Our team

  • Jennifer SmithExecutive Director

    Jennifer was born and raised in Odessa, Texas attended Texas Tech University for undergrad and University of Texas Health Science Center for her Master’s of Physical Therapy and has called San Antonio and Boerne home for 19 years. She and her husband have been married for 19 years and have four children, two biological and two adopted from foster care.

    Back in 2005, Jennifer thought she had her life planned. Amazing husband, two beautiful daughters and career as a Physical Therapist. An article in the paper about a young girl whose life was wrecked by abuse and neglect and subsequent moves through multiple homes in foster care lit a fire in her heart to “Do something!” After 2 months of prayer discussion with foster families, she and Kyle accepted the call to serve as foster parents in 2006 for children in crisis right here in their community. The foster parent journey was incredible isolating and overwhelming and subsequently a small group started meeting together to not only support each other but brainstorm how to get the church involved. During the next 8 years, while serving as a foster mom to children in the San Antonio area, Jennifer established and co-lead the Grace Point Foster and Adopt ministry for 5 years. Under her leadership for 5 years, Grace Point families fostered over 75 kids, adopted 27 and raised up 40 new foster families.

    During this time, Jennifer shared the model pioneered at Grace Point with 8 area churches with continued success and opportunity to refine the model. She also helped create and launch a faith based foster agency focused on serving families in the church. Her heart continued to burn to see all churches made aware of the crisis, equipped to start foster/adopt ministries, collaborating with complementary organizations and activating all Christians to do their part. The South Texas Alliance for Orphans grew organically over those years with interest slowly but continually growing. In 2016, God connected Jennifer with First Presbyterian Church leaders, who, seeing the great opportunity to serve children in crisis by activating the church, seeded the Alliance funds to launch as a true functioning nonprofit organization. Since 2016, the growth of the Alliance has exceeded even the most ambitious goals.

    Through the Alliance, the church is now growing in awareness, being enable to activate with a proven ministry model and collaborating to serve along the full continuum of care for children and families.

    The Smith’s also provide ongoing support to a kinship family of a previous foster placement. Her crew loves Mexican food, hill country scenery and spending summer days at the lake swimming, tubing, skiing and relaxing.

  • Bethann JacksonOperations Coordinator

    Bethann and her husband, Chad, were both raised in Northwest Missouri and lived there until moving to San Antonio in 2012.  Bethann attended Northwest Missouri State University pursing a degree in Special Education.  She served 10 years in the United States Air Force before choosing to stay at home to parent three amazing kids.  In the midst of a busy life, she knew her family was not complete.  God reminded her of the seed He planted while visiting a rundown orphanage on a youth mission trip in 1996.  This was when Bethann first felt God calling her to serve orphans.  After years of praying about where they should adopt God made it clear as they moved to Texas, there was a significant orphan need in their own backyard.

    Bethann connected with the Grace Point Foster and Adopt Ministry shortly after their move to Texas.  Her family became a certified foster home in the spring of 2013. They have since fostered 5 little girls, 3 or them drug exposed infants. In October 2014, one of those little angels became a permanent Jackson!  Bethann has served on the leadership team of the Grace Point Foster and Adopt Ministry since 2014 and volunteers with local organizations equipping foster families.  She works closely with families who have foster babies that have been exposed to drugs and helps foster families build healthy relationships with biological families. Bethann also serves weekly on the Registration Team at Grace Point Church West.

    Bethann is excited to officially re-enter the work force as the Operations Coordinator for the Alliance. She hopes her gifts in organization and support can further the Foster movement in South Texas.

  • Melanie McCrackenDirector of Communications and Training

    Melanie was born and raised in Denton, Texas. She attended Texas Tech University for her undergraduate and graduate studies. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies and a Master’s degree in Elementary Education.

    Melanie met her husband in college and they have been married since  August of 2005. She and her husband have lived in San Antonio since  2006 and in January of 2011 planted Alamo Ranch Community Church,  where her husband is the lead pastor.

    Melanie and Michael have five children, two biological and three adopted from foster care. Upon moving to San Antonio, Melanie taught for Northside ISD for 7 years before resigning to begin the foster care journey.

    The Lord called the McCracken family to foster/adopt in 2013 after years of infertility, secondary infertility, and a unique experience with one of her students. Through their own foster/adopt journey, they have had the opportunity to encourage others within their church body to answer the call as well. They have been deeply humbled and forever changed. Melanie has a deep passion for the children in foster care in San Antonio and beyond. She began working with the Alliance in the Spring of 2017 and is excited to see all the Lord is going to do in this city until there are more than enough families!

  • Jocelyn WilsonDirector of Church Engagement

    Jocelyn and her husband Ricky were both raised in San Antonio, Texas. She attended Texas A&M University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies.

    In 2004, Jocelyn and Ricky married and she began teaching 6th grade. After having two biological children, Noah and Naomi, she became a stay at home mom. They spent five years in Dallas and during that time God began to put fostering on their hearts. In 2011, Ricky’s company moved them to San Antonio. They began attending Grace Point Church where a Foster and Adopt Ministry was just kicking off.

