Meet our Advocates

TFI resources, supports, and equips Advocates to facilitate on-going, long-term relationships between their local agencies and the Body of Christ.


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Meet Our Advocates

AlabamaBack to Top

Blake and Blair Martin
Baldwin County Blake and Blair Martin

Blake and Blair Martin live in Fairhope, Alabama, where Blake works in medical sales and Blair is a stay-at-home mom to their three children. They are enjoying their new role as foster parents and have a deep desire to help equip the body of Christ in serving the foster care community.

Annie Persinger
Mobile County Annie Persinger

Annie is a homeschooling mom to four children. She and her husband, Christopher, had their lives flipped upside down after reading The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken and watching friends foster two little girls. They saw the need and opportunity for the church to be the hands and feet of Jesus to care for the vulnerable. They felt called to serve with TFI after learning more about foster care through The Forgotten Podcast, and desire to be daily surrendering to the Lord as they come alongside the vulnerable.

“If you let fear keep you from doing what God has called you to do, you not only compromise your mission, you forfeit your happiness.” Jen Oshman
Catie Lumpkin
Birmingham, AL - Shelby County Catie Lumpkin

Jamie and Catie Lumpkin have been licensed foster parents for three years and cared for more than thirty children during that time period. They have three biological sons and four long term foster children. Their journey daily takes them to the foot of the cross, where they find strength to love and serve their children’s families, their caseworkers, and other parties involved.

Jena Turner
Escambia County Jena Turner

Jena and Keath have always had a heart for adoption. Their desire at first (after having 2 biological children) was to privately adopt an infant. After beginning that process, God divinely opened a door for them instead to foster-to-adopt a five and six year old that were biological siblings. Fostering was never something they planned to do, but they knew when this opportunity arose it was God’s plan for their lives. They eventually adopted their two foster children, but during their first 9 months of being foster parents to these siblings, they were able to see the reality of broken children, broken homes, broken parents, worn out workers, a lack of help on so many levels, and a broken system altogether. They have such a heart to fill these gaps by working with TFI. They are excited to have the resources, encouragement, counsel, and leadership that The Forgotten Initiative ministry offers to their advocates and the foster care community.They desire to see Christ exalted in whatever is accomplished through this ministry by them.

“We care for orphans not because we are rescuers, but because we are the rescued.” – David Platt

CaliforniaBack to Top

Becky DeCarlo
Bakersfield, CA Becky DeCarlo

Becky and her husband, Dominic, have six children and are foster parents. When their hearts were burdened by the enormity of needs in the foster care system, they desired to be a voice for the fatherless. As an Advocate, Becky has a front row seat in watching the Body of Christ use their gifts and talents to share the love of Jesus with the foster care community.

We truly believe the Lord is going to use The Forgotten Initiative to make His name and love known to those in the foster care system in Bakersfield and across the United States.
Dale and Jillaine Maples
Humboldt County Dale and Jillaine Maples

Dale and Jillaine Maples learned of the need for good foster homes in their community in 2012, and after that, they no longer had the luxury of not knowing. They quickly began to research how they could better equip their local church to serve the foster care community. They found The Forgotten Initiative at a CAFO (Christian Alliance for Orphans) conference and soon after began the process of becoming advocates in their community of Humboldt County, California. Dale is a plumbing and heating contractor and Jillaine is a full-time mom. They have been married since 1988 and have eight children and one grandchild.

DelawareBack to Top

Tara Johnson
Kent/Sussex Counties Tara Johnson

Tara and her husband, Billy, live in rural Delaware and have three boys. After becoming aware of The Forgotten Initiative and the needs within the foster community, Tara was motivated to do something. She has become an advocate with TFI to bring awareness to other of needs they can fill, spread God’s love to a hurting community, and encourage the workers, families, and children within the foster care system.

One person cannot do everything, but everyone can do something. What is your something?

