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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 five children, they see foster care as a wonderful ministry their whole family can share while walking along the journey with other families.

Christi Sowell

Program Director

Jeff and Christi Sowell knew that God was calling them to adopt. Through their adoption of a sibling group of 4 girls through foster care, Christi felt called to do more. As a mother of five, she has navigated 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.

Ellen Winegeart

Closet Manager

Laura Miller

Ministry Coordinator 


Rocky Gill - President

Rocky and Carrie are adoptive parents who have always had a heart for the children of East Texas. Rocky has helped start and support many local ministries to orphans and foster children in our area. He is also a franchise owner of Express Employment Professionals.

Kevin Burdette - Secretary

Kevin and Penny are adoptive parents who have also helped many others on their adoption journey. Kevin serves on staff at Green Acres Baptist Church where he helps people discover their gifts and how to use them in numerous ministries around the area.

Paula Brookshire

Mark and Paula Brookshire’s heart for orphans led to them working in and welcoming a child from Ethiopia into their home through adoption. Paula has a passion for children in foster care and helping to meet their physical needs to lead them to hearing how their spiritual needs can be met through the Gospel.

Katie Sherrod

Chris and Katie Sherrod are foster and adoptive parents who have been fostering infants up to teens aging out for over 15 years. Their Christ-centered approach to fostering and walking alongside other families has given hope to countless children and families.

Traci Wagner

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.

Matt and Jennie Ravanesi

Matt and Jennie Ravanesi are foster parents with hearts for family reconciliation. They view foster care as not only a way to love the children in their direct care, but a tangible way to display the Gospel to their biological kids, family circle, and community. Matt serves at Grace Community Church in Lindale as the Campus Development Director.

Kevin East - Vice President

Kevin and Stephanie East are foster and adoptive parents. Kevin is also the President of The Mentoring Alliance where helps hundreds of children thrive through mentoring relationships.

Kathy Bauman - Treasurer

Chuck and Kathy Bauman have been ministering to teenagers for many years through small groups and missions. Their heart for ministry is accentuated by their professional careers which has been a tremendous help to organizing The Fostering Collective.

Chris Legg

Chris and Ginger Legg have 5 great kids, including 2 who have been adopted through the foster system.. Chris serves as the Lead Pastor at South Spring Baptist Church and is the owner/operator of Alethia Family Counseling Center. They are passionate about the discipling of the next generation of Christian ministers, sharing the Truth of the Gospel and helping people find the freedom that comes in that Truth.

Gillian Sheridan

James and Gillian are adoptive parents to two beautiful girls. Gillian has been a voice for foster children in East Texas for many years and uses her many connections to continue to help bring awareness for the needs of children in foster care.

Royce “Bubba” Squiers

Bubba has a heart for underprivileged children that has taken him all over the world through his church and other ministries. He and his wife Christy have one daughter and have walked alongside several ministries who are taking care of vulnerable children.

Carrie DeHart

Carrie DeHart is a kinship mom raising her nephew and ensuring he has stability during uncertain family circumstances. Carrie spent time in foster care as a teen and has a powerful story of how the Lord has used her hardships to bring her full circle. She fully relies on the Holy Spirit to guide her decisions and is dedicated to helping, not just her family, but other families in similar situations.

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.