    In Spring of 2012, the Wilsons trained and became a licensed foster home. They welcomed their first foster baby in May of that year and have been fostering ever since. With long placements leading to family reunification over the years, Jocelyn has become very passionate about partnering with the birth families to make transitioning children home successful. She has become a mentor and friend to families and continues relationship past the reunification process.

    Ricky and Jocelyn have also adopted three children over the years: Faith, Hope, and Paxton! Jocelyn helps lead the Foster and Adopt ministry at Grace Point Church now and is excited to help other churches develop thriving ministries so that every child coming in to care can have a Christian family to love them.

  • Mike KraftPastoral Church Engagement

    Mike has been married to his beautiful wife, Ariel, for twelve years and they are blessed with five incredible children. Mike has served the local church in various pastoral capacities over the past 16 years and is the planting pastor of Mission Community Church in the Sea World Area of San Antonio. He completed his Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2009.

    Even before they started dating, both Mike and Ariel knew that they were passionate about advocating for marginalized and neglected children and they had a strong desire to foster and adopt one day. In His grace, God allowed this to come to fruition and they adopted their daughter Shannon from Uganda in the fall of 2015.  In 2017, they became a licensed foster family and in the fall of 2019 they adopted their sons, Sean and Thaddeus, through foster care.

    Early on in their church planting journey, the Kraft’s were introduced to Jennifer Smith, the Executive Director of the South Texas Alliance for Orphans.  Jennifer and STAFO were very instrumental in helping MCC establish a foster care ministry and their church plant saw over 20 children fostered/adopted in their first few years as a church.  Mike has always had deep respect and appreciation for the ministry of the Alliance and was thrilled to join the team this year!

    Mike is passionate about the church living together as one and being empowered through the Holy Spirit to live out His Kingdom in tangible ways in our city.  God has clearly commanded and commissioned his church to welcome the orphan and vulnerable and Mike is committed to seeing this lived out in radical ways in San Antonio and beyond. 

    In his free time, Mike loves spending time with his family team, going to Sea World, hiking outside, and playing and watching sports. 

  • Alex WallendorffChurch Engagement Specialist

    Alex was raised in New Braunfels, Texas. She and her husband, Will, returned  to her hometown after they were married in 2020. Alex attended Texas A&M University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Communications and Journalism.

    While in College Station, Alex was part of a church and youth outreach ministry that revealed to her how passionate she was about the marginalized in her community. She changed her career plans her senior year of college as she felt the Lord drew her heart to the world of foster care. Alex took on a supportive administrative role at a child placing agency in that area, Renaissance Family Services of Texas, and then became a case manager for the agency when she graduated college. In 2017, she felt it was time to be closer to her family so she moved to San Antonio and became a case manager at 1HOPE For Kids for four years. Alex loved being a case manager as she adored the children and foster families she worked with and helped support them as they walked through all of the ups and downs of their foster care journeys together.

    With a front row seat to the foster care crisis as a case manager, Alex and Will couldn’t help but feel called to step in and take on a new role by becoming foster parents themselves. They eagerly look forward to welcoming little ones into their home and loving them, whether it’s for a short time or a lifetime. One of Alex’s favorite things about foster care is the picture of redemption it is, whether that be through a successful reunification with the biological family or a child finding their forever family through adoption, and is excited to see what God does in the lives of the children and families they meet. As a Church Engagement Specialist, Alex is looking forward to working with the Alliance to bring a greater awareness of the foster care crisis and serve churches as they follow the Lord’s call to care for children in need.

  • Victor RobledoCommunity Engagement Specialist

    Victor was born and raised in San Antonio,Texas, and has been married to his wife, Lydia, for 16 years. They are the proud parents of 2 teenagers.

    In 2018, Victor retired from CPS Energy where his work focused on media, community relations and public safety. After retiring, Victor and his family went on a mission trip to Kenya to minister to tea field workers and help build a church. The experience was humbling and they also strongly heard God’s message to foster children in need. They have fostered 2 amazing little girls and are still a part of their lives.

    Victor started to pray about how else he could support the foster ministry and God opened the door to join the South Texas Alliance for Orphans team. He is excited to serve and support churches and families who are impacted by the foster care system.

  • Laura FischerChurch Engagement Specialist

    Laura Fischer was born and raised in San Antonio. She will graduate from Incarnate Word University next summer with a Bachelors’s in Human Resources. She and her high school sweetheart, John, have been married for 15 years and have three beautiful children, Evan, Lily, and Elliott. They love to travel, cook for friends, and actively participate in their church. Laura has a servant heart and volunteers wherever she is needed. When the pandemic started, Laura learned to sew and made thousands of masks to give away to anyone in the community that needed one.
    Laura always dreamed of having many children, but life had other plans. After struggling to have their two biological children, she and John knew they still had a lot of love to share. In 2018, they attended an outreach program at Grace Point about foster care and immediately knew they were called to serve local children in crisis. Their lives forever changed when they got a call asking them to foster a 4-day old baby. They instantly fell in love, and they were lucky enough to adopt him only eight months later.
    After going through the process of fostering and adopting, Laura learned a lot about how the system worked. She wanted to share that insider knowledge with others taking this journey so that more children in need can be fostered or adopted. Laura’s mission is to educate our community about the huge need in South Texas for loving families to connect with orphans and to help them make that connection.