FloridaBack to Top

Tammy McGuire
Northeast Florida Tammy McGuire

Tammy McGuire’s experience within the child welfare system expands over the past twenty-eight years. It started in her early twenties when she mentored a teenage girl within the Foster Care system. Married for over 22 years to her husband, John McGuire, their family has been foster parents for 11 years; and have nurtured and cared for over 61 foster children in their home. Tammy and John have two adult biological children; and on April 5, 2016, adopted their last two foster children a (nine-year-old girl, and her eight-year-old brother). In 2009, the McGuire family started the Foster Closet Corporation in their home. This 501c3 Charity is a free resource, which now helps over 800 foster, relative, and non-relative placements each year. Within the Foster Closet, Tammy also facilitates a foster parent support group, as well as “foster parent’s night out” for all foster parents. Tammy has won many local and state advocacy awards. Her purpose is brought to life when speaking to local PRIDE classes about her role within the foster care system. TFI will bring a jumpstart to Northeast Florida’s churches, with the desired hope to bring His heart to the forgotten.

“My most rewarding work is the souls the Lord allow her to touch each day through fostering, guidance and support of our foster families.”

GeorgiaBack to Top

Jon and Amber Schwalls
Colquitt County Jon and Amber Schwalls

Amber and Jon were married April 2005 and are parents to two beautiful girls, Carter and Ellie. They are excited and expectant of God’s plan in continuing to expand their family unit. They have served as foster parents and TFI coordinators since the summer of 2013. Their passions in ministering to the forgotten is helping break the cycles of abandonment and poor parenting in their county via TFI. They hope to unite the churches in their county in these efforts by serving as the bridge between them and the foster community. Their favorite quote comes from a very special Godly counselor that has blessed their lives individually and united them as a family. It has given them a better understanding and profound empathy in ministering to the broken.

“Sometimes, the problems in a persons life are often, not what was done to them, but what wasn’t done for them.”- Sylvia Evans
Tony and Selena Whitley
Middle Georgia Tony and Selena Whitley

Tony and Selena live in Warner Robins, Georgia where Tony serves as the Children’s Pastor of Shirley Hills Baptist Church. Selena is a working mom of two biological kids, and she and Tony have been foster parents for two years. TFI is the God-ordained next step in their desire to improve and honor the Foster Care system in Middle Georgia.

“We are passionate about equipping and empowering the local church to take back their God-given responsibility of caring for the fatherless. Children from hard places are my heartbeat, and we are beyond excited to see what amazing possibilities God has in store for our area!”

IllinoisBack to Top

Aaron and Shannon Spaid
Bloomington Aaron and Shannon Spaid

God broke Shannon’s and Aaron’s hearts and opened their eyes to the needs of the foster care community. After becoming foster parents and working through the adoption process with their son’s birth mother, they knew they could not simply walk away. They feel very blessed to give back through TFI, as it gives them the opportunity to show the love of Jesus to the foster care community as well as live out His word and draw closer to Him.

“God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.”
Madison Flack
Galesburg Madison Flack

Growing up as a farm girl, Madison’s heart has been fashioned to pursue a cause that is greater than herself. She will graduate from Judson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry in just a few short months. As a ministry student she began serving with TFI in Elgin, IL a year and a half ago. Back in her hometown of Galesburg, IL, Madison is passionate and eager to serve the local foster care agencies and churches within the community.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” – Hellen Keller
Vicki Kellenberger
Elgin Vicki Kellenberger

As a wife, mother, and grandmother, Vicki’s life has been full of love and purpose. During the 33 years of her marriage to Ken, they have together raised four wonderful children and are now the adoring grandparents of two grandchildren. In addition, Vicki first had a career as a court reporter and is now a business manager for a nursing home. However, in the midst of it all, Vicki felt God begin to nudge her to look outside the richness of her own life and engage with and serve those less fortunate than her. Through her daughter, Jillian, Vicki’s life intersected with TFI in 2011. The more she learned about the work of TFI, she realized she, too, had a passion for the children and care-givers involved in foster care. As a result, Vicki officially began serving in TFI along side her daughter, seeking to “defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; [and] maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed.” (Psalm 82:3) Vicki was involved in organizing the Elgin, IL chapter of TFI in 2013 and now serves as the local Advocate.

