Thursday, December 8, 2011

The next Empowered To Connect Conference ( will be in Dallas on February 17-18, 2012, at Irving Bible Church.  This two-day conference features two days of insights and learning from Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child.  The conference is designed to help adoptive and foster parents, ministry leaders and professionals better understand how to connect with ‘children from hard places’ in order to help them heal and become all that God desires for them to be.

Registration for the Dallas ETC Conference is now open and the “early bird” registration price is still available! Simply visit for more details and to register online at the discounted “early bird” price. In addition, for a limited time registration is available for ½ off of the “early bird” price by using the discount code: FOCUS. This means that for a limited time people can register to attend this two day conference for only $17 per person and $25 per couple.
Please help us spread the word and encourage folks to register soon while the “early bird” pricing and ½ off discount are still available.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Special Chit Chat and Chai this coming Monday!

We will have a special Chit Chat & Chai this coming Monday (November 14th) at 7pm at Panera in McKinney!  What a tremendous blessing to have a guest speaker, Denise Kendrick, come and share her story!  The Kendrick's have been foster parents for the past 8 years caring for nearly 30 children in that time frame.  Now parents of 7 children ranging in age from 2-18 years old, they serve as full-time missionaries to see the church reclaim the care of orphans and waiting children through Embrace Orphan Ministry.  It's gonna be great!  

Orphan Sunday Update

Orphan Sunday was a BIG success!  What a powerful sermon by Pastor Richard!  And what a blessing to get to experience a moving video of our church members who have answered the call in so many different ways! In the evening, we gathered together again and were able to experience some powerful testimonies, gain information, and share our heart for the orphan.

Here are a few ways we saw the Lord move on this amazing day:

  • Several sponsorships for orphans in Zambia, Bolivia, and Sierra Leone!
  • People answered the call to donate to the adoption fund!
  • People are stepping forward in faith to start the process of adoption!
  • Several people have signed up to donate their time and resources to wrap around other families who are adopting or fostering!
  • And the calls are still coming in!  If you have any questions about adoption, foster care, or orphan care (in general)...please call the church office or shoot us an email:
Thank you to everyone who responded to the prompting of their hearts!!!  And thank you to everyone who gave their time to make both experiences happen!  A special thanks goes to Mark and Melissa Baker - who have devoted themselves fully to The Journey and it's cause!!!

In case you missed them, you can click HERE for the video played in the morning of our church family.
And this is the video we showed Sunday night.

Saturday, October 15, 2011



Come learn how YOU can make a difference in the life of a child.  
Not everyone is called to adopt or be a foster parent, but every believer IS called to care for the orphan.

  • Learn about becoming a Wrap Around Family and support those who are lead to foster and adopt!
  • Learn about sponsorships for Orphans around the world!
  • Hear Pastor Richard share his heart for the orphan!
  • Experience The Heart Gallery!
  • Hear what the Bible has to say about the orphan!


Come to the theatre of FBC McKinney and be a part of an exciting and interactive evening!!!

  • Hear interviews from a very special adoptive family.
  • Hear the beautiful story of one young woman as she shares about her adoption at the age of 18!
  • Hear Kent Jones, President of "To Every Nation" weave stories together and share God's heart for the orphan around the world and in your backyard.
  • Hear and be moved with The Andrew Heath Band as they lead us through worship!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Journey Meeting Updates

    What's happening now???
     "Created to Connect"
    • Authors Michael and Amy Monroe will be present to kick off our study!
    • This companion study guide for The Connected Child was written by the Monroes with Karyn Purvis.
    • The study guide is designed to help adoptive and foster parents better understand how to build strong and lasting connections with their children.
    • Childcare available
    • Meeting every 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the Month!
    November 6th:  Orphan Sunday
    • 6:00pm in the theatre of FBC McKinney
    • This event will connect believers worldwide in worship and prayer as we encourage one another on behalf of the fatherless.
    As always...keep checking out the blog for more events in our area!  

