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When COVID-19 slowed adoptions, this agency found a new way to help children

Heart Gallery of Sarasota started using its Family Finder technology to send ads to prospective families. It’s working.

The Today Show with HODA, November 20, 2020

Sarasota organization launches ‘Family Finder’ technology, seeks out loving homes for foster kids amid pandemic

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early spring, calls and inquiries coming into the organization virtually came to a halt.  Instead of waiting on things to change, the organization utilized technology, launching a new program it calls ‘Family Finder’.

NEWS CHANNEL 8 WFLA, December 1, 2020

Gina and Dave Barkema decided to become foster parents not long after becoming empty-nesters when their three adult children left home. The process to become certified and licensed took them just three months, as compared to the seven or eight months it generally took for prospective foster families prior to the pandemic. PROVIDED BY DAVE BARKEMA

Sarasota Herald Tribune, September 27, 2020, COVID-19 alters approach to cultivating foster families, by Carrie Siedman

Rusty Crawford, a 51 year old Sarasota resident, felt the power of the Heart Gallery’s photos when scrolling through the website on Christmas Eve a few years ago. There he saw a photo of Ashton-the 16 year old boy that would soon become Rusty’s son. “The look on his face said: ‘I want someone to love me. I want a parent,’ Crawford said. When they told me about him everything just clicked. It’s really hard to explain, but I just knew he was going to be my kid.”

Sarasota Herald Tribune, July 2, 2019
Herald Tribune Staff photo by Thomas Bender

Several clicking sounds fire out of Peter Acker’s camera in between shouted directions. With eery slight head tilt or new arm placement, he is helping Hayley achieve a longtime dream: to find a family.

Bishop said she was initially nervous to have her photo taken, but she soon embraced the shoot after spending time with Acker.

“I liked the idea that someone would be there for me and that I’m getting out there,” Bishop said. “I (hope) I can have a family…someone to love me and take care of me and be there for me.”

By Harry Sayer, Black Tie Reporter, Sarasota Observer

Harnessing up for a climb, foster youth meets prospective parents

Adoption Matching Event Climbs New Heights

With the Heart Gallery of Sarasota and Safe Children Coalition

In recognition of National Adoption Month in November, the Heart Gallery of Sarasota hosted a high-flying adoption recruitment event at TreeUmph, an outdoor adventure course, where the Safe Children Coalition’s adoption team and prospective adoptive families could meet children currently available for adoption while testing out their trapeze and aerial climbing skills.

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Sarasota Herald Tribune, December 19, 2019

Posted by: Community Submitted

The Forgotten Adoption Option Podcast