What is 'Hearts Encouraged'?
Very simply, Hearts Encouraged is a retreat hosted by a volunteer group of Christian adoptive moms whose goal is to bring foster and adoptive mothers together to be encouraged by one another in the Lord Jesus Christ. We understand the unique challenges and isolation that some foster and adoptive moms experience.
Our desire is to help these moms feel loved by the body of Christ and to walk away knowing they are not alone. We hope to provide support, encouragement, and education within a warm, light-hearted, fun, and peaceful environment.
Hearts Encouraged is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to uplifting and blessing adoptive and foster mothers.
2023 Volunteer Team
Who We Are
Founder & Visionary
Danielle and her husband, Doug, have been married for 17 years and have 6 children (ages 4 to 17). The Lord led them to adopt early in their marriage - adopting 2 children from Ethiopia and shortly thereafter 2 more children from Ghana. God has since blessed them with two biological children.
Through the process of adoption the Lord has given Danielle a tremendous heart to support and encourage adoptive families. Danielle has helped found and lead a church adoption support group, co-lead post-adoptive training, and regularly volunteers with a local adoption agency helping families understand the various challenges often associated with adoption.
It is through these ministries that Danielle has seen many adoptive families struggle with isolation and shame. She believes that true Christian fellowship is an essential tool for a successful adoption - hence the birth of "Hearts Encouraged."
Elizabeth has been married to her high school sweetheart for 20 years. They have 4 children. Three biological children and 1 adopted son from S. Korea. In her free time Elizabeth loves spending quality time with her friends, playing tennis, and organizing events. Elizabeth graduated from college with a degree in sociology. She worked as a case worker and then at Compassion International before having children. She has always had a heart for those in need, and loves working with people.
Elizabeth always felt called to adopt. Even in high school she knew it was something she wanted to do. The adoption process took many unexpected turns and she felt the weight of unmet expectations and the stress that comes with adoption. In the midst of the hard, she saw God's hand working in their lives and feels called to encourage other adoptive mothers on their journeys.
Elizabeth is excited to be part of the Hearts Encouraged retreat. She feels strongly that God's heart is for adoption and there is beauty in adoption. She knows that true healing comes when we honestly share our stories with each other.
Valerie married her best friend, Ryan, 19 years ago. They have three great kids - two biological children and one adopted from China. Valerie and Ryan have always applauded adoption but never thought it would be part of their own family story. They supported many friends on the adoption journey and slowly felt God telling them to open their home to another kiddo through adoption. They brought their daughter home from China a few years later.
Despite excellent training and reading "all the right books," Valerie was overwhelmed by how deeply the challenges of adoption affected every aspect of their lives. The turning point in her own struggle came at the very first Hearts Encouraged Retreat, when she met other women who understood the heartache and hopelessness and could offer hope and solidarity. As her own family and relationships have healed over the years, she has a heart for other women on this hard path.
Valerie is excited to be a part of Hearts Encouraged and prays that God would use it to heal and encourage other struggling adoptive and foster moms.