    Back to School: Strategies to help your child have a positive school experience


    The school experience is an important aspect in the life of a child. And yet, school often presents unique and sometimes unexpected challenges for both children and parents in adoptive and foster families.
    Join us on Saturday, September 17, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, at Irving Bible Church for an event focused on school-related issues from an adoptive and foster family perspective.
    During the first half of this Tapestry large group event we will take a closer look at some of the school-related issues and challenges for adoptive and foster families, and discuss ways that parents can help their child have a positive school experience. During the second half of the event, we will hear from a diverse panel of educators (including a public school elementary teacher, a middle school teacher at a private school, a principal and a home school mom) as they share their insights and 'lessons learned' for helping adopted, foster and at-risk children achieve and have a positive school experience. This event is sure to be helpful and relevant to all adoptive and foster parents, regardless of the age of their child(ren).
    Childcare is available through IBC’s KidZone for ages 0 through 5th grade with online registration at least 48 hours in advance of the event, but space is limited. To register for childcare click here and sign-in to your existing ibcLink account (or, if you don’t have one, follow the steps to create an account). You will register for the “Tapestry Meeting (9/17/11).” If you have any questions about childcare registration or how to use the ibcLink online registration system, contact Tammy Hutchinson (IBC KidZone Director) at

    Tuesday, August 9, 2011

    Christian Alliance for Orphans Information Update

    Orphan Sunday Campaign on a Roll!Article Image 

    With the 2011 Orphan Sunday campaign just underway, myriad events are already brewing.   Across the U.S, plans are being laid for city-wide concerts and multi-church gatherings….church services and Sunday School classes…more.  Individual families making plans, too, including the Orphan’s Table meal, along with prayer and discussion.  

    Like never before, the vision is starting to spread around the world, too.  The
    new Russian Language Website recently launched for Ukraine and Russia.  
    Additional new-language sites are in the works, too.  And local campaigns are starting up from the Philippines to Romania to Kenya.

    Orphan Sunday is a chance for anyone to spread the vision of God’s love for the fatherless in a church, community or family!  Harness the many RESOURCES and easy-to-use EVENT IDEAS on the Orphan Sunday website, and then post your plans on the EVENT MAP!

    Upcoming Conferences 
    A number of excellent conferences across the country are scheduled for the months ahead, including:

    The Pure Religion Conference is August 12-13 in Raleigh, NC, emphasizing both the Gospel roots of a vision for adoption and orphan care, as well as practical guidance for both personal and church action. 

    Hope for Orphans Institute will be held September 16 & 17 at the Hope Center in Plano, Texas.  This conference will equip not only orphan ministry leaders but also families struggling with challenging adoptions. It will feature experts in equipping the church to deal directly with the pre- and post-adoption challenges of children with special needs and high risk profiles.  It will also include CEU’s for professionals.

    The Empowered to Connect will be September 23-24 in Nashville, TN.  This 2-day conference sponsored by Show Hope is for adoptive and foster parents, ministry leaders and professionals.  It is designed to help them better understand how to connect with children from hard places in order to help them heal and become all that God desires for them to be.

    Hope at Home will be held at Northlands Church in Norcross, GA on September 23-24.   It’s designed for adoptive parents, providing both spiritual encouragement and practical parenting help, along with local connections with other adoptive families. 

    The Together for Adoption Conference will take place in Phoenix, AZ on October 21-22.   This annual conference will include rich theological exploration, as well as practical instruction on a wide range of topics related to adoption, foster care and global orphan care.

    The Tapestry Conference will be held on Saturday, October 29th, at Irving Bible Church. With more than twenty breakout sessions to choose from, this year’s free Tapestry Conference promises to be the most informative yet.    Childcare is available.

    The "Wounded Children, Healing Homes" Conference at Salem Church of God will focus on the emotional and spiritual needs of adoptive and foster families, many who find themselves parenting children who have come from hard places.  It will be held Saturday, November 12, as the first of its kind for the Dayton, OH area. 

    Sunday, August 7, 2011

    Upcoming Webinar

    Transracial Adoption: Becoming a Multicultural/Multiracial Family
    Date:  Wednesday, August 31, 2011              Time:  2:00 PM Eastern

    Wednesday, August 3, 2011

    New Study Coming this Fall!

    Join us this fall as we launch "Created to Connect"- A Christian Guide to the Connected Child. Created To Connect is designed to help illuminate the biblical principles that serve as the foundation for the philosophy and interventions detailed in The Connected Child.

