Statement issued Wednesday by the Indiana Department of Child Services:
Since November is National Adoption Awareness Month, a compelling exhibit of photographic portraits of children in need of adoptive families is making a one-day stop at the Life Bridge Church, 12719 Corbin Road in Ft. Wayne.
The exhibit may be seen on Sunday morning, Nov. 20, from 9 am to noon. Called the Heart Gallery, it's an initiative of the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) with a mission to raise awareness about the approximately 300 Hoosier children currently in foster care still in need of a forever home.
"All children want a home filled with love and a family with whom they can share their birthdays and celebrate holidays. They want a room with their own toys, to have friends, play sports and participate in after-school activities. Most importantly, they want a loving, supportive family to be there for them as they grow up," noted DCS Director James Payne. "The children featured in the Heart Gallery are no exception. They just need a little help—from all of us—in finding that forever family."
Using the talents of professional photographers who volunteer their time, the individual spirit and true personality of each child is captured. Heart Gallery photographs sometimes show shy children wrapped in their security blankets, girls dressed up as princesses, boys hugging dogs and siblings laughing together. The children all have one thing in common: they need and deserve families that will give them the unconditional love they have never experienced.
On any given day, over 400,000 children in America live in foster care due to abuse or neglect. This year, approximately 30,000 young people will leave the foster care system without lifelong families—most at age 18.
On their own, these young adults must navigate a weakened economy offering fewer jobs and less support for vital services such as housing. They need and deserve caring adults who love and support them. For some foster kids, getting adopted can mean the difference between homelessness or incarceration and becoming a successful adult.
Indiana's Heart Gallery is a traveling photographic exhibit DCS created in 2007 to find forever families for children in foster care.
The Gallery can feature more than 40 portraits, depending on the size of the exhibit area. It travels to various public exhibition spaces across the State over 50 times throughout the year. Venues generally include hospitals, libraries, museums and churches. Since the first Heart Gallery started in New Mexico in 2001, thousands of children have found their forever families as a direct result of these exhibitions.
The Indiana Heart Gallery will display a dozen portraits at Life Bridge Church, 12719 Corbin Road in Ft. Wayne. Viewing is in the church's lobby from 9 am to noon on Sunday, Nov. 20 only. There is no charge to see the exhibit.
For more information about the Indiana Heart Gallery, go to http://www.in.gov/dcs/3033.htm. To find out more about adopting an Indiana child or to host a Gallery, call 888.25ADOPT.