Welcome to Together in the Trenches!
We are a ministry seeking to cultivate community for Foster and Adoptive Families as God has desired and designed.
from left to right: Ashley Wells, Corinne Paul, Becky Raver, Katy Adams
Trenches began as three foster and adoptive moms (Ashley, Katy & Becky) connected through a mix of networking and divine intervention. At Hounz Lane park in Louisville, Kentucky on a sunny summer afternoon in 2014, we discussed our deep need for community. We had each lost or strained family and friend relationships due to our journeys in foster/adoption. Finding the energy to establish our new tribe by ourselves felt overwhelming. Pacing back and forth trying to keep one kiddo asleep in a stroller and supervising our other gaggle of children on the playground, we spoke of the isolation we felt as foster and adoptive moms raising beautiful children from hard places. It shouldn’t be this way, we thought. We shouldn’t have to bear the post-trauma-tantrum sideways glances and judgments alone. We shouldn’t have to explain secondary trauma and RAD to everyone in our lives, only to be half believed. Finding therapists and doctors who are trauma informed shouldn’t be like a game of Where’s Waldo. We shouldn’t be alone, because God created us to be in community with one another. If we couldn’t find that community, we were just going to have to trust Him to help us create it! We felt the possibility of connecting with other moms in a real way and on top of that, providing that tribe for women like us and it was exhilarating! Later that year, Corinne Paul joined our team as a friend. A support. An advocate. God gave her a heart to come alongside foster and adoptive moms and we are blessed that He did. Her perspective and commitment gave us hope that we would be able to build a community BEYOND those who have personally fostered and adopted. And so, Together in the Trenches was born.
We began with the vision of Ashley Wells to begin a foster and adoptive moms Retreat…and what a beautiful, profound vision it was. That first retreat in 2015 was simply God-sent. Each retreat that followed, we heard the same sentiments from our attendees:
“I have never felt so seen and accepted”. “I’ve never felt so safe”. “This Retreat was a lifeline, I can’t wait for the next one!”
“I had no idea there were other moms out there that understood exactly what I’m experiencing at home! I’m not alone!”
“I haven’t been able to connect with God like this in a long time”.
Our Retreats continue to be the heartbeat of our ministry and differ a bit from other foster and adoption retreats and conferences. Our retreats exist for the sole purpose of loving, supporting and pampering our moms and reminding them they are loved … by their sisters in the Trenches and by their Heavenly Father.
Our name was inspired by the knowledge that women need a safe place (the Trench) in the midst of our calling…even battle…to care for the fatherless and others from hard places. We are standing against the flow of culture that elevates ease over sacrifice and self promotion over servitude. We need each other (being Together) in order to find comfort, solace, wisdom and understanding on a journey that is foreign to the rest of the world. In the Trench, some are wounded, some are medics, some are seasoned and some provide fresh, new zeal. There is not only room for us all….but a role for us all.
Trenches has continued to grow as God leads us on. Our online community has blossomed into a vibrant, trusted place to find encouragement, support and resources. We are also striving this year to develop a presentation for the churches represented in our community as a way to advocate for families of Trenches. We have found there is a resistance to BELIEVE people who are withstanding the effects of trauma or secondary trauma in their lives. This gives way to unintentionally thoughtless and uninformed answers which tend to further discourage or condemn. We desire to challenge and encourage Christ followers to think deeply, learn humbly, serve faithfully and imitate Jesus fully in their response to those who have endured this trauma. Bearing the full holy weight of caring for children who have been hurt through no fault of their own belongs to the WHOLE body and we yearn to help churches take continual steps towards this beautiful understanding.