About: History


Mrs BallardHope Cottage Pregnancy and Adoption Center is the oldest nonprofit, non faith based adoption agency in Dallas. It began in 1918 with the vision of one woman, Emma Wylie Ballard, who recognized a need to provide care for children abandoned on the streets of Dallas. She opened a small home to accept the babies, naming it Hope Cottage, and hired women to care for them.

It’s from these humble roots that Hope Cottage began to grow and flourish, subsequently becoming an adoption agency, placing children in homes, ensuring their futures and strengthening the Dallas community. Along the way, Hope Cottage has passed many significant milestones.


1923 Crowded conditions lead to the construction of the first permanent home for Hope Cottage at 2301 Welborn. Babies are cared for and loved in nurseries there until 1960. After that, babies are placed with foster families while awaiting placements with adoptive families.

1928 After securing community funding from the Community Chest, Hope Cottage becomes a United Way affiliate.

1960 With the community’s support, Hope Cottage embarks on what will be the first of several mergers with other agencies serving children. A collaboration with the Children’s Bureau, a large foster-care organization, broadens the focus to include older children in need of homes.

1965 Hope Cottage merges with a foster group home called the Girls’ Foundation of the Dallas Federation of Women’s Clubs. The result is foster group homes for girls and boys. Two maternity homes become a part of Hope Cottage as well.

1970 The legalization of abortion leads to a rapid decline in the number of adoptable children. Both maternity homes close, and women in need of maternity care are sent to live with special foster families. The boys’ home closes as well.

1978 Hope Cottage sells its home of fifty years and moves to 4209 McKinney Avenue at the corner of Fitzhugh and McKinney in Uptown.

1988 Specialized counseling for adoptive families, birth families and adopted individuals is made available. The Girls’ Foundation program is transferred to another agency providing similar services. Foster care is limited to those children awaiting adoption.

1997 The word “Pregnancy” is added to the agency’s formal name to better convey the available services for pregnant women in crisis. Hope Cottage establishes an International Adoption Program to facilitate the adoption of Romanian children and assist Dallas couples in building families.

1998 Construction begins on a 22,000-square-foot building at 4209 McKinney Avenue. An adoption education program, The ABCs of Adoption, starts teaching a structured adoption curriculum in local middle and high schools.

2006 To address the crisis facing the state’s foster care system, Hope Cottage enters into a contact with the State of Texas and establishes the Foster-to-Adopt program. Hope Cottage is selected by Spaulding for Children to be the lead agency for training healthcare professionals in how to talk to their clients about adoption.

2010 Hope Cottage receives a three year grant from the Office of the Governor Department of Juvenile Justice Division to implement TMAP (Teen Mentoring and Prevention), a program to address teen pregnancy and its relationship to poverty and crime.

2011 Hope Cottage implements Adoption 101, a program offered to social service agencies to equip their staff with the skill set needed to serve clients who might be interested in adoption as an option.

2014  Hope Cottage sells its property at 4209 McKinney and moves to the Wilson Historic District.

2015  Construction on a new service center at 609 Texas Street begins.

2016  The new Hope Cottage was completed in August 2016 and the building was dedicated on September 22, 2016.

Over the years as the adoption-related needs of the community have changed from “baby nurseries” and “maternity homes” to comprehensive pre- and post-adoption services, Hope Cottage has changed as well. For almost 100 years, Hope Cottage has provided essential adoption services to meet the needs of the people of Dallas and Fort Worth and gained a national reputation for excellence.