Annie Marek-Barta is a former foster youth who spent 5 years in the system before aging out. At the age of 26, she was adopted as an adult in Washington, displaying the truth that we never outgrow the need to belong. She now volunteers as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and works as a freelance photographer and graphic designer in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Her heart is to advocate for the foster care and adoption realms and to see seats added to tables as the lonely are invited into belonging. You can find her on Instagram using the handle @anniemarekbarta.
Abby Olson is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Riverside Community Outreach and the Director of the Every Child movement in Columbia County, Oregon. She is an Oregon mama, Called to Love attendee, and friend to many of you. After over a decade of being a foster and adoptive mom, Abby was at a crossroad. She had a deep desire to continue to provide care and support to children in foster care, but with a family of 12 their household was too large by State standards to foster any more children. Along with her husband, Abby began to look for other ways to help children in need. As they delved more into the needs of their community and deeper into what was happening with children who were in foster care, they began to see the foster care crisis was complex. Foster parents needed encouragement, children needed safety, and biological families needed support. It became clear to them a holistic approach would be paramount to truly make a difference in the community. They wanted to care for vulnerable children and support families both in and out of foster care. With those ideals in their hearts, Riverside Community Outreach was born. Abby writes about her adventures in motherhood and life on her blog crazyville12.com. She loves going on dates with her husband, snuggling up with a good book, and drinking Dutch Bros coffee. Abby's desire is to encourage, inspire, and challenge people to open their hearts and homes. @RiversideCommunityOutreach @crazyville12 @everychild #riseup #calledtolove2021 #fostermom #fosterandadopt #adoptivemom