The Indiana Heart Gallery is a traveling photo exhibit featuring compelling portraits of children in need of adoptive families and it is making a stop at The Summit in Fort Wayne during Foster Care Awareness Month. The Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) created the Heart Gallery in 2007 with the goal of sharing the beautiful professional portraits along with stories about children in foster care in Indiana. This initiative helps put a face on a sometimes invisible need and reminds families that adoption changes lives.
The goal of the Heart Gallery is to increase awareness of the DCS foster youth available for adoption and encourage the community to learn more about the foster to adoption process. With the help of all of the Indiana adoption programs and partners, including the Heart Gallery, more than 1,000 Hoosier foster kids found permanent homes in state fiscal year 2014.
“On average we are actively recruiting adoptive homes for 120-150 youth statewide,” says Sandra Caesar, DCS’ adoption program manager. “Every child needs a family they can call their own. We need families that are not only willing to love our children, but are also prepared to commit to them, claim them as their own and hang in there through their ups and downs.”
Nationally, there are nearly 400,000 children in foster care and more than 100,000 are legally available for adoption. For some children in foster care, getting adopted can mean the difference between homelessness or incarceration and transitioning successfully into adulthood.