Carrie Purtell
Peoria Carrie Purtell

Carrie and her husband Seth are believers in Christ and it is their belief that they should pass on the love of Jesus to others. They have been foster parents for 5 years and are also adoptive parents. Carrie loves people, and is so excited to be a part of TFI – to have more opportunities to pass on Jesus’ love to those who are in such desperate need of it (but aren’t we all?).

Adam and Melissa Craig
Will County Adam and Melissa Craig

Adam and Melissa have 4 children- 2 boys and 2 girls. After a powerful Bible study with their small group from church, they really had the desire to start serving their community. Melissa and Adam got connected with TFI and found out there was a need for an advocate. Half way through another powerful Bible study (studying is the easy part!) and prayer, Melissa felt like this was something they should pursue. Thinking maybe it was time to apply what they had learned! They are excited to serve the foster community and to see how the Lord can use them to help fix a broken system.

“We live in a broken world. Here is a great opportunity to help make it better and what better time than now?”

IndianaBack to Top

Carley Wheeler
Williamsport Carley Wheeler

Carley and her husband, Justin, began their foster care journey two years ago. As teachers, they saw the need for foster parents in their local community and quickly began the process to become foster parents. Now, two years and four placements later, they have two toddlers in their care. God has opened their hearts, taught them many lessons, and blessed them in many ways. They hope to be God’s hand and feet in their local foster care community by showing encouragement and sharing His love.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18

LouisianaBack to Top

Cherith Craft
Baton Rouge Cherith Craft

Cherith and her husband, Brandon, have three biological daughters and have been foster parents for two years. Cherith became more compassionate towards biological parents after getting to know the parents of the children that were in her care, realizing that she herself might have made similar choices if she faced the same circumstances. She felt the Lord nudging her to do more in her community after listening to The Forgotten Podcast and is excited to be a voice and encouragement for those in the foster care community in and around Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where her family lives.

“A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25
Gary and Marie Briggs
Southern Maine Gary and Marie Briggs

Gary and Marie live in a small town in Southern Maine. Marie has been teaching preschool for 16 years and loves impacting the lives of children and families through the special education program she developed 5 years ago. Gary and Marie have 5 children in their home currently and hopes to bring in more someday. They took in their first foster placement last summer and God really opened doors for them to become involved in the foster care community. They began investing in relationships and churches in their area, praying over all that they believe God wants to do through them to help children and strengthen families. Gary and Marie found TFI through online research and loved reading about ways TFI was serving the foster care community. The TFI team was so helpful in the months that led up to us joining TFI in coming alongside us with hope in the midst of so much brokenness in our community. Our story is very similar to others in our region and we are excited to join TFI and bring joy and purpose to the Southern Maine foster care community.

“Adopting and fostering a child imitates the COMPASSION of Christ toward individual suffering and obeys the biblical mandate regarding the fatherless. Christ-like communities who stand ready to love and adopt needy children illustrate in living color, the gospel of our adoption into the family of God.”

MassachusettsBack to Top

Josh and Liz Archambault
Quincy Josh and Liz Archambault

Josh and Liz Archambault both knew they wanted to adopt while in high school before they met each other in college. Currently living in Quincy, Massachusetts, they married in 2007 and Liz gave birth to their daughter in 2013. In 2015 their son joined the family through foster care. Josh works on welfare and health care policy and Liz is a social worker. They were drawn to TFI because of the holistic focus on vulnerable adults and agency workers, in addition to children and foster parents.