    We will be meeting the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month to go through this fantastic study. We will start promptly at 6:15PM. Details on room location, etc. will follow.

    The Connected Child, co-authored by Dr. Karyn Purvis, has already helped countless adoptive and foster parents. Now Empowered To Connect™ has created a companion study guide entitled Created To Connect — A Christian’s Guide to The Connected Child as well as other helpful resources that highlight the underlying biblical principles of The Connected Child and offer new insights for parents.

    Monday, July 11, 2011

    Chit Chat and Chai

    Chit Chat and Chai has been cancelled for this month (tonight).  We are looking forward to seeing everyone next month!

    Saturday, June 11, 2011

    Upcoming Events!

    Chit Chat and Chai will meet at 7pm the 2nd Monday of every month at Panera in McKinney.  This group is for adoptive/foster Moms and Moms in the process of foster/adoption.

    D.A.D.S (Dudes Adopting Daughters and Sons) will meet at 7pm the 4th Monday of every month at Fuzzy's Taco Shop in McKinney.  This group is for adoptive/foster Dads and Dads in the process of foster/adoption.

    We will also have a Journey Picnic on June 26th and August 14th at Finch Park (301 W. Standifer McKinney, TX 75069).  We will get started at 4:30.  Pack up dinner for your family to eat and head on out!  This park has a great playground, lots of shade, and a splash pad, so bring the kiddos bathing suits and towels.  If you are an adoptive/foster family, are in the process, or just have a heart for orphans please come out!  This will be a great time of fun and fellowship!  

    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Join us in Praying for Children in Foster Care...

    Right now, as we go about our Monday morning, children... maybe within a 5 minute walk from you... are waiting.  Waiting to be removed... waiting for hope... waiting for saftey... waiting for a home.

    Over 500,000 children are in the US Foster Care System right now.  Over 120,000 of them await a home.  We are seeing God raise up HIS CHURCH to care for these children.  Each of us have a role to play.  Some of you are in deep into the trenches of battling for these children.  Some of you play an ever important role of support.  But ALL of us can come together and pray.

    Join us this Wednesday night in the Theater of First Baptist McKinney at 6:15.  We will enjoy hearing Jason Weber.  He is a nationally recognized speaker who not only has professional experience in working with some of the most effective Foster Care Ministries in place today, but He also is the father of 5 children who were adopted from foster care.

    After the speaker, we will have a time of corporate prayer.  You will receive a prayer guide to walk you through the most needed areas that exist in the foster care system.

    Please join us as we spend an evening of prayer for children in foster care.
    *Childcare provided through the FBC Children's Ministry.

    Jim Daly Video from Focus on the Family on Vimeo.

    Wednesday, March 9, 2011

    No meeting tonight: 3/9/2011

    Hey Friends,

    Tonight we, along with our church, will be focusing on Ash Wednesday.  So, our meeting will be canceled for this week.  We will resume with the normal schedule in two weeks, as our support groups meet.

    Have a wonderful week!

    The Journey Leadership Team

    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Story #5: God is enough to walk with you through your biggest fears...

    Our Adoption Journey
    My husband and I knew early in our courting that adoption was part of Gods plan for our family. We began our adoption journey in China about 10 years ago. We gathered our paperwork and started our international adoption process. God had other plans! We ended up not going through with the China adoption because of an “extended wait time” and a job loss…

    Even though China was not an option, the two things that we knew for sure was that we were: 1. Called to adopt
    2. We were NOT adopting within the United States.

