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Safe Haven For Every Child

Embrace Texas – Connecting Willing Hands With Opportunities To Serve Children In Foster, Adoptive, Kinship Care

Embrace Texas, a nonprofit organization based in McKinney, has been a beacon of hope for children and families in the foster care system since its inception in 2007. Led by Executive Director Denise Kendrick, Embrace Texas plays an essential role in supporting and empowering foster and adoptive parents, while also providing vital resources and services to children in need. 

Denise’s journey as the executive director of Embrace Texas is deeply rooted in her personal experiences as a foster parent. Denise and her husband, Bruce, have four biological children and have adopted five children from foster care. 

“Foster care and adoption are a part of our family’s story. We didn’t set out to be a 'mega-family,' but we’ve learned along the way that the plan God has for us is always better than the plans we make for ourselves," says Denise. "The nine children who are ours forever are the greatest blessing of our lives.”

The inception of Embrace Texas was born out of the desire to connect foster and adoptive families, providing them with a supportive community. Denise and Bruce recognized that the unique challenges faced in parenting foster children required a different approach. They say they sought to create a space where families could come together, share their experiences and receive encouragement. Initially, Embrace Texas relied on volunteers, but as the demand for support groups, respite nights, and a foster closet grew, the organization expanded, and a full-time staff was established.

In 2017, after Bruce's tenure as executive director, Denise took the reins. Her passion for the cause and her firsthand knowledge of the challenges faced by foster parents have shaped the organization's vision and mission.

While Embrace Texas is based in McKinney and primarily serves Collin County, its impact extends beyond those boundaries. The organization welcomes children and families from any child-placing agency, adoptive families, and kinship families who wish to participate. Denise says by providing services and programs at no cost or low cost, Embrace Texas ensures the most vulnerable children and families, often from low-income backgrounds, receive the support they desperately need. The group acts as a bridge between the local church community and the needs of children in foster care, facilitating a powerful connection and fostering compassion and action.

In 2022, Embrace Texas opened Collin House, a safe and nurturing space for children entering the foster care system while awaiting placement. Many children, due to a shortage of foster families, find themselves in extended-stay hotels or Child Protective Services offices during this vulnerable period. Collin House provides these children with a warm and welcoming environment, offering them stability and dignity during a challenging time. With a dedicated staff and the support of volunteers who provide home-cooked meals, Collin House has become a vital resource for children in need.

Embrace Texas actively partners with various organizations in the community to amplify its impact, adds Denise. Love Life Foundation, Direction 61:3, CASA, Collin County Children's Advocacy Center, and many others work alongside Embrace Texas, providing unique services and support. Corporate sponsors and service groups also contribute to the organization's events and programs, further strengthening their ability to serve the community effectively.

Denise says Embrace Texas plays a critical role in the foster care system, extending the length of time foster parents participate in fostering by 400% compared to the state average. Embrace Texas ensures foster parents are well-equipped to care for children who've experienced trauma. The organization's efforts to find forever families for children awaiting adoption and their dedication to helping teenagers transitioning out of foster care are known for being pivotal in changing lives and building brighter futures.

Embrace Texas managers rely on the support of volunteers, donors, as well as foster and adoptive parents to fulfill the nonprofit's mission. Volunteers can prepare meals for children at Collin House. Small groups and churches can sponsor events and provide volunteers. 

“I know not many people hop out of bed on Monday mornings excited to go to work, but that really is how I feel. The work is hard, rewarding, and sometimes heartbreaking, but I get to be part of an incredible team,” exclaims Denise. “Our culture at Embrace is very collaborative. This allows the talent and gifting of each team member to contribute to the overall excellence we’re committed to."

Embrace Texas is a testament to the transformative power of compassion, support and community. Through their dedication to serving children and families in the foster care system, the Embrace Texas team creates lasting change in the lives of countless individuals. The organization continues to expand its reach, leaving an indelible mark on the community and beyond.