Lynnette Lovasco
Beverly Lynnette Lovasco

Lynnette and Peter Lovasco live in the North Shore Massachusetts area with their three biological children and up to three foster children at a time. They became foster parents over two years ago when they decided to welcome more children into their home. They have had four permanent placements and have provided respite care for more than a dozen children. Desiring to find tangible ways to help their foster care community, Lynette learned about The Forgotten Initiative through a friend. After doing some research, she realized TFI was exactly what she was looking for. Lynnette and Peter are excited about partnering with TFI to bring support to their local foster care community.

MinnesotaBack to Top

Bonnie Porter
Twin Cities - North Bonnie Porter

Bonnie is married and has 4 children, one son-in-law, and one grandson. Through the process of adding her two youngest children to the family, Bonnie experienced the miracle of adoption and God’s grace that restores and redeems. She is excited to play a role in helping mobilize the Church to bring God’s redemption to hurting children, youth, and their families in her community.

“We love because He first loved us.” I John 4:19
Candace King
Twin Cities Candace King

Looking for a way to make a connection with foster care needs in her own community, TFI came into view as an answer to the “how” that could happen. Candace’s family growing up was a foster home for their county, giving her the opportunity to experience firsthand the challenges that children and foster families face. Candace and her husband Santy have two children.

“It is so amazing to connect the Body of Christ with opportunities to support foster care, deepening the connection that believers already have with Jesus by meeting these needs in our community and loving the forgotten. People really want to respond to that calling when they are given the opportunity.”

MissouriBack to Top

Pam Chapman
Webster County Pam Chapman

Pam and Charlie have been married for 31 years and together have two married children. They also have the sweetest joy imaginable, an adored two-year-old granddaughter and a second precious grandchild on the way. Following their ’empty nest’ four years ago God placed a burden on their hearts for the foster community, and recently led them to The Forgotten Initiative. Pam has a vision of each local church supporting one family who is fostering – with that family being surrounded by Godly, willing helpers – as they are the hands and feet to the needs of the children placed in their homes. She is confident that if only one family in each church took on this opportunity, we could provide for all the children in care in our area – and if those churches surrounded one family each with support, that family would be blessed and encouraged beyond measure! What a tremendous opportunity to share and show God’s love!
Together, Charlie & Pam look forward to working with the other advocates at TFI, reaching and supporting the foster community in rural areas in Central and Southwest Missouri, and challenging our local churches to be Christ’s hands and feet in the care and love of these children and vulnerable adults. Now is the time to show them the love of Christ; she wants to be a part of that.

“I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” Edward Everett Hale

NevadaBack to Top

Gloria Torma
Washoe County Gloria Torma

Gloria and her husband Michael began working with their local social services agency and churches in 2012 after attending an orientation and being moved by the overwhelming desire to serve in this area. Since then they have been blessed to expand the ministry partnership with the agencies throughout Nevada and as the West Coast Regional Coordinator for Orphan Sunday Gloria has been privileged to introduce Orphan Sunday to many of the rural Nevada areas. Michael and Gloria are also foster parents and enjoy working with the local recruitment and training team to recruit and encourage new foster parents. Although there is a level of sadness that accompanies foster care/adoption/orphan ministries Michael and Gloria believe passionately in the power and potential of the churches working together with the agencies, families, and professionals involved in the Nevada child welfare system to make lasting positive impacts for future generations.

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9

New HampshireBack to Top

Terese Grinnell
Concord Terese Grinnell

Terese Grinnell is a licensed foster parent and mother who is passionate about serving her local foster care community in New Hampshire. An acquaintance who runs a foster parent alliance in her area told her about TFI and that they had been praying for an advocate, all while thinking Terese was the perfect fit. She is very excited to be a part of a ministry that works with churches to fill needs for agency workers, foster parents, vulnerable adults and children.

When you look into their eyes, you will find compassion.