    Before we started our adoption process, there were some specific custody battles involving adopted children being returned to their parents. These cases rang loudly for my husband and I. Our greatest fear of adopting domestically, was losing our child in a custody battle. This fear consumed us and made us more intent on adopting oversees.
    Before I go any further, let me state that we believe God has every adoptive family going through a different avenue to bring their children home.  Whether adoption domestically or oversees. For our family though, the fear of losing our child was one of the main motivators for going oversees rather than seeking what God’s plan was for us.
    In spite of our fears, God began to do some major heart changes in my husband, and myself. He allowed us to see the huge needs in our own city and the need for adoptive families. Our senses were heightened to the plight of our cities Foster kids through people we met, radio shows we “happened” to hear, and books we “accidently” read.  As we became more aware of local kids needing homes, God removed many of our fears. As we continued to prayerfully seek His will for our adoption, it became very clear that domestic adoption through the foster care system was what we were called to do. YIKES!!! This was definitely not “my” plan.
    In the Spring of 2007, we started our classes to become a Texas Foster Care Family( FYI-in order to adopt through the state, you must first become a Certified Foster Parent. You don’t necessarily have to foster…we can explain more if you have questions). By the Autumn of 2007, we were a licensed foster family. We told the State of Texas (and God-hee hee) that we wanted 1 little girl under 2 ½ that was “Legally Free”( Legally Free meant that her birth parents had already lost legal rights to be her parents-we felt that this was the safest path for us). CPS and our adoption agency both told us that our chances were slim because our criteria was too specific. 

    In spite of this, we received a referral call in August of 2008. There was a beautiful 2 year old little girl that was legally free. The adoption agency wanted to know if were interested, and we took about 2 minutes to pray about it, and enthusiastically waited for our Grace to come home. She came home a few weeks later. She had beautiful brown hair, round chubby cheeks, and the most beautiful brown eyes. Her 3 big brothers and parents were over the moon! We bonded over the next couple of months over tea parties, and trips to the park. There were many wonderful moments, and a few rough patches just like with any adoption, but our family was finally complete.
    In December, about 4 ½ months after our daughter came home, we received a call from our CPS Social Worker. She told us about a court hearing that had been set for later that morning regarding Grace. We had been told during the process, that her former Foster family had been fighting to have Grace returned, but throughout the process had been told repeatedly “No worries”…the hearing is “just a formality”. Unfortunately, it wasn’t. Eight days before Christmas our lives were turned upside down.
    The judge hearing the case decided to grant custody of our daughter back to her former Foster family. We received a call to inform us of the decision on December 18th at noon, Grace was gone by 1:00pm. December 19th. We were devastated to say the least. I wasn’t heartbroken, I truly felt like a piece of my heart had been amputated. It had been cut off, and was forever gone with my daughter.
    Losing our child was the hardest blow our family had ever dealt with. I remember being so incredibly angry with God and grief stricken. It was the first time in my adult life that I could actually understand in a very small way how someone could decide to “bag their faith”. Thankfully, we serve a God who is merciful. In spite of my anger, He never stopped carrying me through my heartache. There are still tears, and my heart will always ache for my daughter, but I know that God will use this journey in my life, my husband’s life, and in the lives of our boys.

    I do not share this story to scare anyone away from Foster care and adoption. In HUGE contrast, I want to encourage people to prayerfully consider Foster Care and state adoption through the CPS system. In spite of our family’s heartache, we want to share the message of HOPE that God brought to our family. He allowed our BIGGEST FEAR in life to be realized, and show me and my family that He is enough! He is enough when it comes to my needs. He is enough when it comes to my kids, and he is more than enough when it comes to my sorrow and my pain. God has given us hope in spite of our fears. He has shown us that hope in Him can and will carry us through the good times and the hardest times of our lives.
    At this time, our family has fostered 4 children since we lost Grace. We have been uniquely blesses by each child. We have decided to make the decision to move forward again in the adoption process through CPS. We are pursuing the adoption of a little boy, but are open to God changing that plan!! We are excited to see what God has in store for us in the next phase of our “Adoption Journey”.

    Mark and Melissa Baker

    Monday, February 7, 2011

    Story #4: Russian Miracle!

