Heart Gallery raises awareness on adoption

admin | 9/10/2011, 2:47 p.m.

Last week, an event was held to bring awareness to the needs of adoption parents in the Miami area. The Childrens Trust re-launched its adoption awareness initiative for the fourth consecutive year at a reception at the Coral Gables Museum. We really need to get these kids adopted, said Emily Cardenas, senior communications manager of The Childrens Trust. Kids that do not get adopted turn 18 and their are some very, very poor statistics about their outcome. Many of them turn to drugs, alcoholism and homelessness. So we want to make sure these kids get adopted and this concept started 10 years in New Mexico. It has grown and grown and grown and we now more than 125 art galleries across the country. The Childrens Trust Miami Heart Gallery is a traveling museum-quality exhibit featuring portraits of children in Miami-Dades foster care system who are available for adoption. The celebration had a Mediterranean flare to accentuate locations throughout Coral Gables. More than 400 guests attended the event, including many of the 19 children featured in the exhibit, as well as several of the award-winning photographers who donated their time and talent for this project. Hundreds of community leaders, child advocates and people who have expressed an interest in adoption were also in attendance. Jamarcus Williams, 10, and waiting to be adopted, said he is doing fine. I am happy, he said. Tasha Cillvlort, 16, said she feels hopeful. I hope a I get a good family, I think I will, she said. Approximately half of the 155 children who have been featured in The Childrens Trust Miami Heart Gallery in the past three years, have either been adopted or are in the process of being adopted. A couple who adopted a child from the exhibit spoke publicly about their experience, and others joined them with their newly adopted children to receive their childs portrait to take home. This initiative is a partnership between The Childrens Trust and Our Kids of Miami-Dade/Monroe, Inc., the local lead agency for child welfare in Miami and the Keys. According to the state of Florida, there are 800 children in Florida who are available for adoption. These children have been removed from their biological parents for reasons of neglect or abuse with no possibility of family reunification. By Randy Gricergrice@miamitimesonline.com