When foster children are unable to be reunited with their parents, they may need to find a new forever family. Their photos are posted on Heart Gallery websites, such as Adopt US Kids, where first impressions are everything when it comes to creating an instant connection with prospective parents. That’s where you, the photographer, come in: anyone can take a picture, but not everyone can capture the spirit of a child.
Here are some facts about foster care adoption from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption:
- “Children often wait three years or more to be adopted, move three or more times in foster care and often are separated from siblings. The average age of ‘waiting children’ is 8 years old.”
- “More children become available for adoption each year than are adopted. In 2009, 69,947 children had parental rights terminated by the courts, yet only 57,466 were adopted.”
- “Nearly 40 percent of American adults, or 81.5 million people, have considered adopting a child, according to the National Adoption Attitudes Survey. If just one in 500 of these adults adopted, every waiting child in foster care would have a permanent family.”
Read Deon’s story: a 16-year-old who had been in and out of foster care since age five and had lost all hope of finding his forever family. That is until two photographers, Jennifer Loomis and Rocky Salskov volunteered to retake his photo. Deon was then adopted by his new mother who originally saw his old picture and scrolled right past it saying, ‘It wasn’t a good picture. It was grainy. …It did not capture me at all.” Then, after seeing his new pictures, photographed by Loomis and Salskoz, she said, “You saw … personality in the face, like you saw it coming off the page, and it was enough to get us to stop and open that profile and look at it, and want to get to know Deon better.”
How you can help: You, too, can volunteer to take pictures of “waiting children” for the Heart Gallery of America and change the lives of both children and families. If you do not live in The United States, reach out to your local foster care/adoption agency and ask to volunteer your skills.
As a volunteer photographer, you may also want to consider photographing homeless animals to help them find a forever family as well. To read more about that, click here.
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