    Our adoption story is a little unusual in that I wasn't one these Moms that ever thought about adopting a child the summer of 2004 we recieved a "baby" announcement from some friends we had no idea were even pregnant.  Marc knew the couple from college and I guess you could say we were distant friends but always caught up with each others families with the Christmas card every year.  Our friends already had 2 boys but she had always wanted a third wanting to try for a girl.  They had a hard time conceiving the third time and turned to adoption to grow their family.  When I opened our friends announcement my whole world changed and in an instant the direction of how I wanted to grow our family changed to how God wanted to grow our family which I knew was through adoption.  We also had two beautiful boys and God placed on my heart the desire for a girl.  The little 12 month girl staring back at me in the announcement was name Kaylee and her piercing blue eyes captured my heart as I read how she was adopted from an orphanage in Russis.   Now I knew I wanted a third child but getting my husband on board was a different matter not to mention adopting a child in a country that was a 15 hour plane ride away in a country that's not exactly known for their warm hospitality.  My husband had never been out of the United States so this took some serious prayer on my part.  However, four years later almost to the date I had received little Kaylee's adoption announcement Marc and I were staring at the most beautiful 15 month old brown eye little girl from an orphanage in Muron, Russia that we were soon going to call our daughter.

    Now there are a few, what I would call, miracles that happened within those 4 years leading up to Ellie's adoption.  There was our move from California to Texas in 2006 that allowed us to have the financial ability to pay for an adoption as well as the family support that allowed us to take four trips back and forth to Russia.  In the summer of 2008 I did unexpectedly get pregnant only to lose our baby to an ectopic pregnancy a couple of months later.  Now this is the moment that Marc did want another child because the two months I was pregnant he got very excited about adding to our family and we had already been visualing what that would look like.  So after our heartbreak of losing our 3rd child he was very much on board with adopting.  God knew all along.  Well that's the short story of our adoption journey but fast forward to November 2008 when we took our first of four trips to Russia.  Wow, what an amazing journey those next 2 months were.  Ellie had been in her orphanage for over nine months which is the time Russia requires before children our allowed to be adopted outside of their country.  Our first trip was meeting and agreeing to adopt Ellie as our own.  No one had to twist our arms for that one because we were completely smitten with her.  Our second trip was to go to a Russian court and stand before a judge explaining why we should be Ellie's parents.  The judge agreed we would be fit parents for Ellie and with the sound of her gavel we were the proud parents of Elisabeth (Ellie) Kate Fowler.  What a beautiful sound that was.  The third trip I went alone to get Ellie's passport and the fourth trip at the end of Jan. 2009 Marc and I took the long journey again to pick our beautiful daughter up and bring her home to her forever family.

    It's been exactly two years since we brought our daughter home.  Now I wold love to say that once we brought Ellie home we all lived happily ever after....  Well anyone who has ever adopted a toddler in which you are taking them away from everything they have ever known will tell you it's not an easy road the first few months.  Ellie had a hard time attaching to us at first not to mention adjusting to the time change.  I don't think I slept for the first 3 months.  I'm sure we looked and smelled weird.  I mean after all Russia looked and smelled weird to me.  We most definitely sounded weird and she wasn't too fond of my second son Luke nor was he of her.  So that was a real joy trying to get my son who had been the baby of the family and quite the Mama's boy for 5 years to try and accept his new instant little sister who was taking his toys away not to mention his Mama.  Let's just say there was a lot of crying going on with me doing most of it those first few months.  Well I can honestly say we are all one big happy family with the "normal" sibling rivalry these days.

    Everyone's adoption journey is their own special story and we are on this amazing journey forever with our daughter.  There will definitely be struggles as she grows which is why I am so thankful for our adoption group because they so "get me".  I can't imagine a better way for all of us as Christians to understand God's unconditional love for us than through adoption.  As God's children we have been adopted into His family and as Ellie gets older and starts to understand where she came from and how she became part of our family I hope and pray that will bring her comfort and peace.  Thanks so much for letting me share our adoption story.  It was and will always be an amazing journey! 

    There are 700,000 orphans in Russia today.  Up to 80% of children in Russia who live in the more than 2,176 orphanges are so called "social orphans" who have been taken by the authorities away from their problematic families due to alcoholism and the general destructive tendencies in Russia society.  Please pray for the orphans in Russia.

    God Bless,
    The Fowler Family
    Marc, Lisa, Jake, Luke and Ellie

    Friday, February 4, 2011

    Story #3: God's perfect timing for the Jones'

    We have known, and have been convicted, that the Lord clearly states in His Word to care for the fatherless, widows and strangers of this world.  James 1:27 - "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress..."  For a long time we just didn't know what exactly this meant for our family, but we knew we needed to do something. Kent and I have always been open to adoption, whether we had problems conceiving or not... it didn't matter. It is beautiful, and we have always thought this. The way God orchestrates His sovereign plan in bringing parents THEIR child, biologically or from all the way around the world, is absolutely incredible and moving beyond words. I was ready for many months, but it wasn't God's perfect timing, because Kent wasn't there yet. I had a strong feeling God would bring Kent to this place, but I was really having to trust Him and wait on His timing for us. It obviously wasn't right yet... until a Saturday night, August 15, 2009.

