About Us

The Fostering Collective exists to recruit and shepherd Christ-centered families in East Texas to bring hope to children in foster care.

Who We Are

We help you find your path, show you the way, and equip you with the resources you’ll need to make a difference.

The Fostering Collective was started with one goal in mind, helping you change the lives of children in need. Our staff and board, foster and adoptive families ourselves, struggled with the complexity of the system when trying to get started. We faced some of the same questions you do:

“Do I have what it takes to foster or adopt?”

“Where can I find car seats or a therapist or anything else that will work for my kids?”

“I don’t know where to even start.”

“What if I need a break?”

“Who can I talk to for help or counseling?”

The list seemed endless. However, through networking with fellow foster families, agencies, and professionals, we’ve developed a collective and wealth of knowledge and resources – all of which we want to use to help others like you looking to make a difference in the lives of children from hard places.

Our Staff

Our staff and board are ready and eager to walk beside you as you love children and vulnerable families. Here is a little bit about us so you can know our heart behind our ministry.


Justin Hayes

Executive Director

Justin and Christie Hayes’ foster and adoption journey actually began with global orphan care. While serving for 8 years with a ministry in East Africa they saw the selfless ways that African believers were caring for orphans in their own communities by inviting them into their humble homes. They knew God wanted to use them as well, so they adopted two children out of foster care. Now with six children, they see foster care as a wonderful ministry their whole family can share while walking along the journey with other families.

Tiffany Davault

Training Specialist

Tiffany and David are the parents of two wonderful young adults who have each added to the family through marriage. Tiffany holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work and is a TBRI® (Trust Based Relational Intervention) Practitioner. Together, David and Tiffany have over 25 years of experience in the world of foster care and desire to support foster and adoptive parents who are providing healing spaces for children from hard places.

Jennie Ravanesi

Engagement Coordinator

Matt and Jennie Ravanesi are parents to two girls and have been foster parents to many children. They have a hope for others to experience a deep relationship with Jesus and the hope we have in Christ wherever the Lord calls them to serve.  Jennie and her family have served at Grace Community Church where Matt has been on staff since 2014 as the Campus Development Pastor and Jennie has led in women’s ministry, children’s ministry and Families Count.  One of Jennie’s roles at The Fostering Collective is to help guide couples and individuals who are feeling called to foster or adopt on those first steps to begin the licensing process.  Sharing her experiences—the blessings and challenges—with others to help ease any uncertainty surrounding foster care/adoption, so that families can keep their focus and trust in Jesus as He leads them through their journey.

Michelle Pardoe

Director of Finance and Operations

Christi Sowell

Shepherding Director

She and her husband Jeff have five children, four who came home through the process of adoption through foster care.   Christi is passionate about navigating the path of finding the best resources for each one of her children and, in the process, has found a love for helping other families get the Christ-centered training and resources they need to help their children thrive.  God uses the challenges Christi faces to minister to families who love children from hard places.

Laura Miller

Family Resource Specialist

Paul and Laura have two grown children who came to them through adoption,
and a sweet daughter-in-love.  They have had many opportunities to minister
to others through their adoption stories and have a heart for children.
Laura loves to see how God uses His people to love on those most vulnerable.
They are members of South Spring Baptist Church where they serve in the
Children’s ministry and teach Families Count, a class for parents working to
reunify their families.

Gillian Sheridan

Heart Gallery Manager

Gillian and James are parents to two teenage daughters through the blessing of adoption. Gillian has been a voice for foster children in East Texas for many years as a TV news anchor.  She helped start several local ministries bringing awareness to the needs of orphans and foster children.  She looks forward to seeing how God will grow the number of adoptions in our area through the Heart Gallery.


Traci Wagner - President

Traci, her husband Sammy, and their two children have lived in Whitehouse since 2009. Traci brings many years of experience and a wealth of knowledge to our ministry as a counselor and a program administrator for one of the child placing agencies. Her professional perspective helps to assist families as they navigate the system, find resources and gain opportunities to love families well.

Megan Taylor - Secretary

Megan, along with her husband Jacob, have been babysitters through the Fostering Collective for two years. She has the desire to not only come alongside families in a practical way but also to help get the word out about the need for respite care for foster families. Megan serves at Grace Community Church as the Women’s Ministry Coordinator at the University Boulevard campus.

Sam Hasz

Sam and his wife Lisa have been married for twenty-four years and have four children. Their family has served the past twelve years in various public service roles, holding leadership roles at Sky Ranch Christian Camps and was the Director of Acquire the Fire with Teen Mania Ministries.  Currently, Sam is the owner and operator of a small construction company based in Lindale, Texas.  Sam lives his life serving Jesus wholeheartedly and as an adoptive father, is honored to walk alongside other adoptive families at The Fostering Collective.  

Chris Legg

Dawson Barksdale

Dawson and Kali Barksdale are the proud parents of three princesses. Dawson has the honor of serving Local Car Wash in a leadership role as the Founder and Owner. Dawson believes the best way to show Jesus to others is taking care of orphans, which his role allows him to do at a larger scale by serving The Fostering Collective. He is an experienced entrepreneur who believes his life mission is to help others reach their fullest potential and pursue their dreams well. When people are equipped to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to do so, the world becomes better as a result. 

