More than 400,000 children live in foster care nationwide.
“They’re sitting in foster homes, and they do not have a mom and dad, and we’d like to help them get adopted,” says Steve Brown, Indiana Heart Gallery Facilitator.
20,000 in Indiana still need foster homes. The Heart Gallery is a traveling photo exhibit that takes the issue one step further. It showcases children available for adoption.
“These children all want to be adopted. If they’re old enough they’ve expressed it, a desire to be adopted. They don’t really care how it happens. They just want it to happen,” says Brown.
The Indiana Department of Child Services created the photo gallery to raise awareness and education.
“They don’t realize that right here in Indiana, probably in their own county all over the state, there’s children in foster homes that are saying, ‘hello, I’m not a baby. I’m not a toddler, but I’d like to have a mom and dad,'” says Brown.
Tuesday the gallery traveled to Yogi’s in Brazil, a place where parents take their children for frozen yogurt and arcade games.
“It’s always great to have both parents, a mother and a father for a child,” says Katrina Cotto, manager at Yogi’s Frozen Yogurt iCafe & Fun Zone Manager. “I think Yogi’s is a great place, because we have a lot of families that come in and out.”
Coming in and out for frozen yogurt with a family is something those with the Heart Gallery say many of these kids dream of.
“Some of these children old enough have made videos where they talk about what they look forward to in life when they grow up, what kind of family they’d like to live in. It’s pretty heart-wrenching to look at that, and realize these children are out there just waiting for a mom and dad,” says Brown.
Organizations like the Indiana Heart Gallery and others have had an impact. In 2014, their collective efforts placed more than 1,000 Hoosier foster kids into permanent homes.