    On this Saturday evening, Brooks, for the first time, spoke his own prayer... out loud... without direction... without repeating, at the dinner table. It went something like this, "God, thank you for this food. Thank you for Mommy and Daddy, and help those without mommies and daddies in this world." Tear... seriously, it was SO sweet! We hadn't been talking about this much, although we had in the past. We know God put it in his heart and mind! Anyway, that night, Kent was praying during his quiet time that God would show him clearly in His Word. Kent says that he got through his time with God in the Word, and there was nothing new. He was disappointed and asked God again. Then he felt God was revealing to him..."I have already shown you in my Word. Tonight, I showed you through your son." Then he knew it was time to move forward and pursue our little girl!

    I was still praying about this issue and had no idea for days that God had moved on Kent's heart to adopt. Through a series of ordained events, God confirmed it to both of us that adoption was how He was going to grow our family. Our hearts were not at peace until we began to follow His calling to adopt.

    How did we know to adopt internationally? 
    If you know us at all you know this: we are passionate about the Great Commission and making His name famous... until all people groups hear. We are also made more aware the past few years of the orphan crisis around the world. God has revealed to us that we, as believers, are all called to care for the orphans, widows, and strangers of this world (all throughout His word). How are we to care for them? Well, one way is to adopt... and our family is called to this, but not all are. Other ways are through sponsorship of children, helping orphanages, going and serving, giving, etc... so many ways!  (Recommended reading - Fields of the Fatherless)
    God led us to Ethiopia and international adoption because that is where God has called us and made it known. Everything from length of trip to bring our child home (important considering our 2 boys), one trip only (which has since changed to 2, but God knew that), our passion for the lost and oppressed, the unreached and so many other details... were in place perfectly because that is where He has our little girl.   He has put Ethiopia in our hearts for a reason. Right now, our hearts are with a little girl, between the age of 1-2 years. Who knows what God has in store? But we trust Him... and we know He will lead us to her.  For the record, we absolutely believe domestic adoption is wonderful and equally important!

    Please, please pray for us in this amazing journey. I know there will be surprises, good and bad days, and lots of waiting. We have presently been waiting 8 months... a wait that we know is worth it!  Also, please pray for our little girl and her birth mother and father... their safety and provision, the birth mother's health and choices, and that she will seek the Father and find Him in her circumstances. Thank you for sharing in our joy and in this journey! We can't wait! 

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Story #2: The Heaton's take a Leap of Faith!


    My name is Kim Heaton, and my husband Jeff and I have been married for almost 11 years.  We have two biological children, Emily (7) and Josh (4), and we are currently in the process of adopting a toddler girl from Ethiopia.  We were officially added to the wait list on January 4, 2011, and we look forward to the day when we will one day meet our little girl.

    Going into this process, one of our concerns was how we would be able to afford adoption.  God has always provided for us in the past, but we still had the occasional doubt of, “How can we afford this?”  Knowing that international adoption could easily cost us $30,000, and knowing that we have a tight budget already, we wondered where in the world we would get that much money.  But, we knew that God had called our family to adoption, so we began the process trusting the Lord.  And thankfully, we know the owner of the cattle on a thousand hills (God!), and He is faithful!

    Our financial journey is far from over in regards to the adoption, but in less than five months time, we have already paid over $11,000 in adoption related costs.  In case you’re wondering, that was a lot of money that we didn’t know we had.  Yet, we have not had to take a loan, and we have not yet done any real fundraising.  Simply put, God has provided.