New MexicoBack to Top

Jennifer Bartz
Albuquerque Jennifer Bartz

Jen is a happy mother of four beautiful children. Her husband James and she adopted a baby boy with Down syndrome in 2014. Being in the adoption community opened their eyes to the needs around them in the foster care community. They want to help mobilize the Church to meet the needs through Christ and expect to see miracles happen as He moves in the Albuquerque community.

“They who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall run and not be weary. They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

North CarolinaBack to Top

Traci Prillaman
Union County Traci Prillaman

Traci and her husband, Brad, live in Matthews, North Carolina where they are both active members of their church and community. They are the proud parents of three wonderful boys and have been licensed foster parents since early 2014. Traci is excited to partner with TFI and lead a team in Union County that will be the hands and feet of Jesus to the foster care community.

Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

OklahomaBack to Top

Kara Reid
NW Oklahoma Kara Reid

When God opened their eyes in 2009 to the needs of the foster care community, He also ignited a passion in Kara to serve the families effected by foster care. Along with her husband, Cory, they have been serving Jesus by caring for those in need. Over the past few years this has included adopting their youngest son from the foster care system, and adding an older sister to the family as well. Kara has been praying for God to show her how to get others in her community of Woodward, Oklahoma involved and felt Him lead her to TFI.

“Don’t just pray about what seems logical & possible. Pray HARD about the impossible. God will show you that NOTHING is impossible with Him. Ever. Period. End of Story.” – Ann Voskamp

South CarolinaBack to Top

Rachel Lawrence
Columbia Rachel Lawrence

Rachel is married to Jonathan and has three daughters through the gift of adoption. She wants to be more like Jesus and to live a life of gratitude for all He is and has done. Until recently, she didn’t have much exposure to or experience with the foster care community; but the more she learned about it, the more she realized that she wanted to be involved with something so near to the heart of Jesus. She is excited about what God is doing and will continue to do in the foster care community in her city and feels honored to get to be a part of it!

“He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” ~ Micah 6:8

TennesseeBack to Top

Jeff and Becky Smits
Knoxville Jeff and Becky Smits

Jeff and Becky have 5 children. After a couple years of fostering and eventually adopting, they still had a desire to continue to help the children in foster care, minister to the social workers in their community, and support other foster families they met along the way. They were always saddened when their foster children arrived with either the typical “garbage bag luggage” or simply just the clothes on their backs. When Becky received an embroidery machine for Christmas and saw a Pinterest “pin” for Shelter Bags, the idea of personalizing bags for children entering foster care began. The ministry flourished and blossomed in meeting needs way beyond that, and they are now so grateful God orchestrated becoming part of such a kindred ministry with TFI! Jeff and Becky desire for more families to know about foster care and how God is calling them to use their gifts to impact the foster care community for Christ.

“I want to show the world the love You gave me, I’m longing for the world to know the glory of the King. I want to live like that, and give it all I have. So that everything I say and do points to You.” – Sidewalk Prophets

VirginiaBack to Top

Angie Grant
Chesterfield County Angie Grant

Stan and his wife Angie have Pastored Clover Hill Assembly of God in Midlothian Virginia for the past 17 years. They have 4 children, one of whom was brought into their lives through the foster system– they can’t remember which one. They are thrilled to see a mobilized church in the area of orphan care and are passionate about the people of God living a transcendent life!

“We are involved in Foster Care, because we can.”

WisconsinBack to Top

Jamey and Sarah McIntosh
Chippewa Valley Jamey and Sarah McIntosh

Jamey, a product marketing manager, and Sarah, a former 4th grade teacher turned stay-at-home, homeschool mom, are serving as Advocates together. They learned about TFI at the CAFO (Christian Alliance for Orphans) Summit in 2017, an event they had attended a number of times as they served with an adoption and orphan care ministry for several years. They felt God calling them to focus more on foster care and realized their interest and passion would be a great fit as TFI Advocates. Jamey and Sarah are the parents to four children, one of whom is adopted from Ethiopia.

“Do not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time you will produce a harvest if you do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

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