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 late March
- Birth Mom/Adoptive Mom In-Person retreat held in April; Virtual retreat in May
- 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 as follows:
- $35 for Virtual Retreats; $25 early bird (application received 6 weeks prior to the retreat)
- $125 for In-Person Retreats; $100 early bird (application received 6 weeks prior to the retreat)
- $350/team for Birth & Adoptive Parent Retreats; $300 early bird (application received 6 weeks prior to the retreat)
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. If you are applying for a grant or seeking assistance with transportation, your application must be received no more than 6 weeks prior to the retreat.
- In-Person | March 3-5 | Registration opens January 3rd and closes February 10th
- Virtual | March 25 | Registration opens January 25th and closes March 10th
- In-Person | April 14-16 | Registration opens February 14th and closes April 1st
- Virtual | May 6 | Registration opens March 6th and closes April 21st
- In-Person | September 22-24 | Registration opens July 22nd and closes September 8th
- Virtual | November 4 | Registration opens September 4th and closes October 20th
Registration will open 8 weeks before each retreat and remain open for 6 weeks. If you are applying for a grant, your application must be received within 2 weeks of the application opening.
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.