    One direct example of His abundant goodness came with a phone call from my husband one night.  He had a work dinner to go to, but he called on the way from the office to the dinner.  We had a big payment due to our adoption agency within the next few days, and we knew that if we used our credit card to pay for it, there would be a 2.5% fee—adding about another $100 to the total.  We didn't want to do that but didn't really have the extra money lying around either. My husband gets a work bonus in December, but he wouldn’t get it until a week after the payment was due. Jeff called our caseworker and asked if we could send the money in after we received the bonus so that we wouldn't have to pay the 2.5% fee. Our caseworker said YES and put a note in our file about when it would be coming in. (This reminded me of how God tells us: You have not because you ask not.)

    But back to the phone call: He told me that he’d had his bonus review that day. Would you care to guess the difference between his bonus the previous year and this year?  Exactly the amount that we owed the adoption agency!  Yes, there were taxes and tithes to think about, but God proved Himself faithful to meet our needs in providing the exact extra amount so that we would be able to pay our agency.  How GREAT is He?  Plus, on top of that, Jeff was given a new title in his company—which also came with a pay increase.  Then, a week later, he was told that he would be receiving an extra week’s salary to finish out the year.

    As I said before, we are a long way from the end of the financial journey before us, but God has shown us that His yes is bigger than ours, and He is continuing to care for all of our needs as He's so good at doing.

    *To follow along on their journey click here

    Monday, January 31, 2011

    Stories of Love!

    Stories... We all have one.  So much so, people within our church want to know "What's your Story?"  As we have started walking with families who have a heartbeat to care for the fatherless, we have seen some amazing stories.  Some stories have beautiful endings, some end when you wish they didn't, some leave you inspired, and others leave you wondering "what is going to happen next."  Regardless of the content of each story, God's hand is within it, writing every minute.

    We want to recognize and pass along some of our stories to you.  Over the next 2 weeks, we will be focused on "Stories of Love." These stories originated out of great love for our Father, and then passed along to the children we are blessed to love.  We hope you will join along as we share our "Stories of Love."    Below is our first "Story of Love."  

    Story #1: The Willis Family's Ugandan Miracle!

    My husband and I have been praying about adoption for years.  When he went to Uganda with our church in June of 2010, God made it clear that our child was in Uganda.  We started the day he got home and a short 4 months later our son, Owen, was in our home.  
    God walked us through every step of the way.  One of the benefits of adopting from Uganda is that you are able to do it independently.  We hired our Ugandan lawyers after lots of research and referrals.  We got most of our information from a private facebook group!  We met lots of new friends and learned lots tons about both adoption and Uganda.  We hired a social worker here in the DFW area from another friend's referral.  She has walked us through the American processes and showed us how to get all of our needed training.  
    Owen was brought to our attention by a friend of our lawyers who adopted a little girl from Uganda - she posted on facebook that a little boy needed a home and we prayed and inquired. 
    The most valuable tool we have had along the way is prayer.  Our friends and family prayed us along and God moved mountains to get us to the child He always intended to be ours. When we were done with all of our required paperwork and training in the US, we waited for a court date in Uganda.   We were told about this date with less than a week's notice!  So, we packed up and got ready to travel.  
    When we arrived, we stayed at the orphanage where Owen was.  We volunteered and learned about Uganda and it's people.  I didn't know it at the time, but I was falling in love with Uganda every step of the way.  We went to all of our legal appointments and were granted legal guardianship of Owen.  Our lawyers were so helpful and really lead us through the process.  We traveled home 3 weeks after we arrived, and then with our daughter, became a family of 4 at DFW International Airport!
    Our process was very smooth (considering) with lots of scares along the way.  We had no agency to buffer anything, but we were thankful we were able to go independently.  It is often cheaper and has a shorter time frame too.  We prayed and God moved.  We asked Him to lead us to the child He had for us - and He did just that.  Uganda has 2.5 million orphans waiting for forever families.  We are very excited to see what God has in store for our future.  We have no idea what He is up to, but we are so thankful for the journey he has put us on. 

    To Follow more of their story.... click here!

    Friday, January 28, 2011

    The Journey & Covenant Kids host: Accelerated Foster Care Training!

