The Second Story is a community of churches working together to find a family for every child in their region of Texas.  Children without families is an injustice, and, in the spirit of Psalm 68:5-6, we work to reverse the trend of children waiting to be adopted.

Children without families live a story of isolation, neglect, abuse, and hopelessness.  Many of them experience disrupted placements moving from home to home due to their behaviors which stem from a lack of healing in loving and stable families.

We want to give them a new story, a second story.

One that is filled with hope and restoration in a home supported by a local church providing encouragement and resources for the child and parents working together.

For more information on how to begin the process in order to adopt a waiting child or become a partner church in The Second Story initiative, see the tabs below or visit the Texas Heart Gallery to see some of the children who are waiting for their forever family today.


Over 7,000 children
waiting to be adopted
in the State of Texas.

What is the role of participating churches?

Partnering churches develop a team of volunteers who are trained to advocate for a child waiting to be adopted from their community.  Churches commit to advocating for their child for six months following adoption.  Each team has regular efforts that include:

  • visiting their child at least once a month
  • communicating with their child’s caseworker, CASA, and/or foster parents weekly
  • praying for the child by name each week as a team
  • helping meet unmet tangible needs that arise for the child, family, or caseworker
  • developing media to help the child tell their story in their own voice
  • advocating for the child’s adoption through their church’s network

What is the role of Embrace Texas?

Embrace established a memorandum of understanding with Child Protective Services (CPS) to grant access to children waiting to be adopted in order to advocate for their permanency and well-being.  This allows churches to directly support these children and their caretakers.  Churches are supported by Embrace to ensure confidentiality and the standards of CPS are maintained while promoting best practices to advocate for each child.

What is the Child to Family Connection?

Each year, Embrace and the partnering churches organize a “match event” called the Child to Family Connection where more than 20 children waiting to be adopted are represented.  Each child’s caseworker, attorney ad item, and/or CASA share their child’s story at a table specifically tailored to that child’s interests with a video of the child.  Licensed foster and adoptive families have the opportunity to learn about each child and submit their home study for the children they are interested in adopting while prospective foster and adoptive families participate in an orientation regarding the licensing process prior to learning more about each child.  Child Placing Agencies (CPAs) are also available to work with families and encourage matches between children and families.

How does a church get involved?

In Collin County, contact Cara Von Tress
In Tarrant County/Region 3B, contact Andrew Holland
In Dallas County, contact Cheryti Hames

Interested churches submit an application to join The Second Story initiative and are vetted to ensure the church understands the commitment being made to the child that will be matched with them.  The church then identifies a lead volunteer who begins to recruit their team along with their church staff liaison.  Following the 2-hour training and background approval for each volunteer, the child is identified for the church, and the team begins advocating.

Juan Pablo, age 13


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Juan Pablo is a lovable thirteen year old child with special needs. He has been diagnosed with autistic disorder, communication disorder, and severe developmental delays. Juan Pablo is mostly non-verbal, but he is able to speak a few words. His foster mother reports that he understands some Spanish in addition to English. Juan Pablo likes to play catch with his basketball, play hide-and-seek, and other outdoor games. He likes to race his CASA up and down the sidewalk. He likes to play with his toy piano, and sometimes likes to play with Legos. He is very affectionate to his foster mother and to his CASA volunteer.  He requires constant supervision as he has periods where he is aggressive.

Contact Justin Claunch to submit your home study.

Anaya - 9, Wraith - 8 & Luzada -7

Anaya, Wraith, Luzada-CottonwoodETSite

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Anaya is a smart, bright, and caring young girl who enjoys swimming, attending church, and playing outside with her friends and siblings. Wraith is an intelligent, funny, and creative boy who loves to build with Legos, play video games, and visit the swimming pool and library. Luzada is a bubbly, energetic, loving girl who enjoys reading, playing with her dolls, and playing outside on her bike. The children have a strong bond with one another. Their past includes neglect and mistreatment, but they hope for a family that will love and protect them, allowing them to be active, creative children. These siblings would benefit from a strong family with either older children or no children in the home, allowing them to be the center focus and shine in their individual talents.

Contact Christina McKinney to submit your home study.

Marionna, age 10


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Marionna is a loving 10-year-old girl. She enjoys glittery, girly things but also likes being active. She desires to receive lots of love and attention. She has enjoyed participating in cheerleading and has expressed an interest in softball. Other favorite pastimes include shopping (preferably for others), coloring, and playing with her Nintendo DS. She has a strong desire to please those who are caring for her and wants to have lots of one-on-one attention. Marionna does struggle with challenging behaviors at times, but has been working extremely hard to learn better ways to manage them. She will need a patient family who is willing to work with her on remembering these techniques. She responds well when she is able to have choices and offered “do-overs” when she makes poor choices. She very much wants a family who will love her and that she can call her own. Marionna has expressed that she would prefer to be the only child in her adoptive home, but she wants to remain in contact with her adopted biological sister.

Contact Megan Thompson to submit your home study.

Dakota, age 13


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Dakota enjoys the outdoors.  He likes basketball, football, and soccer.  He loves music and his favorite subjects in school are math and science.  He loves the drums and shows lots of ability in that area.  He can tap out a great beat!  While Dakota can find it hard to connect, he can bond very well with certain adults who spend a lot of time with him.  Dakota wants to be adopted and needs some help understanding how to fit into a family.  He is bright, athletic, and caring.  He wants desperately to have a permanent family.

Contact Justin Claunch to submit your home study.

John, age 10


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John is small for his age and a little shy at first but warms up quickly.  He enjoys playing outside at the park, collecting toy cars, and playing with trains.  John likes kickball, soccer, and catch.  Due to John’s sensory issues, he likes to touch everything and covers his ears around loud noises.  He struggles with changes and requires a structured routine.  John is able to make friends and loves animals.  He knows his letters and comprehends language when spoken to.  He is very affectionate and easily redirected.

Contact Ronda Paddock to submit your home study.

Christopher, age 12


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Christopher has been in foster for 6 years.  He is a sweet boy who needs extra support educationally and emotionally.  He likes football and video games.  Christopher was separated from his foster sister about 3 years ago and that remains an emotional rough spot for him.  When he grows up, he would like to be a solider.  Christopher has much potential in a home that would be willing to help his character development through extra-curricular activities.  Christopher identifies himself as a Christian.

Contact James Hentz to submit your home study.

Include the name of the child, their age, and any pertinent questions you have to be forwarded onto their caseworker.  If you are already licensed and have a home study, include your agency’s name in the Message field also.