, not only do you have a community of other birthparents to continue with you on your journey; our retreat and case management staff will follow up to ensure that you have the support you need, including access to adoption-competent counseling, if needed.
When Are Retreats Held
- Spring In-person retreat held in March and capped at 10 attendees; Virtual retreat in April
- Closed/Reunion In-Person retreat held in May; Virtual retreat in July
- Fall In-person retreat held in September capped at 16 attendees; Virtual retreat in November
Our retreats have been described as, “The best kept secret in adoption!” by Ashley Mitchell, birthmom and founder of Knee to Knee birthmom support groups.
Our Director of Retreat Programming, Vicki Twomey has been involved with On Your Feet’s retreats from the very beginning, starting out as attendee herself! Over the last 18 years, she has attended and run more than 50 retreats included our virtual retreats launched in 2020. In fact, she still attends retreats as a participant from time to time! All of our facilitators are not only birthparents, but also start out as attendees at our retreats themselves - living this experience alongside all of you. This is what makes On Your Feet's birthmom retreats such meaningful and unique experiences for all who attend.
How Much Does It Cost
On Your Feet subsidizes the cost of each retreat, making them accessible to anyone who would like to attend. This enables us to maintain a low registration fee per participant: $25 for Virtual Retreats; $100 for In-Person Retreats; $150 for Veteran Retreats; $300/team for Birth & Adoptive Parent Retreats. This fee includes two nights lodging, meals during the in-person retreat and all materials. This does not cover transportation to or from the retreat; however, need-based grants are available to help with the cost of the retreat and our staff can help you make travel arrangements, find car pools, etc.
- In-Person | March 11-13 | Registration opens December 31st and closes February 14th
- Virtual | April 23 | Registration opens February 11th and closes April 1st
- In-Person | May 13-15 | Registration opens March 4th and closes April 11th (if you are requesting a grant, your application must be received by April 1st)
- Virtual | July 23 | Registration opens May 15th and closes July 1st
- In-Person | September 30 - October 2
- Virtual | November 12 | Registration opens September 1 and closes October 21
Registration will open ~10 weeks before each retreat and remain open for 2 weeks.
Proof of COVID-19 vaccination is required to attend any in-person retreats or events offered by On Your Feet Foundation. Please see our Covid Policy for Returning to In-Person Activities here.
You are also welcome to connect with our birthmom community via our 7 monthly Zoom calls that are open to any birthmother, anywhere.