    Have you ever considered becoming a Foster Parent? Are you aware of the current need for Foster Parents in the state of Texas? There are currently more than 7,600 children in the Foster Care system in the Dallas Ft. Worth area, and more than 4,000 Waiting Children, available for adoption in the State of Texas. It is time for the church to follow the biblical mandate of caring for the Orphan, and step out in faith to care for the orphans in our own communities.
     First Baptist McKinney, in conjunction with Covenant Kids will be hosting an intensive Foster Training program beginning Tuesday, February 15th at 6PM. This program is designed to incorporate all of the state required classes in an accelerated format to allow you to move through the program more quickly.

    The class schedule is as follows:
    2/15     Tuesday 6-9PM
    2/17     Thursday 6-9PM
    2/19     Saturday 9A-5PM
    2/22     Tuesday 6-9PM
    2/24     Thursday 6-9PM
    2/26     Saturday 9A-5PM

    In order to pre-register for the class, please contact Jailynn Smiley at Covenant Kids at 817-789-3396 or via email If you are interested, please make sure to PRE-REGISTER so that we will be able to have the appropriate material available to all members of the class. If you have any questions or want additional information, please feel free to contact Mark and Melissa Baker at 972-898-4978 or

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    WRAP Around Families: Traveling the journey with adoptive and foster families

    The Journey will be having their first 2nd Wednesday meeting of the year tomorrow night at 6:15.  The first half of the session will be directed towards adoptive/foster families and finding effective ways to bring along others with them in this journey.  The second half will be directed specifically at families who want to provide support to adoptive/foster families.  We will discuss practical ways they can provide much needed support, along with how they can better understand unique issues and challenges adoptive/foster families face.  Our hope is to create a network of families within the church who have an interest in WRAPing around adoptive/foster families within the church.  This meeting is ideal for adoptive families, their families & friends, and anyone who has a desire to support those families.

    We will meet in Room 2109 and will meet from 6:15-7:30.  Childcare is free and provided through the children's building of First Baptist Mckinney.  

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Reflections on 2010 and Excitement for 2011

    In August of this year, The Journey kicked off it's first official event. Since that time, we have been blessed to meet so many families right here within our own church body that have adopted, fostered, or are considering it.  We were blessed by support from our church staff, and were able to bring awareness to the entire church through our Orphan Sunday Events in November.  In December, our church's ministry was highlighted in Hope for Orphan's newsletter of church highlights!  If you would like to read that, click here!

    While 2010 was indeed a great start for The Journey, we know that God has many good things to come.  We want to post a couple of the upcoming Events here and also point your attention to some of the ongoing opportunities.

    First, our groups meet the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of each month.  For a complete listing of the topics that will be discussed on the 2nd Wednesday of each month, see the tab above.  For information on our support groups that meet the 4th Wednesday of the month, see that tab.


    FEBRUARY: We will be hosting Covenant Kids, a Foster Care Agency, to hold the training necessary to become a respite or Foster Care Family.  The dates are as follows:
    Tuesday 15th, Thursday 17th, Saturday 19th, Tuesday 22nd, Thursday 24th, and Saturday 26th. The weekday classes are from 6-9 and the Saturday classes are 9-5.  Usually, these classes are held much further away and it is difficult to get to the classes.  We are excited to be able to host the classes here at the church.  In 2 weeks, YOU could have your training Complete and well on your way to becoming a Foster Parent!  This is also great if you are interested in "respite"... which is short term care (over 72 hrs) of children in foster care.  

    APRIL:  Dates are waiting to be confirmed:  WEEKEND ADOPTION MARATHON: "If You Were Mine" Adoption Seminar held on a Friday night and all day Saturday.  This is for families considering adoption.  We held this as an 8 week class in the Fall, and will hold it as a weekend "marathon" of information in April for families that can't make it on Wednesday nights. We have a preview on the blog site. 

    MAY: Foster Care Prayer Vigil: Wednesday May 4th.  We will meet, and get into groups and pray for the kids in foster care, the workers, and both the biological families and the foster families.  It will be a sweet time in prayer!


    Chit Chat & Chai: Time where adoptive/foster moms can meet and just be together to chat about "whatever."  This will be every other month, and an Evite will be sent out. If you did not receive the evite for December and would like to be on that list, please let us know.

    We are very excited for the coming year, and all it holds for the families of The Journey. We are so grateful to 
    walk with you in life!

    The Journey Leadership Team