Alan Pigg - President Elect

Alan and Melanie Pigg are parents twice through the blessing of adoption – first Madeline in 2010 and then Austin in 2013. Alan and Melanie moved to Tyler in 1999 where Alan has served the community as an attorney helping injured people with their workers’ compensation and social security disability claims. Alan and Melanie continue to be active advocates for foster care and adoption through both their adoption agency and The Fostering Collective. The Piggs are members of South Spring Baptist Church where Alan serves as a deacon.

Brett Cavett - Treasurer

Brett and his wife, Linda, have two adult children and one grandchild. Brett retired from working at Green Acres Baptist Church where he served as Stewardship Director. As an adoptive father, Brett believes in the value of adoption, which is a spiritual truth for all believers in Jesus. He desires to help families to be able to foster and adopt children that need godly families.

Joel Byers

Joel and Amanda Byers have been married since 2002 and are parents to their 11-year-old son Jaxson who they adopted from Taiwan. Joel is the Lead Pastor of Central Baptist Church for the past 2 years but has been in ministry in various roles for over 22 years. Joel has a passion to help people looking to Foster or Adopt in East Texas take their next steps in their process. 

Keely Burks

Ben and Keely Burks have been married since 2005 and are parents to three children, two biological children and one adopted internationally. Keely is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Owner of Restore Family Counseling in Tyler. She has been doing therapy since 2010 and is passionate about working with foster and adoptive families.Sarina Hager

Sarina Hager

Sarina and Fritz Hager have been married for over 30 years and are parents to 6 biological children.  Their 7 months as foster parents radically changed the trajectory of Sarina’s life by inspiring her to take her law degree off the “back burner” and step into the world of family law.  After raising children for 20+ years and advocating for children and families in our public schools through her leadership in Tyler ISD PTAs and School Health Advisory Committee, she began practicing family law in Smith County in 2019 and eventually started her own firm in 2021.  The Lord has used Sarina’s experience as a wife and mother, her passion for child advocacy, and her calling as an attorney to equip her to minister to the broken-hearted, advocate for reconciliation where possible, and fight for the protection of children and families whether through adoption, divorce, child custody litigation, or other areas where families in crisis find themselves.  Her service in The Fostering Collection is an extension of her gratefulness to God for His unique calling on her life. 

If you have any need as a foster family, wrap-around family, aiding organization, you’ll find everything you need with The Fostering Collective.

Our Statement of Faith

We believe the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God which never fails. It is our guide and final authority in all matters in which it speaks. (Matthew 5:17-18, Galatians 3:17-24, 2 Timothy 3:16, 2 Peter 1:20, Hebrews 4:12)

We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. (Deuteronomy 6:4, Galatians 3:20, Matthew 28:19, Philippians 3:3, 1 Peter 1:1-3, Acts 13:2)

We affirm the virgin birth of Christ, (who, though fully God, lived as fully man) His death on the cross, that He was bodily resurrected and that He will come again. (Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:27-35, John 8:58, Hebrews 2:17, 1 Corinthians 15:3-6, 12-21, Acts 1:11, John 14:1-3)

We believe that The Church is a part of the Body of Christ on Earth and Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church. We seek to support, encourage and honor His Church. (1 Corinthians 12:12-30, Ephesians 4:1-16)

We utterly depend on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ in order that we can have a right relationship with God. (Romans 5:12-19, Galatians 1:3-6, 1 Peter 2:21-24, Hebrews 10:10-12)

We believe that anyone can be saved – adopted as a child of God – by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. This is a gift of God, not of works. (Rom 8:15-17, 1 John 1:12, Rom 10:9-10, Eph 2:8-9)

We believe that all human life is precious; that all humans are treasure to God. We affirm that God designed and defined marriage as the lifelong covenant relationship between one man and one woman. (Gen 1:27, Gen 9:6, Psalm 139:1-24, Matt 18:5, Gen 2:18-24, Matt 19:4-6, Eph 5:21-33, Heb 13:3-7)

We are committed to ministering to a lost and hurting world and to partnering with other ministries to accomplish this. (Matthew 28:18-20, Matthew 25:31-40, Luke 19:11-27, 2 Corinthians 5:20)

This statement of faith does not exhaust the extent of our beliefs at The Fostering Collective. The Holy Bible is the foundational authority for all beliefs and practices. Our board of directors are the final interpretive authority for The Fostering Collective for meaning and application.

Why We Do What We Do

How many people give up on their fostering or adoption dreams before they even start because of how complex and complicated it is?

We can do better together.

With all the different options, agencies, policies, training, background checks, and lack of resources, concerned individuals looking to help often need someone to help guide them.

That’s where we come in

We know that God has called us to care for all His children, and when a child is without a family we need to step in and be that family for a child. So, we’ve made it our mission to build healthy, thriving, Christ-centered foster families with the support system and resources in place to ensure you make the biggest impact you possibly can.

Psalm 121
The Lord himself watches over you!
The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.
The Lord keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.
The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.

How We Help You

We help those looking to impact the lives of children from hard places these 3 ways:

  1. We help families interested in becoming a foster or adoptive family get started.
  2. We help active foster/adoptive families find the resources they need (i.e. support groups, community with other families, doctors, counseling, therapy, etc…)
  3. We help churches, agencies, and other organizations impact children by connecting their resources to those in need.