‘Foster care is not for the faint of heart’

‘Foster care is not for the faint of heart’

What does it take to parent children who have been in the foster system? Tears. Prayers. A support system. Patience. And a new level of trust in God. We spoke with two First Free couples who have been foster parents and who have adopted children they had been...
Connections for adoptive families

Connections for adoptive families

Two upcoming opportunities at First Free are aimed at adoptive families and those considering adoption or foster parenting. Wednesday Conversation Next Wednesday, March 29, Toni Rowley will lead the Wednesday Conversation by telling her family’s story. She and her...
Connections for adoptive families

Adoption Connection

Are you an adoptive family? Do you want to connect and build a support network with other adoptive families at First Free? Are you feeling the call to adopt and want to learn more about building your family through adoption? This free event is for you! Guest Speaker:...
Joy wrapped in sadness

Joy wrapped in sadness

My husband and I had arrived in Russia with excited and anxious hearts a few days before. This day, we sat in an orphanage—in a bleak, sterile hallway on a hard, wooden bench staring in anticipation at a steel door. When that door opened, we hoped to meet the baby boy...
Meet Toni Rowley

Meet Toni Rowley

Toni became the Kids Ministry administrative assistant in August 2021, though she and her family have called First Free home for several years. Born and raised in Minnesota, Toni found her way to Rockford after marrying her husband, Philip, a Rockford native. At the...